Plan of Attack: Against the whole bloody lip...
The alarm goes off.
*hit snooze button*
It will go off in five minutes,
But five minutes is all it takes to have a bloody lip.
Blood from a fearful girl who is so frozen that she can only seem to bite down on her lip and pray she can function today.
Function despite the nightmare she just had.
Function despite the memories and hurts and questions now driving her mad less than .002 seconds after she wakes up.
Welcome to my morning.
. . . . .
I wish I could tell you this specific scenario only happens once a month or so. But here lately it has been happening more so than it has not. The sad condition of my bottom lip is most definitely the clearest proof of that (Praise the Lord for some good lipstick to cover it!).
But I don't want to cover it. I want the problem to go away.
But I have no control over what scenes flood me as I sleep.
And I'm so out of it when I first wake up that putting up a fight so suddenly and intentionally feels impossible.
And there is nothing more defeating than starting your day in shame and attempting to forget it and shake it off before most of your day has been robbed of joy and victory.
BUT, today there was progress.
As I have become increasingly aware that this problem is indeed a consistent issue (thanks to my bloody lips and clarity from my Psychologist who so lovingly informed me of that phrase we all hate when beginning to work through difficult things, "Things will get worse before they get better", I decided to plan for these scenarios. I needed relief.
Plan of Attack
Step 1 - DO NOT turn the alarm off. Just hit snooze. It's important to have an alarm to wake you from the fight or else you are looking at getting lost in it for at least 45min. It's okay if you need more time to work through the next steps but just keep hitting snooze. Set a time limit. And on the third snooze attempt when the alarm automatically disables... GET UP.
Step 2 - DO turn on some music (While you are already holding your phone to hit snooze). Preferrably music that is soft (upbeat music will probably only raise your heart rate and make you want to throw your phone across the room) and also music that speaks words of truth [Personally, I chose to turn on Christy Nockels album Be Held: Lullabies for the Beloved].
Step 3 - DO reach over and turn on the lamp beside your bed (Darkness makes things worse and light has this way of waking up hopefulness).
Step 4 - DO practice mindfulness. You turned on the light, you have some truth ringing through your ears and into your brain... it's time to function and fight. Welcome the emotions. There's a valid reason the nightmare was nightmarish. There's a reason you are frozen in fear. There's a reason you are feeling emotions such as grief, anger, and sorrow. IT IS HUMAN. Explore why they are there and when you finally get tired of attempting to figure it all out... move on to step 5.
Step 5 - DO give it to God. Sometimes you won't be able to utter words for a prayer (and that's okay) just meditate and focus your attention on imagining standing before Him and laying it down at His feet and Him taking it all while also reaching down and cupping your face in His gentle hand. This releases the pressure of finding all of the answers now, it lifts the burden of pain from being completely held on your shoulders, and it reminds your soul that it is not alone in the battle.
[Important Side Note: For those I know will read this and ask, "Why would step 5 be last?! Giving it to God should be #1!"
I get it. I know. It's important. Hence, the reason it's the end goal. But I'm also a full believer that when we are in the midst of battle... we can't really function until the armor is on and we can somewhat start to fend off all the arrows coming at us so rapidly that they hinder our thinking and functioning. So, just breathe. I know I will still get a message about this but at least my reply can be shortened by simply reminding the individual(s) to re-read this portion.]
And so, I stuck to my plan this morning. I felt the feelings but I also gave them to the Lord and got out of bed knowing I could handle the day and not be dragged down all day until the next time by head finally hits the pillow that night. I encourage and basically plead with you that if you too have your own form of bloody lip battles in the morning or other various times of the day... A) seek professional help and B) Make an attack plan. Let the lip and the wound heal. Both take time. But both are within your reach.