You may have read on some of my earlier posts, I am a diagnosed, text-book case, Hypervigilant Person. It was caused from childhood trauma I had experienced, and was a symptom of PTSD.
Now, I had never, ever heard the word hyper-vigilant before a year ago, so I was really taken by surprise by the therapist that informed me that my brain was essentially broken, and needed to be fixed. It really almost made my poor broken brain explode, because by its very nature, a hyper-vigilant brain is going to over-analyze any decision ad nauseam anyways. That therapist had quite simply blown my mind.
I thought about copying and pasting the medical definitions and symptoms to try to give my reader an idea of what this all is and what it looks like, yada yada. But, I don’t think that would be an apt glimpse into my brain’s perception of the problem.
Instead, I’ve decided to go with a kind of metaphorical story that is more of what this feels like from inside my broken head. Here it is:
Let’s say that you are born into an obscure family in some obscure little country. And because this little country strictly forbids any kind of nudity ever, you live all of your early childhood never seeing what a naked woman looks like. And your law-abiding mom never sees you naked either.
Eventually, you go through puberty and lo and behold! you grow three breasts, instead of the standard two. As you have nothing to compare yourself to, you assume all the other women in the world also have three breasts.
Your life goes on looking pretty normal to everyone around you, probably somewhat due to your own ignorance of the problem and the loose-fitting clothing you always wear, until you get married. But your beloved husband, who also has no idea all women don’t have three boobs, thinks you are beautiful. Up until this point, you don’t know that you are a freak of nature. You assume everyone else is pretty much built the same as you.
But, as luck would have it, the doctor that delivers your baby does know this is not the norm, and informs you that you have one more breast than all the other women in the world. You are suddenly dealing with a lot of internal issues about self-image, self-esteem, etc. But you’re making a lot of extra milk. Enough so that you can feed your own baby, and donate the rest to the local orphanage to feed newborns that have lost their mothers. So, even if you are way different, and it is causing you some real self-esteem problems, there is some good coming out of the problem. And you’ve been toting around this extra breast almost your whole life. It is a part of you now.
I know it is kind of over-simplifying a complex problem, but my perception of things are somewhat simplistic.
Note: I would also like to say that I tried to pick a different body part, but there is a surprisingly small amount of parts of our bodies that could be an asset if we had more of….The breast was literally the only one I could come up with…..
Suddenly, I had a different picture of who I really was, and I was humiliated. Secretly, I had always taken a little pride and self-esteem from my ability to analyze the h*** out of anything. Over the years, I’d developed a reputation as a somewhat wise person, always able to present a matter from several different view-points. I had assumed God had granted me my childhood prayer to be blessed with the gift of wisdom, and even at my worst moments, when I was the furthest from God that I’d ever been, I would try to be careful with that gift as to not have Him take it away from me. I had always perceived it as an answered prayer. To some degree, I thought we Christians had all been given three breasts, to varying levels like the parable of the talents.
Hello, Catherine…welcome back to reality..Haven’t seen you here in years!!!
I sat on that too-soft couch, looking at the therapist in stunned disbelief. I wasn’t wise; my brain was broken. As you can imagine, the session was over. I vaguely remember her trying to teach me a breathing exercise or something, but I had retreated into my broken Brain-Castle and slammed the door.
And you can guarantee Jesus heard all about it on my way home. And for weeks afterward. Actually, more like months. I don’t say I prayed extensively about the matter on bended knee. No. I don’t really pray like that…I talked to Him constantly about the disappointment and dismay I felt that I’d been fooled by my own brain and my own stupid pride. I’d been betrayed and tricked. I looked the fool to myself…which is worse than being a fool to everyone else. You can’t hide from yourself. After that, when my brain would go into Solutions or Die mode, I didn’t feel like I was smart…it was just a sick, twisted reminder that I wasn’t so smart after all.
I didn’t go back to therapy. I’m only now getting over that little ordeal. But, as is His way with me, I’ve come to terms with the whole fiasco of metaphorically having three breasts by approaching the problem from God’s point of view. Maybe God wanted me to have three breasts…In fact, maybe in some strange way, God had given me the gift of wisdom, just not in the way I was expecting or to the degree I had once thought. Is it not still a gift from God, even if it is delivered to you in an unexpected way? And He is quite able to put you right back into your place when you try to take credit for the gift He gave you, or have pride in your talent as if you’d achieved it all by yourself. Jesus certainly got my attention on that little crappy characteristic of mine…And He did it because my pride would have infected every bit of what He was trying to do with the talents He had entrusted to this particular servant.
No. I don’t consider myself wise and accomplished, even secretly to myself anymore. When a pride in something I find I can do starts to seep in, I rush to kill it immediately. I can tell a good story because of my broken little brain, and a genetic gift from my dad, but every day I read other writers’ offerings that have more insight, better styles, more creative ideas, etc., and I am able to see the reality of who I really am. Jesus is what makes me special, and it is Him that people are attracted to. I’m just some girl whose brain is broken…..
After long deliberations, I decided that I am going to leave my exhausted brain alone. On the one hand, sometimes it just won’t shut up, and I get worn out from listening to myself cover scenario after scenario incessantly.
But on the other hand, I never have a problem coming up with some little pearl of wisdom I’ve figured out about life for my kids, or a well-thought out solution to a problem my husband presents to me, or even something to write about in my blog. My symptom has now become a full-fledged characteristic, but this little lesson has shown me not to think I’m the one accomplishing God’s work. He’s just using my weaknesses as He tends to do with all of His servants…
My brain and I are at peace with one another once again.
Today, I wrote a post here: anexerciseindiscipline.wordpress.com called Liar, Liar, Pants On Fire. If you’d like to read it, please check it out over there. Thanks again for all of your kind comments!!