Wednesday, August 27, 2014

What If I Lose My Mind?

    I'm starting grad school, and in between the excitement of new friends and teaching for the first time in my life, and the stress of not getting lost or forgetting what to do and when to do it, there's a shadow lurking in my heart.
   It beats harder and darker whenever I acknowledge it. I'm scared of this secret, so maybe if I sure it here, it will lose some of its power?
   I'm scared I'll lose my mind.
   Look, it's been what? Eight months since I started recovering from extreme depression and anxiety? I'm blown away and so grateful to my therapists, family and friends when I think of all that's happened since. I'm not the same avoidant, voiceless personality I was a year ago.
    But there's still that memory that haunts me, a wisp of a timid girl horror-struck by dangerous life. She shows up when I'm tired and hungry, when I have headaches or am overwhelmed at the disorienting orientations. And she locks me in my old habits, hijacks me in the fear that she's back and what if she returns for good?
    Now, recovery takes time, maybe a lifetime. That's helpful to know, sure, but it doesn't make the relapses any more tolerable.
    And now I'm entering the reportedly stressful first year of a PhD program in the compelling but dizzying subject of organic chemistry.
    I'd be lying to say I'm not terrified of screwing up. Not so much in terms of schoolwork - that'll happen, it happens to everyone - but in terms of personal issues. Will I return to my paralyzing fears, like a dog to its vomit?
    Probably. Not all of it is my choice, after all. Some is instinct.
    I suppose climbing back up, returning and trying to do better rather than accepting the status quo are what I have to aim for. Because aiming for perfection sucks. But aiming for recovery, that I think I can do.
    I follow a God who loves resurrection, after all. I honestly don't think I'd follow Him if He didn't.
    Obviously, I love the idea of resurrection.
    But practicing resurrection: it's hard. It's freaking hard to get back up when you've slipped and smashed around on the ground before everyone you know.
    Resurrection says pride has to go. Yes, I have a problem. I've crashed and burned, and now I rise by the power and love of God and the people in my life.
    Resurrection says it's time to escape the hiding habits I've developed (food and isolation and lying),; it's time to walk out of those tombs; it's time to show I'm alive.
    Resurrection says I love you so much I will conquer even the inevitable death for you.
    In the concrete, resurrection means walking up to the grad student I froze in front of and smiling.

    There's a song I listen to every August, when the first dry air and cool mornings appear and feel almost like hope. The quiet mornings, before the day heats back up, that tantalize the approach of autumn. Autumn, when the new begins and the school year resurrects.
    So I listen to The Rend Collective's Experiments "Desert Soul."
    I'm lost without Your create spark in me
    I'm dead inside unless Your resurrection speaks.

    Have a listen, if you wish. And whatever needs resurrection in your life, I pray it for you, reader and friend.


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