A Beautiful Mind: How my brain saved my life.
Guest post by Kimmi.
Some people day dream and stare off into space. Some people think so deeply that you wonder where they have gone for a minute or two. I only dream that this was my issue. Have you ever been through something so painful or so terrifying you have to do something to cope? I think we all have. We cannot judge or compare ways others have of coping. They are what they are. I am just thankful I have been given the support and care to deal with mine.
It has taken me a few years to come to this conclusion, but as of recently I have accepted this truth. I knew that I clinically struggled with Dissociative Identity Disorder, and Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I used to believe that this was part of my identity and that my mind was crazy.
I have recently been able to accept the truth that my mind is actually quite beautiful. Dissociating has been its way of protecting me all these years.
As a child I suffered repetitive, violent abuse that could have killed me… but somehow didn’t. When I was rescued from my situation I was in rough shape. My mind and emotions were filled with terror and shock, accompanied by many suicidal outbursts and meltdowns. I was addicted to pills and was a complete zombie of a person.
I was in treatment/therapy for many years through the help of an advocacy group, but only within the past 4 years did I make a commitment to participate in getting the help I so desperately needed and deserved. These past 4 years have been a dramatic shift for me.
When I met my most recent therapist, she saw very quickly that we had a lot of work to do. Unlike people in the past, she has always treated me as if I was a normal person, living with the affects of a highly traumatic childhood. She never labeled me, and we very rarely talk about phycological definitions. She has always just seen the “pieces” of me as pieces of my hormone system that needed to be integrated. In our working together she has identified emotional ages of the scared toddler, the 7-9yr old, and the snarky teenager, all crying out to be protected and heard.
I started out meeting with her 2 times a week for a long time and am currently meeting with her once a week every Monday. Last night I started writing this blog post and today I met with my therapist like usual. I wanted this to be a post about how we can overcome, even though I have been feeling discouraged lately. My roommate was just telling me how she has seen so much progress since we had been living together, so I really wanted to speak out regardless of my feelings. To my surprise my therapist said that she what she really wanted to talk about today is the progress I’ve made. I REALLY needed to hear this. It is confirmation that the Lord has done A LOT in my life throughout the years.
In the last 4 years I have begun to explore forgiveness, prayer over past occult ties, how to attack addiction, and how to stay present when attacked with crippling memories. I have been learning what to do with emotions, and what emotions I even have. Today, my therapist helped me observe that I used to have severe episodes of dissociation several times a week, and would be “gone” for hours at a time. Now, I only have severe episodes every couple months or so. Every single day I struggle with sticking to “reality” in some way, and have been able to start to recognize those times and deal with them. Meltdowns and episodes are SO much less. I cried as I thought about this.
Although I have turned my life around and am serving God in missions, the struggle with addiction and dissociation is still real. However, I can now confidently tell you I have come a LONG way.
I am now living my days instead of just surviving them.
The traumatic stress is still so real, but the endurance and support I have been given by the Holy Spirit and friends is almost unreal. I am learning to treat my dissociative disorder like a beautiful thing to be healed, as opposed to it being my identity. I am saying to you I will CHOOSE to see it that way. If you have the same struggles or something similar, I am open to talking with you about this. Even if you don’t I am still willing to discuss this with you. I am choosing to NOT be so ashamed of my truth anymore. The things I have suffered are NOT my fault. Shame is real and is being healed, but I can honestly say I am not the one who should be ashamed. The men who abused me should feel ashamed.
How will you choose to view the struggles in your life? What is God saying to you about them? Jesus says that I have a beautiful mind, and body. What is Jesus saying to you about yourself?
God brought up this verse today in therapy and I thought that it fit perfectly.