Sunday, March 15, 2009

Putting on My Oxygen Mask First

Have you heard that illustration that professionals use to encourage self-care? They say that ensuring time for yourself is like what they tell you on a plane: put your oxygen mask on first, then help those around you.

In theory, that makes a lot of sense. I mean, if you are choking and gasping and about to pass out, it's probably going to be difficult to take care of anyone else effectively - or at all.

But in practice...

I've been seeing this awesome counselor. Now, for years and years I've been one of those "Oh, you're seeing a Therapist?" kind of girls. Like wow, good for you (I'm perfectly fine, but hey, great, happy for you). Seriously. Kind of annoyingly "strong" but honestly understanding how other people could need therapy. I mean, it's a really nasty world out there. Even as a Christian, those slings and arrows can just wear you down. But every now and then, the inner pain and damage I have walled away in my deepest heart starts to seep through the cracks, and the fear of facing it in order to maybe, just maybe get it fixed has had me running for the hills (or a few glasses of wine!).

Lisa says this is dis-integration. An apt word, really. You have these dis-integrated, segregated chunks of your personality that are so wounded you try to keep them hidden and "safe" because it feels like if you allow anyone access to them you will, quite literally, die.

Thankfully, God brought Lisa into my life at this time, because I honestly can't shove the pain back any longer. Whatever is lurking behind that crumbly wall around my heart is winning. I can't keep running around it trying to hold it together any more.

For the sake of my children, and maybe for myself, it's finally time to look at these fears and feelings and hope that, by God's grace, mercy, and love, I won't be consumed by them. No clue what it all involves. Not especially thrilled by the prospect - in fact it scares the hell out of me - but, hopefully I'm finally convinced that it is not only necessary, but essential to the survival of myself and those around me.

The masks have dropped, and I'm reaching for mine. I'll try to keep everyone posted on what comes next.

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