Chemical Dependence (Part III):
Milly’s Realm has shadow worlds. I feel all our Realms have shadowy spaces. So far on my quest I have identified two such worlds in my Realm. I’ve described my scary forest (fear) but, I go to another shadow world more often. Milly’s castle walls hold a secret place. It is the dungeon.
My dungeon is dark and oddly soothing. It pulls me away from light and life. Like all dungeons I could die there and not be found for a long time. Mostly I feel trapped and separated by the walls and darkness keeping me there. Once in a while my dungeon calls to me. Come play in the dark. Let the coolness seep into your being washing away the pain. Explore the nooks and passageways. You will find nothing but you keep trying…Hide here make them look for you. The dungeon is not a place meant for you to stay very for long. But I can get trapped there at times.
How does this even relate to my theme? Well chemical dependence has led me to my dungeon more than once. Maybe it was withdrawal like with aspirin or caffeine. Or hiding my sugar habit. At times, the dungeon itself has led me to chemical dependence. Painkillers, caffeine, carb-loading, and sleep aids all used to get through the day while buried in my own personal prison.
Mostly my shadow world is driven by chronic physical pain. When the pain is out of control, I am forced into the cold stone walls with no visible way to the outside world. I have to close myself off to settle the inflammation in my system and bring equilibrium to my bio-shell. The interesting thing about the shadow world is it can be hidden.
Most of the time, I am successful at hiding my shadow world. The shadows remain at the edges of my consciousness but I will not show this world if I can help it. How do I do it? Sometimes I bury myself in a project. If I am working intensely most people with leave me to my work. The pain etched on my face is interpreted as concentration. I laugh and make bad jokes. Humor is a virtue and a vice. The virtue is laughter heals. The vice is laughter hides. Laughter brightly shoves the shadows far back into the corners, or pulls me out of the shadows then no one is the wiser.
My family and friends try to ignore the shadows. Maybe because I do too. I’ve gotten so good at hiding the shadow world, some family, friends, doctors, and acquaintances do not even believe I live in pain. They know…but don’t want to think about it unless it can be twisted into tantalizing tidbits of gossip.
Here’s a twist I haven’t really figured out yet. I was talking with my youngest tonight about writing this blog. He understood the concept of shadow world much better than I imagined. He did not understand my struggle with explaining it. He was confused as to why others would not understand. I realized he has grown-up with shadow world. He understands at a base level because, he was only five or six when the pain became chronic for me. To him shadow worlds are normal. Some days are in the light and some are in the shadows.
We actually had a good chuckle about it because he can best his friends in online role-playing games. He easily translates emotional/mental dungeons into virtual strategic dungeons. Well at least shadow worlds are good for something! 🙂
What has helped bring me out of shadow world? Returning to my spiritual mentors, the Holy Trinity. The Trinity has shown me where the exits are. With scriptures, devotionals and prayers, I have found the rooms with windows and light in my castle. These rooms I can go to and heal. These are sanctuaries not dungeons. What I learned in this series is my chemical dependence on anything will drive me to the shadow world. Chemical dependence always extracts a price. Physical or emotional, a debt must be paid for the brief release. My mentors are guiding me towards a life were my debt has already been paid.
My Good Shepherd leads me outside into the world. He protects and guides me as I venture timidly out my falsely protective shadow worlds. Whether I step out mentally or physically, Milly’s Realm is a beautiful place to explore. The constraints of my physical dungeon (pain) are slowly falling away. I am healing. Some days I must rest and some days I must run through that meadow with joy.
Here is my prayer for you. May all your shadow worlds be fleeting…May your Realm be filled with joy!