God has been all around me lately and on Tuesday He spoke this prayer. I was trying to think of a name for a Facebook group of my friends and words wafted through as I walked to the car. Then BITS came in. I wondered if it stood for something. I got “Blessed in the Struggle.” I like that. As I drove down the rather steep hill from my therapist’s office this prayer came to me, in lines and different colors. I finally pulled over to let it come through. I AM BITS.
I am BITS.
I AM Blessed in the Struggle.
I welcome His purifying pain.
I release my need to understand.
I submit my life to the Lord.
Every piece I’m angry about,
every care I hold, like each stone in the lake, I let go of.
My pain was never mine to begin with.
Jesus is mine.
Please Lord, show me your way.
Teach me how to read.
Teach me how to be, free.
© Michelle Routhieaux 2017
© Michelle Routhieaux 2016
Such a powerful session with Soleil. I’m still standing. Embrace the pain. I am strong enough to be weak, to be vulnerable. I feel God hold me and I let go. For the first time I wholly trust. Embrace the pain.
I’m not lying as much. I’m not working when I need to rest. I let myself cry… I’m doing the best I can. I also am asking for help, accepting.
I am so grateful for the blessing of this pain and for the courage to stay in it.
Urge to hug the yellow pillow.
(close my eyes)
…I am so blessed.
I’m still standing.
I feel my body this week.
© Michelle Routhieaux 2016
I did something that caused my best friend to explode. She called me tonight screaming at the top of her lungs about how she told me not to and she could sue me and I’m supposed to be her friend. There was nothing I could say. That level of distress requires time and sometimes drugs. It ruins friendships. It’s my fault. Whether or not I believed my action was okay I guess it wasn’t. I can’t undo it. I can’t make it better. She doesn’t remember what I remember about when we talked about it…
I feel very sad and I have goosebumps all over my body. My gut feels hollow, forehead burns. And I’m outwardly silent. There is nothing I can do. There are some serious needs of my own that I need to address tonight but in this moment all I can do is sit, furrowed brow, and wait. Makes me wish I’d never posted anything about the event. No good deed goes unpunished. No good friend unshamed. I really hurt her feelings and for that I’m sorry. There’s nothing I can do to fix it. And there are thoughts I can’t post here. I broke her trust.
My mom is sleep-watching The Voice so I’m going to try to process my issues elsewhere, maybe with my penguin earmuffs. It hurts my heart to know I hurt her so much. I know the feeling of the crack in her voice and the inability to control the pain and the rage. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.
I am awake.
I am alive.
Nothing bad happened.
We talked about radical acceptance. “I don’t like it. I don’t want it. AND I can tolerate it.”
I added, “AND I can love it.” I am awake.
I told her I want to wake up. I shared some past. I curled up tight in a ball. I talked about fear and confusion. She allowed me to feel what it’s like to be scared and confused, to stay with it. For me that’s new.
I notice I’m having trouble remembering. I was skipping around the numbers.
From the ball I took a chance and uncurled. I laid on the floor, moving my fingers and toes. Then I went upside down – plowish pose. Things were instantly better. I’m calmer upside down. I struggled in my head to find the courage to ask to do a back bend. When I did I shared the arguing in my head.
Soleil put her feet on my back and supported me as I peeled off the well. I opened my eyes to look at her briefly. I felt sheer freedom, relief. Then an overwhelming wave of nausea. I’ll call it emotion. I stayed with it for as long as I could then came down and put my hands and forehead on the wall. I breathed heavily. I was awake.
I learned the emotion is much stronger and closer than I thought and that I can access it when I want. I can be awake and have nothing bad happen. I can sit with and love my scary thoughts and the parts of me thinking them. I also noticed how real and very close my past is. I don’t want to run anymore. I am weak, and that’s okay. I want to integrate. I think I’m ready. We work together.
Lately I hear music almost constantly. The numbers in my head fight and change course. I feel pressed. I must always be working. I don’t want to wake up one day when I’m 50. I want to live life now. And take a nap. Soul-searching is exhausting.
I am awake.
I am alive.
Identified a want/need.
Allowed myself to want.
Let my self ask.
Took a chance/risk.
Asked for what I wanted.
Was honest about feeling scared.
Asked for help.
Trusted that she wouldn’t hurt me for asking.
Experienced the uncertainty.
Stayed with it.
Let go into the pose.
Embraced the feeling of freedom.
Let myself feel it.
Acknowledged pain when it came but didn’t stop even though I felt scared.
Watched the sensations grow
– pins & needles & burning in my left hand and arm
– extreme nausea
Chose to move up and sit back even though I was scared to get in trouble
– rested my hands and forehead on the wall
Watched myself breathe deeply, heavily.
Did not judge the moment.
What did I practice?
- Patience for me
trusting she wouldn’t hurt me
trusting her words
trusting her to support me
trusting my own judgement
trusting what my body tells me to do or not to
trusting my instinct
- Staying in the moment – present/awake
- Staying with a feeling
- Telling the truth
- Being Real
- Being Michelle
- Just being
- Allowing myself to be happy, playful, and do basketball court angels
When I was scared I curled up so tight in a ball. I didn’t know I could get so small. I took a chance when prompted to uncurl. The dance is stuck in me. I must get it, let it out. I must set me free.
(listened to RadioLab)
© Michelle Routhieaux 2014
I’ve been listening to God lately. It’s an interesting thing.
I’ve been growing in my faith lately. A lot. It’s strange to me but quite welcome. I’m having a lot of memory problems and other issues so I don’t remember if I told you or not. Last week I watched this sermon online and it struck a chord – Family of Origin Part 5: The Lost Child. I’ve been attending The Rock Church sporadically and hadn’t been in a few weeks so I decided to watch online. It was just what I needed and it talked about something I hadn’t thought about in awhile – the still small voice.
I hear that voice a lot. The still small voice that tells me what to do. I hear it more lately. No, I think I just trust it more lately. It tells me things and I do what it says. I’m never sure why I’m supposed to do these things or go these places on instruction, but there’s always a reason. I find myself in the right place at the right time, even though it was exactly the wrong place to me and I’m often upset about being there. The voice tells me where to go and what to say and whom to say it to, or not to. It redirects my path when I’m straying in a different direction, creates anxiety when I’m headed away or tells me to stay through the anxiety when I’m not supposed to go. Or to give or to compliment or to pray.
I am at once comforted and confused by this voice. The still small voice of God. I am comforted because I trust it and believe I should do what it tells me. I feel I have a companion, like intuition or a gut instinct that’s always right. But I’m confused and sometimes I doubt. Not because I don’t believe or I think it’s wrong but because doing what voices in my head tell me to hasn’t always turned out alright. It gets really scary sometimes and I end up in dangerous situations or do risky things. Or I give away all my money or run away or in some other way harm myself. I want to listen and obey this voice in my head that sometimes tells me to do things I don’t understand but that don’t seem bad, but I have a hard time trusting that He’s not one of “them.” The them that are out to get me, who tell me things in my head. Who scream at me and haunt me in the night. Who make me believe bad things and hurt myself. How do I know the still small voice is safe?
I guess the answer is that I don’t. I have to take it on faith. It’s just hard trying to tease out mental illness from religion when they’re so closely tied together. When God or experiences with God are such a part of my illness, or what society calls illness, it’s hard to know what’s real. I believe that when I am manic I’m not delusional, just closer to God, more able to experience Him and His presence. Somewhat of a spiritual emergency. When I’m experiencing weird spiritual things I have a choice to categorize them as spiritual experiences or psychiatric symptoms and how I define them determines the course of action. But what I’m hearing lately I don’t consider either. I just hear the voice of God. I listen for it. And I’m surprised because I follow it about 90% of the time.
I’m listening to God. I feel peace. In the midst of chaos and crises and illness, I feel peace and assurance. I seek to raise others up, to show love. I’m becoming a better me. Listening to God, letting Him work through me.
© Michelle Routhieaux 2012
Gosh, life is hard. (deep breath…)
I made food tonight. I’m so proud of myself. On the energy of a Rice Krispie treat I made chicken-flavored rice, popcorn and a few pieces of bacon. I never cook. It terrifies me. But I was hungry tonight and less terrified than usual. I sit here now listening to KLOVE and cry. I feel so alone.
Today was the first day in a very long time when I could rest. I slept in and took a shower and did some errands, at my own pace, on my own time. I tried the tv but settled on silence, then KLOVE. I feel so alone.
I went to Sea World with my boyfriend yesterday. (He prefers I call us “co-persons.” I don’t.) I had a really hard day, some of which was great. I’m having trouble communicating and getting sucked into the Borderline attachment/abandonment vortex. He’s leaving. It’s not that I’m imagining his leaving or that I’m scared that he will or that I did something to make him leave. He’s leaving the area for a traveling job and he doesn’t know if he’s coming back. I don’t want him to go. I feel safe with him. I’m using every skill I know to be honest and open, even when it terrifies me, and I’m astonished to find that he doesn’t hate me. He actually likes me most days.
I feel so alone. I know there is a purpose for this leaving, but I can’t see it right now. And tonight it is quiet and it all covers me. We’ve been playing house this week and I’ve been thinking I’d really like to do that, to play house with someone or on my own… My mom’s coming back from NY soon with her boyfriend and my guy will leave and I guess all will go back to the way it was. But I’ll be different. (crying)
I want to love. I want to have a family. I want not to be lonely. I want to need to cook more than three pieces of bacon. And to feel okay enough not to cry every time there is silence.
I feel close to God lately. He’s not but I pray for him. I know God is doing something in me. I want to use whatever that is for good. Tonight I just cry. I trust Him. I trust Him. I surrender it all. Every day. Every time. (deep breath)
I’m so grateful for the ability to breathe.
© Michelle Routhieaux 2012
I just realized what that safe feeling is. Trust. I read through a note I wrote tonight and at the end said, “I trust you.”
I don’t trust very many people. I rarely feel safe. Is trust what makes me feel safe?
People I Trust/Feel Safe With:
- Dr. N
- Dr. T
- My Mom and Aunt
I would put my life in their hands. Walk on the water, not flinch.
It takes a LOT to earn my trust, in action and in energy. I am loyal to those I trust. For them I would do anything. They usually aren’t as loyal back to me. Once a person has betrayed this sacred trust they fall out of sorts with me. Kinda like purgatory. S-, S-, T. The “perfect person” has all my trust, and usually breaks my heart. But there are a few safe people I’ll always trust, or want to trust, no matter how bad they hurt me.
Trust. I should think more about this. I certainly don’t trust myself. In some situations I am very sure, but in many I just don’t trust me. Other people trust me, but I don’t trust me to make decisions for me. I don’t trust me. I don’t trust me.
Wow. 4am breakthrough. Pays to stay up late and listen to my thoughts. I should do this more often.
(break to look myself in the mirror and say “I trust you” and hug myself)
Wow. That was hard. And powerful. I think I’ll try it with “I love you” tomorrow. What a night.
© Michelle Routhieaux 2011