Sunday, May 06, 2007

Recovery: The Delusion OF A Life Without Suffering.

I have many bitter memories of being picked on, shunned and mocked because I am almost blind. A long time ago I said to myself: "If I wasn't blind, this wouldn't be happening to me!" Then I took that natural rage and turned it in upon myself. I was helped in this orgy of self hatred by the fact that my parents also believed that my existence caused all of their problems. Recently, I had a very painful encounter with someone experiencing a week moment.

A remark was made which stirred up all my self-hatred around being blind. I really have been going through it, over a childish comment, made in a weak moment. What was said, or who said it is immaterial. I have been depressed for weeks. Not the type of depression which sent me to bed, but the type of depression which showed up anytime I wasn't otherwise occupied with some mental task. I was seriously wondering if I was in need of a medication change. I just wasn't able to shake a nagging self doubt with a depression overlay.

I would find myself re-examining all of my "accomplishments" and wondering if I really did a good job, or was just being lied to as a "poor little blind girl." I know it reeks, but I truly wondered if anything I'd done in my life was of any real value. (This is the stuff that suicide attempts spring from). I prayed for God's help with my attitude. I was really stuck in a pit.

I then remembered a book I'd read years ago. The Road Less Traveled. Where a psychiatrist confronts some of our fondest illusions. It begins with a version of the above. Blaming our problems on some condition or situation; the "if only I was or wasn't" trap. He then states the truth: LIFE IS DIFFICULT. My own version: Life has suffering in it.

Oh, the years I've wasted spitting at fate over the illusion that I'd never hurt again, if I just wasn't BLIND! No, I would only hurt over some other issue or circumstance. When I really began to believe the above, a whole lot of self-loathing, tension and sadness departed from my mind. I wasn't the cause of anything! A wise pastor taught: "hurting people HURT people."

I upset a friend who shared an observation about me and a situation. Now, if I wasn't disabled, I would have been upset by some other observation made by my friend (who was in pain). I would only have a change of script and setting. My "life" play would still contain periods of pain.

Oh, how free I began to feel. I now could more readily understand another friend who pointed out that one of his life struggles (when younger) was over not being handy with tools. He wouldn't know how to do plumbing, if his life depended upon it. But, give him a computer, now when it comes to technology... But he felt left out when the guys in his circle of friends would start talking about building things, or plumbing problems.

Now, I see what a global condition this is. If someone wants to cut you down (they really don't mean to, but they are hurting and you are in their field of vision), they will attack your most obvious weakness. A woman who wants to have a baby, but can't have one is cut to the quick with: "Well, at least I'm a REAL woman!" My computer buddy is hit with: " Oh, yeah, I forgot, all YOU know is computers...", My sense of acomplishment is smashed with: "That's real good for a BLIND person...", An older sister is battered from: "Yeah, and your brother is RETARDED...". The list is endless. Another example of the expression: Misery loves company.

Freedom for me is realizing it isn't my business what people think of my work, my decessions or my faith. My job is to DO STUFF, God's job is to handle the results. I neither love or hate myself today, because of my disabilities. They are one aspect of who I am. The important FACT is that I'm one of God's kids and He made me. I am no mistake, or accident. Now realizing I'll never earn a: "gets you out of pain" card, I can let go of a lot of unnecessary self-hatred because of a condition.

The other wonderful discovery of this day has to do with how clearly my friends understand my chemically imbalanced coping abilities. I share part of a chat:

me: I am finally getting over the depression that whole bit with @#% threw me into. She really messed me up for awhile.
Phillip: Honey, @#% didn't throw you into anything. she said or did something stupid and about as sensitive as toilet seat. Your reaction to what @#% did depressed you.
me: Yes, that's right. But, I'm finally coming out of it. A very painful set of reactions.
Phillip: Yes, and I realize that much of that is chemically induced on your part. The good part is that there is also much of the reaction that isn't - and that God is working you through the process of not reacting to what other people say or do - and just believing in who He said you are. Which will also help the chemical part not kick in as much. Aren't you excited?
me: Yeah. I am excited about living a totally new kind of life, as I continue to learn to have real faith.

Since I know many of my readers also go through the following. I make the observation that, in spite of my faults Phillip is still my friend. Oh how we abuse survivors have trouble BELIEVING that some one else can actually like, or love us!

I just put that doubt in the drawer with the other things I have to ask God to help me believe are true. Never forget, if you do matter and you are worthy of love, then you are responsible to DO something. It is not all right to sit around and cry because you THINK you don't matter and you THINK nobody loves you. This trap is one of the devil's most effective tools against children of abuse. We have to learn that practing faith is in the very fabric of our lives.

I have to practice faith that God will heal, or save, or teach. But I also have to have faith that I am His child, that He sees me through the eyes of Jesus and that since I'm God's child, why wouldn't another one of his kids find me interesting as a person? (Kinda takes the wind out of that pity party I've been throwing...).

1 comment:

MacPhilly said...

Yo, Jane honey, it's not despite your faults that I'm your friend - it's because I'm just as full of my own faults and we play the friendship game on equal turf. None of us are perfect - no not one. We may have different issues, but I never expect you to be anything you're not - like perfect. And I certainly hope you never expect me to be either!

Shalom,
Phillip