Don’t quote me on this, but I vaguely remember many a bible story and study about the Israelite people, newly freed from bondage in Egypt, only to wander in the wild desert for 40 years. God was purposely withholding from the people the “promised land”. They wandered aimlessly in circles to their death, paying for their grumbling, ingratitude, and lack of faith…or something like that. They are freed from slavery in the face of impossible odds, then complain about the food on their trek to freedom. They turn from giving God their thanks to inventing more convenient deities. They even choose to run from the promised land at some point, overcome by fear of the work they might have to do to claim it. Oh, look . About.com has outlined this story, which can be found in the book of Numbers, since I’m pretty sure I got some of that out of order.
The point is, for some reason, my moping about today ended in my thinking of that old story. I’ve been having a rough summer, as I’ve written before, and for no good reason. My checking is at an ALL TIME HIGH and I waste hours each day. I have not been fighting it very well and often feel like just giving in. In addition, I feel like I am rotting inside and am very hard to please, and I’ve got no good reason. It reminds me a bit of something I went through in college, a year when I suddenly often found myself crying on the bathroom floor with no good reason. It was the same then as it is now: I have lots of reasons to be happy with my life, so why am I so often so unhappy? Actually, there may be some reason: I do know that the year I was crying like that on the floor until someone had to come get me, I was beginning to do my OCD rituals. I cringe when I remember the mess I was on that bathroom floor; my poor ex had to mop me up and probably thought he had a nutjob for a girlfriend. I don’t understand why I did not catch it at the time, that maybe this was when the changes in my brain were first happening. I’d never checked like that before, and had never been that anxious. But something happened in me that summer, and I just sank into it and ignored it until it became what it is today.
So is there something to this pattern? My feeling overwhelmed by the anxiety until I end up blubbering with no known trigger? Don’t get me wrong; I’m trying to have a sense of humor about my behaviors and my OCD, because I need to lighten the load, but I in no way am saying “blubbering” and “no good reason” as a way to demean or misrepresent the very real impact of an anxiety disorder. I know what’s up. I have a very real problem, one with behavioral and biochemical roots and reasons, like any other health problem. My health problem does not make me break out in a rash or mess with my blood sugar (not directly and not yet anyway), but instead my brain is constantly sounding the alarm, be it a loud siren or a never ending buzz. But the noise and the anxiety is neverending, and that constant feeling in my body, that constant thought process in my brain which results in actions that disrupt my life daily, it drains the batteries and leaves me feeling pretty hopeless.
Anyway, back to my thoughts about my current wilderness: I am here and I can’t undo it. I am back where I once was, breaking out in sobs for “no good reason” and letting anxiety wreck my life and my spirit. I am human, and I will find myself in my desert again, but if there is anything I retained from that Sunday school lesson, it is these two things: 1) I need to remember God is here to help me but 2) I really need to help myself too, as much as I can, and not make destructive choices that will keep me wandering until the years tick by. I can’t be afraid of the hard work it’s going to take to get to my promised land.
Time to sleep, so I can try again tomorrow.