Here’s the follow-up letter, from the last one. I certainly didn’t mean to speak as if I have it figured out, I was just speaking about the thoughts that I have swirling around in my head.
I’m empathetic to the panic attacks. I literally began to think I was crazy because they would hit out of nowhere. One time I had to pull over on a bridge in Austin while driving home, because I was freaking out. Another time, it was so intense, I passed out, like my brain hit a reset button. I would be in bed or sitting in the middle of a restaurant and break out into a full on cry. Not sniffles. Straight up cry. If I didn’t want Sarah or those around me to think I was crazy, I was doing a bad job convincing them.
It sent me spiraling.
Nothing worked anymore. I couldn’t pray. In fact, I used to pray religiously. Every morning, and read scripture. But my prayer time had become haunting, and every time I tried to return my spiraling intensified. I couldn’t even read scripture. Nothing I read even made since. I had been teaching scripture for 12 years, and now I couldn’t even make sense of it. If I heard any sort of ‘Christian’ music, I immediately became angry. In other words, everything I had relied on in the past as it relates to spiritual disciplines only made things worse.
I’ve always feared that I may be revealed to be a fraud. It seemed as if I was being exposed. I had nothing left in the tank to keep it up.
I was done. I living out my greatest fear. I was just waiting for my wife and kids to see it.
My whole life I believed that if I followed the right patterns, engaged all things with integrity, was true to the church, that the rest would take care of itself. I felt betrayed. Abandoned. Lost. Let down.
Call it divine intervention or the universe throwing me a bone, but at this time I ran into the idea of the apophatic. The negation of the divine presence. The more I studied it, the more it seemed to resonate. It seemed God was present but present in absence. In a very subversive way, it was as if the divine had removed all power and effectiveness from my old practices.
I needed to do something.
I couldn’t stay in bed.
I had a family. I had a wife. I had kids. I had to face the day.
The one thing I could do was read to redirect my mind, that’s where the torture game was being played. This is when I kept running into the idea of resilience. I knew by definition resilience had something to do with recovering and bouncing back, but I didn’t know much about resilience theory.
Like you, I didn’t want to be self-absorbed in this hunt for the true-self. I just wanted peace. Peace to be me so that I could love and serve those out of a soul over-flowing with beauty and joy.
One of the factors in resilience theory had to do with creating a new mental map, through creating a new rhythm. Even if one didn’t know what that was, just creating a rhythm to form a new normal was enough to act as an anchor in the realm of sanity.
So, that’s what I did, I created patterns, committed to a process, and let go of the outcome!
Once again, I rambled on, but I think so much of committing to the journey of downward mobility is recognizing what is going on, allowing it to happen, and learning to commit to a process of practices through it.
Catch you later.