Daily I am faced with the reality of my humanness. Living is not easy! I am constantly uncomfortable in my skin. Depending on the day, this ranges from a handful of times a day to several times an hour. I have big emotions, big responses and big passion. I am continuously faced with the choice of covering my pain with a Band Aid or using an antibiotic.
** I am using Band Aid and antibiotics as analogy words only. I’m not implying that antibiotics are the only or best way to heal infections. Nor am I endorsing the overuse of actual antibiotics. All of that is a completely different discussion. 🙂
My Band Aids are the things that are easy to go to but are hard to come out of and aren’t effective long term. Yes, initially they do a great job of producing the deadened and numb effects. These often feel good because pretty quickly the pain and discomfort is gone. Unfortunately, they come with a price – hangover, withdrawal, dependence, addiction, only short-term relief, and allowing underlying infections to fester. It’s like putting a Band Aid over an infected wound, it might cover it for a while but the infection will spiral and demand attention eventually. When it finally gets treated, it’s usually much worse than when it started. These are the Band Aids that I have used and still do sometimes.
- Living in my head
- Mouth biting
- Lashing out at others (usually Dan & kids)
- Fix-it mode
- Denial / Ignoring / Avoidance
- Withdrawal & Isolation
- Putting on a happy face – fake it
- My phone
- Skin picking
These are the things that help me feel and process my way through discomfort while keeping me connected to God, myself and others. They are usually not the things that I want first. They can take a little while to take effect and I may have to use more than one. I don’t feel better immediately. The beauty of these antibiotics is that I stay alive and awake to life in and around me. I get to know and love myself better and eventually I move through the pain.
- Recovery meeting / speaker / message
- Petting or snuggling with my cat
- Focus on breathing
- Go outside
- Talk to someone
- Look at photos
- Laugh (funny show or movie, animal videos)
- Do something fun
- Be still & reconnect to myself
Just now as I was thinking about my Band Aids and antibiotics, I realized something really important. Although God is always with me, I block Him when I put on one of my Band Aids. I close myself off from connection with Him and myself, which is ultimately the worst consequence for me. All of my self-harm results from lack of connection. My Band Aids provide some short-term distraction while allowing the infection to fester.
My antibiotics open the door for connection – connection with God, myself and others which is the key to health, peace and joy for me. This requires a lot of faith on my part especially because antibiotics usually take a little time to circulate through the system and for their effects to be felt. Patience is required and she and I have a difficult friendship. Choosing antibiotics over the Band Aids requires me to look past the immediate gratification and look at the whole picture from a broader perspective. I also have to walk past the mob in my mind screaming for instantaneous relief. I have to trust that I will experience God if I open the door. I have to trust something greater than myself. I have to surrender.
I keep a copy of these lists on my bathroom mirror and writing this post has helped me so much. I have to be reminded, constantly reminded, of the paths between life and death for me.
Please share!! What are your Band Aids and antibiotics?