Lost With Directions
I sat at the light and looked down at my gear shift, picked up the bottle of narcotic cough medicine, twisted the top open and swallowed a giant dose. The light turned green, I turned left.
I turned left because the printed directions told me so. The address on those map quest directions was my new address and I had just escaped a marriage where just weeks before a gun was pointed at my head. I still don’t know if the gun jammed or if he had forgotten to load it, either way, the trigger click scared me enough to know that I had to find a way out of the hell that I called home.
Just a few short weeks later, I found that way out with the help of friends. Finally, after a 3-hour drive, we arrived at that light where I chose to calm the pain by narcotic cough syrup. As I sat at that light and let that medicine coat my throat, I could not ignore the giant sign on the corner– “Calvary Church, for life’s journey”. I made a mental note to eventually check out that church, because I knew I was on a journey that threatened to end sooner rather than later if I continued self- medicating, with no one to help lift me up and stop me from fatally falling.
I arrived at my apartment, and my best friend as well as many of her co- workers met me there. They were there and had donated everything from furniture to a fork. I wanted them to leave even if it meant sleeping on the floor, but they insisted on putting my bed together. They left, I drank more cough syrup, chased it with Xanax and slept for about 14 hours. The pain of that day is difficult to explain to you, even as a lover of words, I fail to find adequate words to describe the depth of despair of those days.
But I tried. Just a few months ago, I climbed into my guest closet turned on my new microphone, and started talking. I recorded the second podcast “Lost With Directions” with a quivering voice, burning eyes and a runny nose. The podcast is a veiled attempt to find the words for the pain. You don’t hear them as powerfully in the Queens’s English, but you hear it in my voice. Those were some dark days. They were and are hard to relive, but I am on a mission. That mission is people who are hurting, people who don’t understand PTSD, and people who love us.
In this second episode, I begin to tell you my story. Eventually, I followed through on that mental note to visit that big church on the corner. What happened next is truly a story ONLY God can write.
The podcast is a veiled attempt to tell you the story that the best Author of all as written. It is also an attempt to help people understand the science of PTSD and why trauma survivors have issues with practical issues, like following directions on a map. The memory of needing those printed directions that day reminded me how much my brain was physically affected by trauma. I had been to that area hundreds of times, yet I needed printed directions.
The second episode contains some of my favorite printed directions, those in the Bible. Verses like Hebrews 4:15, the verse that promises that our High Priest is not unfamiliar with our sufferings or Joel 2:25 where He promises to give back all the years the locust have stolen.
Before writing this, I went back and listened to the episode and even now my heart races and my eyes water. But Jesus.
He is all the direction I needed then and all that I need now.
He is the Star of all the stories. He is yours too. Find Hope in this sorrow, because YOU MATTER and YOU are my mission.
Visit the Wednesdays With Watson podcast to listen to Season 1, PTSD, Jesus, and Me.