Don’t trust your gut.
Okay, maybe that view is a little extreme, but hear me out. I was scraping what looked like one foot of snow off my car. The rumble started like a bowling ball thundering toward the pins at the bowling alley. Anxiety.
“This weather doesn’t look good.” *Scrape.
“If I drive too fast I’m going to slide off the freeway.” *Scrape.
“What if I die and it’s the last time I ever see Jake again?” *Scrape, scrape.
My gut was screaming at me like an overprotective mother.
“You’re going to be sorry! You’ll wish you’d have listened to me when you’re on your way to the hospital in an ambulance!” I saw an image of myself on the gurney mangled to forever live like Quasimoto.
“Quasimoto can’t play guitar and live his dreams so neither will you!” The giant snowflakes flew in a flurry around me as I shuffled in penguin fashion around my car, trying not to slip.
A new and equally terrifying thought crept into my racing mind.
“What if this is just a test? What if there is something important I will miss if I don’t go to my recovery group tonight?” The snow crunched under the shovel as I heaved the small pile behind my car.
My mind wrestled back and forth between the screams of my imaginary mother and my small voice of reason that felt helpless against her.
The car door slammed. I rolled down the window to kiss Jake goodbye fearing it would be our last. The snow turned to slush under my tires plowing down the road. I drove a slow 55mph through the flurry of snowflakes held captive by the haze of Salt Lake City. I was guided by the hundreds of brake lights shining bright through the mist. If I had looked how I felt, I would have been driving with my head ducked to one side with one eye open preparing for impact.
The drive itself wasn’t nearly what my mind made it out to be. My inner chatter steadily grew louder and louder as I drove.
“Wait?! Where’s my purse?? Oh shit! Now when the paramedics find me, they won’t even know who I am. They won’t know who to call if something happens to me. Jake will get the phone call much too late. I don’t want to live the rest of my life like a vegetable!” The window wipers slid clearing the snow every few seconds.
“I’m crazy,” I thought. “Who even thinks like this?!” My negative thoughts started to spin in a vortex of knives now being thrown in my direction.
The further south I headed, the clearer the weather became. I pulled into the parking lot, and clicked the park brake. Not a snowflake was falling at the church giving off a scene of serenity.
My mental exhaustion melted my resolve as I cried in my car on the phone with Jake recanting my irrational fear of driving that night. The overprotective mother that lives in my head left me feeling weakened from the battle.
Now, my feelings of unease were still there the entire evening.The smiling faces of friends were comforting but all I wanted to do was curl up under a rock in the fetal position. Ultimately, I’m so glad I went because if I hadn’t, I would have missed a once in a lifetime moment with a dear friend of mine. A moment that wouldn’t happen twice.
It was terrifying to head into the storm with my gut screaming at me. As a survivor of Complex PTSD I’ve learned that some days my gut can’t be trusted. Now deciphering between the two feels a lot like russian roulette. The trigger slips, I hear the loud boom, feel the searing pain, and wait for my impending doom. There was nothing there. Not one bullet was fired. It was all in my head.
Now, I certainly trust my gut at times but due to my experiences in life I must question it. Especially when the voices get loud. I’ve come to know these voices as ghosts from my past. The eerie and extreme versions of those I used to know. This is how I’ve come to learn the term.
Don't always trust your gut. Sometimes it's just the fear keeping you stuck in old patterns. How great it is to be free.
Much Love Fam