A Misophonia Story continued

…continued

So, “Black” Friday night, like an involuntary twitch, holding myself together felt like an impossibility; if I didn’t “flight”, I was gonna fight. I was shaking inside. *slam* My hands hit the table, and I immediately wanted to take it back. Everyone looked at me in shock and maybe judgment – which I wouldn’t blame anyone for.  

I offered to leave in the calmest tone of voice I could muster.  It wasn’t anyone’s fault, really. I had just reached my limit with my sound sensitivity. My sisters and brother-in-law insisted that they would rather have me stay there and they would stop eating. Other sarcastic words were uttered by a loved one and bitterness exposed. I cried. I didn’t want to ruin their night. Shoot. Recalling this all really sucks. 

Anyway, I stayed, and they took snack breaks in the other room between game rounds. A compromise. Quieter foods were consumed at the table. And still I felt the weight of the fact they could have carried on normally if it wasn’t for me. If I wasn’t there, they might’ve had a better time. But they insisted that they wanted me there. Most of them insisted anyway. 

Phew. I need to recenter. I’m in tears as I am typing this. I don’t usually describe these scenarios here for that reason. I want to focus more on what helps. I am really fortunate to have people who willing to accommodate me in my weakness, but I really wish they didn’t have to. Okay, okay, okay. I need to stop. *nearly bawling* *trying to convince myself* Everyone needs some level of accommodation, and love means sacrifice no matter who you are and what you struggle with. 

Pursuing Peace Holistically

AGH! Okay. I don’t want that to happen again. So here’s the plan, ideally. 

Making consistent for prayer and meditation on the Word is necessary. I need to be okay with leaving people in order to do that. Regardless of what I think they might think.

Also, it is completely acceptable to utilize other healthy methods of managing stress. *I’ll share some things I am trying, but I have not been paid by any of these companies to do so.* During the holidays, I had forgotten to take my vitamins and supplements. I have been taking Ashwagandha (an herb), which has been helpful across the board in regards to stress. And, again, I forgot to take it over the holiday. So back on it. Gonna aim to continue faithfully.  

A couple other things I am trying:  Monq -a personal essential oil diffuser;  Wholetones .

On top of these, I’ve been more disciplined in diet and exercise – not quite to the point I’d like to be, but taking steps in that direction. I’ve got people holding me accountable. 

I know there is more therapy and healing that needs to happen. There may be a root issue that may be accessible and treatable with some help. In the meantime, I’ll do what I know works and gets me through to the next day. 

And, most importantly, I’ll keep praying to the One who can heal me. Jesus Christ. I’ll keep looking to Him. 

 

4 Holiday Self-Care/ Reality

“Dear Fours, during the past holidays, what are some things you’ve found yourself longing for? There are probably some things that aren’t meant to be, and that’s ok – can you hold them gently and loosely in one of your hands? Now, in your other hand, what are the things you’ve longed for that you might be able to create, initiate, participate in, or actively move toward this holiday season?” @xoenneagram

I don’t have Instagram anymore, but my sister screenshot this and sent it to me. So, you Insta-people should check out @xoenneagram. (Another Enneagram post in reference to Fours.)

Back to the questions…. 
…during the past holidays, what are some things you’ve found yourself longing for? …

Hmm… peace? Is that too cliche? Mostly, I just want peace, whether it’s a  holiday or not. Sometimes, peace and quiet – though I love all the little children and big people making noise. I need my quiet times. Peace. The serenity of the outdoors. But mostly peace within my own heart and head. My misophonia generally acts up a lot during the holidays. I can get away and do the dishes, but sometimes Grandpa insists that I sit and wait for everyone else to finish eating -_-.

Practically speaking… umm… for everyone to get along; not freak out over small things (myself included). So I guess that’s also peace. Haha. Now, if we’re gonna dream big, I may say deep pure connection over the beauty and glory of Jesus. 

Joy. Thankfully, I don’t have to look far for that. And when I struggle to see beyond my nose, quiet times with Jesus help me to find joy. So, peace, again 😀

Okay, I can’t control all of that. I can set aside time intentionally for quiet, but I can’t make people respect that. So I’ll ideally hold that loosely. I can start gushing about my Savior, and hope that it catches. —That’s the plan anyway—

How That Went – A Misophonia Story

…Okay, so I wrote most of this before Thanksgiving, and wanted to be frank with how it went. I had a low-grade panic attack for most of “Black” Friday. After spending the day using all my energy to keep from running to hide, my body couldn’t hold in the tension any longer. As is common in these circumstances, my misophonia was on high alert (sensitivity to sounds often is connected to stress levels). I try to distract myself as much as possible to ease the fight or flight response, but my resources had bled dry. 

I’m not proud of myself. I wanted to apply this “holiday self-care” advice more effectively. It’s not easily understood, Misophonia. I am thankful for everyone who loved me through it. Still, I acted out of fear. I didn’t take the time alone that I needed for fear that my loved ones would think I did not want to be around them. 

… I’ll tell you more tomorrow.

Four! pt3

Passion: Envy / Fixation: Melancholy

Part 3 of a series of posts I am doing on my Enneagram type. Read the intro here.

That really threw me off. When I started reading type descriptions, I resonated with so much of the Four, but… Envy? I don’t consider myself to bean envious person. So to understand this passion, I had to take a step back.

Before I continue, let’s define passion and fixation briefly. The “passion” is often described as the deadly sin of the type, and the fixation is the method by which one justifies or feeds the passion. Some will contest to that terminology, but that is the general understanding. Either way, it’s cyclical. For example, envy feeds melancholy which in turn produces more envy. 

I don’t envy what people have materially so much as their confidence and ease of social interaction. Their will-power and appearance of comfort within their own skin. But even more than all that, most of my experience of “envy” is intangible. It is better encapsulated by the word “longing.” And when I focus so much on what I don’t have, that’s where the tendency towards melancholy comes in (gloomy or depressive state of mind). 

What do you do with that? Generally, I try to remember that I am not alone in my feeling of lack. A good friend of mine once told me after witnessing my desperation, “You don’t need more of Jesus than anyone else.” And that was supremely comforting. Whether my need is more or less visible, it is in the same measure that all humanity needs Jesus. 

On that note, here is a song 🙂 – All We Need is Need – Jimmy Needham. 

So instead of fighting this need, I can see it as an invitation to go deeper.

To quote The Classic Crime, “My heart’s a hole that needs to constantly be filled with love.” And that can feel debilitating, because we know that people can’t provide that constant flow of love. We are limited, finite creatures who cannot fill an infinite need. 

We were made to be filled with infinite love from an infinite Savior. This overwhelming longing and need are not signs that there is something wrong. Rather, it is supposed to be this way. God has blessed me repeatedly with the weight of my need so I turn to Him to satisfy me continually.

“If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”

C.S. Lewis – Mere Christianity

And when I see that my human companions don’t satisfy my longing for love, I can thank God. My friends are wonderful people, but they make very poor gods. And placing them on that pedestal, asking them to fill me, will only destroy us both. They would either become crushed by the demand, or their egos would become inflated with self-importance. And I would be as desperate as ever, prone to despair; still unsatisfied, scrambling for love and acceptance when it’s already mine if I would only look into the hands of my Savior. 

Let’s go back to the passion, which I will call longing rather than envy. I can keep it from flowing into melancholy if I find it’s fulfillment/purpose in Jesus. 

I can take the weight off my friends and family, and let the Only One who can carry it do that for me. I can free those relationships to be places of peace and mutual care. And I can take the weight off of me. I don’t have to feel ashamed because of my need. I have a Savior who took that shame for me, and He doesn’t hold back His love for me when I ask. 

Four, Part 2

Every type has arrows of integration and disintegration -integration being how you grow, disintegration being how you shrink into dysfunction. And we borrow these patterns from other types. So I’m continuing my Four series with some figurative archery. 

Arrows

  • Integration: When I am growing, I become more like a healthy One – viewing my emotions more objectively and acting more on principle.
  •  Disintegration: When unhealthy, I take on negative tendencies of the Two – clinging to people for affirmation of significance.

Read more about the arrows of integration and disintegration here.

Whichever type you integrate towards disintegrates towards you.
Example: My oldest sister is a One. So, in knowing that, I can see positive traits in her that I can naturally attain in health – objectivity, morality. When healthy, I can look at my emotions as a valuable source of information rather than a source of objective truth. And now I can understand her frustration with me over the years a bit better now. When she saw my issues, she saw herself in disintegration – moody, melancholic. Few things can be as frustrating to a One as seeing things that they don’t like in themselves. So, without going too deep into the details, I’ve been able to be more gracious with her frustration towards me, even as she has grown a ton in being patient with me.

Concerning disintegration – An interesting and disingenuous trait of an unhealthy Two (my path of disintegration) is the tendency to serve & love others in order to receive love in return. I used to do this as a child. I would bring my siblings and their friends hot cocoa, or ice cream. They were always happy to see me when I was bringing them food or drinks, so that’s why I did it. I thought they would like me and want me around if I served them. 
I’ve been cognizant to pursue a life of service that doesn’t expect anything in return; that does not manipulate with love. Even as a child, I didn’t expect anything in return, but that doesn’t mean my motives were pure. I wasn’t looking out for the best interests of others – I merely wanted them to like me. That, my friend, is a dangerous arrow. 

More to come on the fixation and passion of the Four…

Four What? Part 1

A few of you who know me might know I’ve been studying the Enneagram. <Click that link to learn more.

And for those who know what that is and are interested, I’d like to dive more into what my personal experience as a Four (my number) looks like. If you can relate, feel free to comment!

The Ouch

They say that you can tell which type you are by reading the descriptions and the one that hurts the most is probably you. The following are excerpts from The Enneagram Institute on type Four that especially resonate painfully with me. Oh joy.

“Fours feel that they are unlike other human beings, and consequently, that no one can understand them or love them adequately.”

Fours often report that they feel they are missing something in themselves, although they may have difficulty identifying exactly what that ‘something’ is. Is it will power? Social ease? Self-confidence? Emotional tranquility?—all of which they see in others, seemingly in abundance… They feel that they lack a clear and stable identity, particularly a social persona that they feel comfortable with.”

“They may feel socially awkward or self-conscious, but they deeply wish to connect with people who understand them and their feelings.”

Fours typically have problems with a negative self-image and chronically low self-esteem.

Indeed, Fours can become so attached to longing and disappointment that they are unable to recognize the many treasures in their lives.

As long as they believe that there is something fundamentally wrong with them, they cannot allow themselves to experience or enjoy their many good qualities. To acknowledge their good qualities would be to lose their sense of identity (as a suffering victim) and to be without a relatively consistent personal identity (their Basic Fear). Fours grow by learning to see that much of their story is not true—or at least it is not true any more.”

Ooooo… reading that hurts, and I want to add my personal take (which I will get to). Yet, I think I would do a disservice to those reading by adding more explanation here. So, let’s continue down this rabbit hole a little further first, shall we? Stay tuned. I’ll do more than just quote another site.

In the meantime, take a test or read the descriptions on The Enneagram Institute (link above). If you need more of a positive spin, I’ve written a bit about tips for growth for my type (4) here.

What You Feel is Normal

man doing boxing
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

What you feel is normal, friend
I can feel it too.
When the darkness closes in,
It covers multitudes.

As sad as that may be,
Here’s a happy truth:
It has attacked an army –
Worn, but full of youth.

In this fight, you should know,
You’re friends are by your side.
You will never be alone.
Your Savior lives, though He died,
And He will fight for you.

Beginning to Heal

As I was slipping, my internal dialogue consoled me, “You’re alright. It’s okay. It’s not that bad.” I got up, palm bruised and backside covered in mud. Standing in the chilly rain, I said, “Ouch,” to the zero people who were there. I continued around the house to locate the noise that was keeping me awake, but to no avail. It sounded like a drip drop in an empty pail. I thought I could muffle it, or move the gutter… something.

Oh well. I was already awake. Might as well at least change out of these muddy pajamas and clean myself up. Sleep would not come easily anyway, not without prescription help tonight.

Prescriptions. I needed to call the pharmacy to refill one of them. Regardless of my hesitation, I did promise the doctor to try it for six months. Five more months to go, and I couldn’t tell if it was helping at all yet. I never before had to refill a prescription in my life. I didn’t even know how.

I wish my internal dialogue was as automatically comforting when the slipping isn’t so tangible. When the fall isn’t rational. When feelings overwhelm logic, and I squirm to flee though no one attacks. “You’re alright. It’s okay. It’s not that bad. It’s chilly and raining and you’re muddy, but you’re just bruised and you have a warm shower and clean clothes inside.”

This pain is not forever, and whether I feel it or not, I have a change of clothes and a fresh perspective inside. This is the beginning of healing, even as slow as it comes.

Malachi 4:2

But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings.

In the Desert

desert during nighttime
Photo by Walid Ahmad on Pexels.com

I am your bride in the wilderness.

I’ll follow you

In the desert, I’ll follow you.

In the desert, I’ll drink of you

The heat and sand won’t keep me from believing that you are making an oasis in this place.

The Art of Asking

I resisted the impulse to turn on the car radio. I sat in the car going to work, and I submitted to this beckoning to silence and listening.

My devotion time prior to this was very unfocused. Really, peace eludes me often when I am praying for myself. Then, when I listen to the ache in my spirit for specific people and I press into to prayer for them, my own burden lifts. And it did some this morning.
Still, I wanted to hear what God had to say to me concerning my life circumstances; what I should/shouldn’t do; how I ought to think about all the above. Sometimes, praying for myself (filling space with words) doesn’t help me hear.
 
QUIET YOUR HEART & ASK
I tend to want God to give answers to questions I didn’t ask. In my hurried mind, I don’t have time to ask the question. Give me the answer first, like some sort of Divine Jeopardy game. Now, I know it can work like this sometimes (He gives an answer to a question before we ask). When I haven’t known what to ask (or my questions don’t get to the heart of the issue), God has opened my eyes to truths I didn’t know I needed.
But when, if I took the time to quiet my heart, I would know what to ask, and I don’t, I hinder my own ability to receive. The folly in my impatience is that I refrain from quieting my heart before God to present my concerns in humility, and stubbornly expect to receive with clenched fists.
LISTEN 
Technically, it is still praying, but it’s not speaking so much that helps. Surely, He could speak above the noise of my own excessive pleas and grab my attention, but He knows what I need. I don’t need Him to be louder. I need to be quieter. I need to quiet my mind, intentionally; ask the question and listen for the answer. It seems obvious that in order to hear, I need to listen. But I neglect that essential element, as obvious as it may be.
NO, REALLY, LISTEN
Ask the question. Be silent. Listen for the answer. Sometimes the Holy Spirit speaks plainly, and I make it more confusing than it ought to be. I hear an answer I don’t like, and say, “I don’t think I heard You right.” I ask others to pray, I beg God for wisdom, and I refuse to listen. I have refused to listen.
Sitting in the car this morning, I asked a question, and in His kindness, He gave me an answer I didn’t like. He loves me too much to spare me the momentary pain of “No.”
His “No” is like a big hug to me. It stirs up a lament that only He can soothe, and He loves to care for me in this way. He is kind enough to speak exactly what I need to hear without fear of my response. His love is strong enough to lean on. I can put all my weight on His all-knowing goodness.
I can believe and trust Him completely. Even when it hurts. This resting & trusting  in Him began today with a silent car, a quiet heart & asking.