When I would sit on my therapist’s couch, sometimes I’d glance to the left and in that corner of the room, I left in my mind as I talked about some of the incredibly painful memories.
It also happened sometimes when I just felt overwhelmed and overloaded. I could stand in front of someone and have an entire conversation and not really be there. As their mouth moved, it suddenly sounded like Charlie Brown’s teacher. I would nod and appear to be present, but I was not engaged.
It drove my husband crazy when I asked the same question more than once. He insisted we already had the conversation, and maybe we did. I remembered us talking but I couldn’t remember what was said, because once again, I had left.
I learned a long time ago to escape in order to be safe. No one taught me how to escape, it just happened over time. I learned to just freeze, be quiet and be still. I would leave and go somewhere else in my mind to help pass the time.
Escaping helped me to cope and it was a normal response to trauma.
In counseling, I learned new ways to cope. My counselor showed me how to stay present and engaged by being grounded. With these new skills, I started to dissociate less, and was able to be fully present and engaged, even while in therapy on her couch.
At one point, I looked to the left and nothing happened. I wasn’t able to escape with ease anymore. It was happening less and less. Eventually it stopped.
A few weeks ago, my family and I visited a new Escape Room to try. We tried to solve puzzles and open all kinds of combination locks in the allotted time. They had a TV monitor in the left corner of the room. They told us if we needed help to figure out the next clue, then we could just wave at the monitor and the clue would appear on the screen.
Every time we struggled to figure out the clue, my youngest would insist, “Just look up in the corner and wave for help!” You were only supposed to get three clues and he wanted to use all three and more.
If help is there, why not ask?
In that moment, it hit me. Waving at the screen reminded me that I have a Helper who is always there waiting to assist me. When I don’t know what to do next, He’s able to whisper, “This is the way…” When I am stuck, He helps me to move ahead. When I am afraid, He reminds me that I am not alone. He is always there waiting for me to just wave at the screen. He wants to help me!
I simply need to wave and acknowledge that I have a Helper who is available to me always. I don’t have to have it all figured out and I don’t have to fend for myself anymore. I am not alone. His grace is sufficient and His power is made perfect in my weakness.
Looking to the left is no longer about escaping. It is about Freedom.
Now may God, the inspiration and fountain of hope, fill you to overflowing with uncontainable joy and perfect peace as you trust in him. And may the power of the Holy Spirit continually surround your life with his super-abundance until you radiate with hope! Romans 15:13 TPT
And I will ask the Father and he will give you another Savior, the Holy Spirit of Truth, who will be to you a friend just like me—and he will never leave you. The world won’t receive him because they can’t see him or know him. But you will know him intimately, because he will make his home in you and will live inside you.
John 14:16-17 TPT