Have you ever felt like you were going to lose your entire mind?
Forget the after-effects of ungodly amounts of alcohol or dabbling with weed or hardcore drugs. Neither does this have anything to do with a heartbreak that leaves your mind and heart detached from each other. Nor are we addressing gaslighting. I am talking about losing your mind and recognizing that this is a battle beyond the realm of this world. When it feels like there are people camping in your mind, lighting little fires and occasionally playing catch in your head. The result is a migraine that sucks the life out of you. Your eyes sink and you slowly begin to die a little. That kind of losing your mind is what I mean.
Wednesday, June 3rd 2020, I deactivated my social media pages. No, I was not being dramatic, it was the thing God instructed me to do. Stick with me there is a point to this. I deactivated my pages and stayed awake for the next three hours caught up in a full-blown panic attack.
What does it feel like?
Cold. Still. Stuck.
My mind refused to function, the campers must have been asleep at the time or off hunting. It was like a cold winter night because my body was frozen under two blankets, a comforter and a throw at my feet. A single person’s beddings starter pack. Turns out deactivating social media pages takes a while. After an hour and a half of an attempted erasure of my digital print, I sat in my bed staring in the dark. Actually , that is incorrect. I was staring at a gigantic tree that hovers over my bedroom window.
Before I knew it, the morning came and as routine the squirrel that has since made my acquaintance danced from the tree onto the roof. My mind was starting to feel like jelly which is better than nothing. I tried to sleep and instead, I sobbed for what must have been hours.
At the top of the year before the ‘This is my year train’ took a detour, I made a bold prayer and asked God to heal all the parts in me that were broken. You can read about it here. I knew the process would be long and maybe even painful. By April I thought I was all fixed and good as new.
In May things fell apart in the literal sense. God revealed something in me that I have carried since childhood that needed to go. When I tell you that God pulled me apart and yanked it out, I mean exactly that. After that experience, I could not eat for about a day. I tried eating a store-bought pecan pie but even that tasted like Vaseline. I waited it out for a day and slowly tried to eat again. My sleeping got better and my mind was quiet.
The next week I was packing to move houses. There was something in the air and I could not put a finger on it. Turns out there was something in the air because I was engulfed in 24 hours of tension that culminated in a 2hr dress down. Hey married people. I have always wondered what people mean by fighting all night. Turns out it is plausible.
Here is the thing, I am big-boned but do not have a punching bone in me. I no longer shout when I am angry. Not sure when that changed but I remember reading Trevor Noah’s Born A Crime. There is a scene that he describes where his mother remains still in the face of an aggravated situation. Buy the book. I wished that I could also be still. The key is to listen intently even as someone shouts their heads off. Resist the urge to retaliate and listen. It has taken a couple of years to get here.
A physical fight is always out of the question and I do not have Akothee’s presence. In a fight, I listen and answer questions if asked otherwise I am quiet. Two hours is a long time to fight. By the end of it, I was drained and physically felt like a branch of the verge of breaking. It was not the day yet.
A week later there was another fallout. I did not see this one coming which is why it caught me off guard. I was on the wrong for making presumptions about what the relationship was. In haste to hold on as the train of self-awareness threatened to run me over, I immediately apologized and gave context for my hurtful remarks.
There was a clear pattern in the two weeks. Something was off. I have been on a self-awareness journey for a couple of years and I thought there was progress. My core was shaken. The knot in my stomach refused to come undone. How had I been moving in the world? Have I been attached to an identity that was not mine? It is like the water in my body left and not even my flesh or big bones could hold up the rest of me.
The difference this time is that God felt closer. It’s like he was there literally above my head and I was too ashamed to look up.
Midmorning after a good crying session I went to the kitchen to bake a cake that I did not care for. Anything to keep my mind and hands busy. Two hours later a whole-wheat apple bread was done. I left it there and went to work. By evening I was done and that is when the sobbing began again. I felt like my physical heart was aching. It was breaking into pieces and I did not know what was happening.
But by grace…
Her text was curt and straight to the point.
“What happened to your Instagram?”
Wait. Who is this? Google code. Australia. I only know one person in Australia. Did I give her my number?
I poured my heart out and she proposed a phone call. It lasted a couple of hours. The call was laced with grace, excitement to catch up after almost 11 years and no judgement at all. It felt like God was giving me a big cuddly hug.
A second phone call. More grace and love expressed all the way from Kenya. I felt seen and asked the hard question. Had I been heedless all this time? She prayed and mentioned that this was beyond our realm. It was a battle of the mind.
Sometimes you have to be your own hero…
Is it just me or is Hero the best collaboration in the world. I am biased because Whitney Houston is one of my best artists. Sometimes you have to be your own hero. This came from the first phone call. It stuck with me. It does not mean that we are rejected by those we expect to be there, though that may be the case too.
Make the first step so that the next one feels feasible. Take a shower, brush your teeth and we can take it from there. Set the little goals and do not let the world hurry you into healing for its benefit. Move. Crawl if you must but move.
Your mind is a target because it controls your brain that in turn runs the machine that is your body. The battle is in the mind. That is where we win the war with the little gains and hope to God an army of angels is waiting to catch us when we fall. Here is a mind-boggler, no one has access to your mind but you and God. So how can we be attacked? By using us to front war against ourselves with our words.
The enemy knows he cannot touch you without consent (think of Job). He uses you to attack you. Negative words, discouragement, and outward attacks are his favourite. Here’s the laughable thing, he has no new tricks in his hat. That is why his go-to is cycles. Familiar patterns are easy to conjure.
Ever seen a family or in your own context, a pattern that seems to play out without hindrance? A generational cycle that seems to catch on without even trying. If your mind is convinced that your only fate is cyclic negative patterns, then you will make no effort to address it. The devil has no business for those he already has a hold on instead he comes after you.
You who is in pursuit of healing. How dare you?
What gives you the right to pull out self-sabotage roots.
Pray away brokenness in your family.
Seek therapy to get your mind right.
Learn the word of God as you earnestly seek answers to life’s dilemmas.
Move in the world redeemed from your past and not wallow in guilt.
Pray even on days you don’t feel like it.
Pursue health because you understand it is tied to your purpose.
Make better financial decisions because the cycle of poverty ends with you.
How dare you?
Your mind is a target because if the battle is won there war ceases.
Sometimes we will have to be our own hero. There are days to fight our feelings. We do that on our knees. It is imminent because our assignments depend on it. We fight because the alternative is too big of a price to bear. Worship is your biggest weapon against attack on your mind.
This sounds too spiritual?
Let us bring science into it. Stephanie Ike a pastor with the One Church LA interviews Dr. Caroline Leaf and actress Amber Riley in this video where they address the science behind negative emotions and the physical manifestations of that energy. In the second part, they talk about going back to the real you. I also found this video of Joyce Meyer speaking about the battle of the mind. Billy Graham talked about the mind extensively including this post from 13 years ago. . Marcus Rogers addresses how our feelings get in the way of God.
I pray that when you find yourself with a foggy mind, you remember that even the tiniest of steps matter. Crawl out one desperate step towards sanity after another. Deactivate your social media if you must. Reach out and be open to those who extend grace to you.
Always remember the enemy is not bothered by his children.
Kiki you inspired this post. Thank you for being my hero while at the same time giving me a gentle nudge to be my own hero. Sakina thank you for your prayers and allowing me the vulnerability to fall apart and get back up.