As I write this and post it, I am also packing my bags…for another work trip. This makes five out of the past six weeks where I have had at least one night away from home. While there are times that this gets tedious, the spring is a good time for it to happen because I get the urge to be on the go this time of year anyway.
I struggle with bipolar illness…and spring is a “go” time for me.
By “go” time, I mean I feel the urge to run away. I currently credit it to a manic phase brought on by the change in sunlight. After being underground in the winter doldrums, the light comes out, stimulates my brain, and sends me soaring. When I soar, I often feel as though I am in constant motion even though I appear to be still to everyone else. This is the time when I tend to hear those internal voices that criticize and pester.
And one of those voices says to run…away…
Go. Leave. You are not worthy of the family you have. You do not deserve the life you have. You have to get out of here. You can’t handle this. What if they (by the way – who is they???) find out what happens in your head? It’s all going to start to unravel sometime; you should just go before you have to deal with that. What if you can’t pull off what you say you can? How are you ever going to parent/be-a-wife/be-a-pastor’s wife/ do a good job at work? Look at yourself. Listen to me. Run…
I hatched my first runaway plan the summer after I was in the fifth or sixth grade. Because my parents were divorced when I was quite young, I grew up with my mom and (adopted) dad in North Dakota but spent portions of many summers visiting my biological father and his family on the East Coast. I have many great memories of those summers, and I prefer to dwell on those; however, on one of those trips things did not go so well at my bio-dad’s house, and I felt the urge to run away.
Facing the situation no longer seemed like a good option, and I wanted to get out.
Running away is not a great idea for me – a wife, mother of two, dean of students at an online high school. There are loves that would be hurt and jobs that would be jeopardized.I could detail the times that I have run away, but they are not the point of this post. The point what do we do about this? I know that I am not the only who feels these tendencies.
It is also not a healthy way to live!
But there is a push from inside, a physical need to go, and the fear of something that cannot be named or is not even real, and the voice gets very loud. My head noise becomes overwhelming, and running – even a planned run like a work trip – seems like a good answer to help quiet it.
But it is not.
Running away never solves anything. I still have to come back, and whatever was pushing me out the door (usually my own psychology) greets me upon my return.
I want to be clear: this is not a real voice.
My voices do not have names, they are not multiple personalities nor are they schizophrenic hallucinations that I see. Rather they are an internal voice that I believe many of us have (I was reassured of that last night when I attended an event at the Art House North where Al Andrews, a counselor from Nashville, talked about this very concept!).
Telling someone else (safe) about the urge to run now usually quiets the voice.Telling the wrong person can cause the urge to increase. As Al said last night, finding a safe community of people who can speak positively into our lives and balance these voices of the “inner critic” is so important.
This week has been a run time for me. There is not a trigger that I can figure out except that the snow is gone, the sun is out, and work has some stresses. How timely that the event at Art House North happened last night – it was exactly what I needed at that moment. The tears that flowed down my face for the entire event proved that.
As I made my way to the event via the mall yesterday, I texted two friends and “vocalized” that my head was not doing well. One responded with an offer to give me her voice to drown out the others.
… (just let that sink in for a minute…)
We need to be these positive voices for each other, and we – as hearers of the destructive voices – need to find those safe places where we can say these awful things out loud so that they no longer hold any power over us. We name them, we claim truth against them, and we disable the power they have against us. If you are a Christ follower, there are even more TRUTHS that you can cling to in order to combat these lies that we believe.
And then – maybe – we will stop running away…from ourselves…
This post is part of a brave blogging link-up that’s part of Liv Lane’s How To Build a Blog You Truly Love ecourse. As a participant, I was challenged to step outside my comfort zone and share something with you that felt especially brave. You can see what others have written by clicking here. (insert the link http://blog.livlane.com/2013/05/brave-2013)