Redirecting Negative Thoughts?
Updated: Jul 26
I stopped posting for a bit because I was feeling, well, obsolete and feeling a sense of loss.
Allow me to explain.
Many of you know, a few years ago I came face-to-face in dealing with my own issues of abuse. As I vocalized my trauma, pain, and how I simply repressed much of what happened to me it occurred to me a few weeks ago that, the moment I was violated my self-identify was sabotaged.
I am not certain what occurred, perhaps it was an old melody or a movie taking me way back when... as I pen this I want to say it was listening to our Alexa Station called "Yacht rock" (a collection of '70s and 80's Hits) most of these songs remind me of my childhood.
There is a song called "Guilty" and the artists are Barbra Streisand and Barry Gibb. It's a song of two loves singing about their professed love for one another. This song is one of the many songs that remind me of my late mother slow dancing in the dark. I hid under the table watching my mother take the floor with grace and owning the room (men just could not take their eyes off her) I was mesmerized. Look at me, a twinkle in my eyes so amazed.
That is my mommy so powerful, so beautiful, so confident, the song slows, so mean to me.
I was once a happy giddy child. Yet, I was robbed of my innocence at a very young age (before six for sure) I was groomed, targeted, and violated and then I too became mean, dark, broken.
My uncle sent me a rare photo of myself having a beautiful cake on my birthday (I think I turned 5). While the gesture of sharing this sweet photo was innocent, the thoughts that raced across my mind when I saw those photos recalling the venue, the event, and the year. I hung my head and whispered to myself "why me?" I was just a baby.
It is amazing how we can convincingly talk ourselves into a dark place when we have an emotional memory. The enemy of that dark space is quick to pull us down and bring us to a point of defeat to retreating into our own minds. Most survivors find a safe place with introversion. We wander and sway in and out of depression while sheltering ourselves with this "invisible cloak" denying our oppression, pain all the while denying ourselves the victory to prevail in the moment of trauma.
I would agree, that is not a good place to rest in. Isolating and stuffing sad memories can cement our journey to remain in self-isolation. And, it is a lonely place to be. Why do we feed that monster? Is it a form of habit? A familiar place? Bitterness? What is it? I will tell you a term I refuse to have a label slapped on me is "triggering" - this is a buzz-worthless clinical term to identify event, moments in our lives that cause us momentary set-back as we work through our trauma. Wikipedia Defines a Trigger as: "A trauma trigger is a psychological stimulus that prompts recall of the previous traumatic experience. The stimulus itself need not be frightening or traumatic and could be only indirectly or superficially reminiscent of an earlier traumatic incident, such as a scent or a piece of clothing. Triggers can be subtle and difficult to anticipate. Listen, they are memories that hurt period and with the Lord, we can and will overcome.
This is a photo of me when I turned five, and at this age had already experienced things no child should. Walls are erected, and hard-boundaries planted with grenades ready to go off at any moment. In this dark place, we roam within our own minds, sometimes ask questions that no one can answer. While in this empty space - trusting another person is near impossible.
<< This is a photo of my sister and I. At this age, I was horrifically molested and sexually abused by the babysitter's son, and the men residing in his neighborhood. As I look at this photo all I can see is a little girl broken, masking, silent, and attempting to forget.
When the voice of God comes alive:
"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
I searched for help over the years after becoming physically ill and labeled with:
PTSD can range from flashbacks to nightmares, panic attacks to eating disorders and cognitive delays to lowered verbal memory capacity. Many trauma survivors also encounter substance abuse issues, as they attempt to self-medicate the negative effects of PTSD.
Bilateral nerve damage
Do you know what I walked away with? Lord, what is wrong with me?
Each day I look in the mirror seeing someone I could not recognize.
50 lbs heavier (the largest I have been in my entire life) due to so many factors, medication, sedentary pain. I felt heavy. Heavy-hearted, heavy minded, broken.
Late January 2020, I was sitting in the doctor's office with my long-tern physician (he is great and has cared for our family over 20+years) I will call him Dr. X. Why was I back this time?
Dr. X enters the room and we exchange greeting. 'Marcia let's talk about your annual exam result.' He had a soft tone with my husband sitting next to me. 'Listen, Marcia, you have high ASL that equates to diabetes', we go over the results, the daily blood testing, etc. The look of defeat is visibly displayed across my face.
My doctor sits up and with a stronger tone and confident reminder.
Listen, Marcia, I remember when you and your husband went to the gym together, I remember you were strong and confident, taking care of yourself and you were living.
This is what I heard: "you were, and you are weak now"
Marcia, you keep asking yourself "What is Wrong With Me?" and I am reminded of a book I saw your husband reading while he was on the treadmill at the gym as I looked across the room (he impressed me with his diligence and commitment to his health. Anyway, your husband always carried a spiritual book with him during his workouts and he is a man of God, a man of intelligence, and great disciple.
My head voice "Okay, where is my doctor going with this?"
He looks at my husband. do you recall reading "What is Right With You" By Dr. Barry Duncan? Those words stood out, so I looked into it and was wow, this guy "gets it"
My husband humbly smiles back.
Dr. X back to me: 'Marcia, we all experience setbacks and you have hit a lot of storms all at once. But, I want to ask you to replace "What's Wrong With Me" with "What's Right With Me". Marcia, listen carefully, it's not too late. You may not be the person you were years ago, but you can circumvent and improve and manage this. Do you understand?'
Yes, I whimpered.
Fast forward, I received the book as a gift from my husband, "What is Right With You" the same day, he prayed with me, encouraged me and then reminded me that I am stronger than I think and "we can do this. But, honey, stop putting yourself down, you are beautiful, you are smart, I love you and more importantly, God loves you."
What have I learned 30 days later?
1. God is my anchor and has a plan for me.
2. We were not created to live in isolation.
3. We need to ask for help (there is no shame.)
4. Develop a strong support group of sisters (I have a strong small tribe)
5. Sitting alone in the dark keeps us in the dark.
6. Again, reach out and we don't need to do this alone.
60 days later - I know:
A. We don't have to sit n my pain.
B. Your body is a temple for the Lord. So I baseline!
So, I chopped 3-4 inches of my hair) clearing what holds me down and speaking life into myself. We are good enough!
C. I can change my narrative (I lost 15 lbs) and have a plan to drop 40 more this year!
D. Established obtainable goals.
E. Getting organized again
(tossing out dead weight - people too!)
F. Remain teachable. I emptied out my cup, to have new life poured in.
G. God, Goals, and Growth.
Let me be clear, I am not on a diet or transforming for anyone (my husband loves me now and loved me 50 lbs ago) I am doing this for me.
If you need help? Reach out and I will do my best to walk-with you virtually!
We all reach a point when we've "just had enough" I hit my personal threshold and I need to thrive and deeply want to live again! I want to fall in love with me.
Scripture to share:
“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”
I have my own story and we don't need to stay in an unhealthy state.
We all have the gift of freedom in Christ. My declaration is - I am taking my life back and the enemies in my past have no place in my life. I want to experience the life God has for me.
Do you desire the same? If, yes . . .
BECOME YOUR OWN KIND OF BEAUTIFUL!
Love, hugs, and blessings to you,
Founder of The Ruby Project Foundation
Servant first and creating a space for survivors alike!
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Good Shepherd Community Church Ministries
Be kind. I am not a professional writer and I use third-party tools to share my heart with you