Monday, March 26, 2012
The Bedroom Addict
Even though "my bedroom" in the literal sense has now become "our bedroom," since I am now marriied, "the bedroom" has, for me, a history of being a dangerous and volatile place.
In my pre-teen and teenage years, I locked myself in my bedroom and cranked up the depressing music and sobbed in bed over some intense experience or another. In my bedroom I would cut my arms and other areas to release the pain. I knew no other language. In my bedroom I would hide from my mother, loving and supportive as she was; I don't think even the best mother in the world could have been "the good guy" in my life back then.
In college, my bedroom became more of a reclusive cave where self-destruction occurred. Out on my own, I didn't even have well-meaning-Mother knocking on my door asking if I was okay. I had a single dorm room and experienced the kind of depression that leaves you melting into the bed.
After college, after moving to a different state, moving in with my best friend, then moving in with my boyfriend-at-the-time, my bedroom still symbolized my hiding place, my place of unhealthy release and self-destruction.
Not until a few years ago after getting married and having my stepchildren live part-time with us did I realize the consequences of the bedroom and not until tonight did I realize I had a choice.
A few years back, Husband noted to me a couple of times that when I had difficult feelings I would hide in the bedroom for a while and that wasn't fair to him - or the kids. I thought this odd; no one had ever told me not to do this. Well, not since I was a teenager, but then I was self-injuring and it seemed obvious to me that I had an unhealthy habit. I knew, Mom knew. My therapists knew. My close friends knew. But I had stopped injuring years before and now my husband, who I loved more than anyone, told me that he wished I wouldn't hide so often.
I admit I felt angry. Who was he to take away my bedroom? Clearly, I couldn't break down in front of the kids, is that what he was asking me to do?
But as of last year, I worked diligently at not racing to the bedroom to sob and fall apart in the dark. And I even found myself comforting my husband, on occasion, who would do the same thing.
Tonight, I found myself in that old familiar place: the bedroom. And I found myself feeling those old familiar feelings. I looked around me and though the actual room was different, the feeling of hiding, the feeling of wanting to escape was the same. I felt ashamed. I was going through a rough time - today, it was brought on by the resurgence of a very bad medical condition that I thought I had under control. I was in a great amount of pain and on top of that, I felt angry. I wasn't sure who I was angry at so I just became angry at everything.
I felt angry that my body was in so much pain and no one could tell me how to feel better. I felt angry that I had kids and a husband out in the kitchen eating dinner even though Husband offered to take the helm of the ship and let me go in the bedroom and "rest" (I'm not sure Husband understands the metaphor of "the bedroom..." well, if he didn't, he does now after reading this).
But I did not rest. I laid there and cried quietly yet vehemently. I wanted my mom. I called my aunt, the closest thing to her, and talked with her for a while. My body pain calmed down and the conversation helped a little so I hung up the phone. I still felt bad, though.
And that was when this whole bedroom thing came into my head, how this has been a cycle since childhood.
And what have I just started listening to in the car? An audio Bible study by Beth Moore on "Breaking Free" from bondage of any kind - depression, addiction, anything.
Was my bedroom keeping me in slavery?
Suddenly, I felt a profound sense of sadness. Not angry-sadness geared at myself, but sadness over what God sees me doing.
I have been hiding from God.
Well, if you want to get technical, I've been hiding from "feeling better."
And the way to "feeling better" IS God, in my opinion.
Yet here I was, once again choosing the bedroom to hide in, to soak in my own self-pity and anger. How ungrateful I was.
I continued to lay there, but instead of ruminating inside of my head, I spoke aloud to God. I asked for his forgiveness for my ingratitude, my anger, my turning to old addictions such as secluding myself (yes, isolation can become an addiction).
I realized that even if we had 50/50 custody and even if each of the kids was 100% emotionally stable and even if their mom was on her feet and a positive influence in their lives and even if Husband and I rarely yelled or got angry and even if this...and that...
Even if...even if...
I'd still be complaining about something.
I go to church and approach the altar for the Lord's Supper with outstretched palms and head bowed in humility. Yet I live at home with a mixture of anxiety and anger and try to control everything and everybody and still resort to hiding in the bedroom.
Before I continue to put myself down, let me share the good news. The good news is that there is The Good News. And that is: God is in the dark places, too. He is in the bedroom, in every place of hiding. He is especially in the dark places. He was in my teenage bedroom watching sadly as I treated myself so wretchedly; He was in my college dorm room where I sobbed into the bed, and He was in my bedroom tonight, reminding me of His Word:
"For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength" (Philippians 4:!3)
And I thought of this song, In Me, by Casting Crowns.
Cause when I'm weak, You make me strong
When I'm blind, You shine Your light on me
Cause I'll never get by living on my own ability
Isn't that how I've lived my life? Seeped in the New Age world, convinced that I could control everything, that I could make "good energy" surround me, that all power and ability were right in my hands.
How different I feel now. Yet, obviously, this newbie still needs reminding:
I will never get by living on my own ability.
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding" (Proverbs 3:5)
I thought about all the years I got by on my own, with no help from God (or so I thought). I thought of all the times He was there without me knowing it. I thought about all the times I fell and He brought me back up.
I chose the bedroom all those years.
As I lay in bed, seeped in the dark of the oncoming evening, I said, aloud:
"Lord, I choose You."