For the last year, I’ve learned more and more about the intricacies of how God created us in fearful and wonderful ways. Our brain processes everything we experience subconsciously through our senses. What we see, what we touch, what we smell, what we hear, and what we taste create a wealth of brain data that must be processed. It takes these sensory memory fragments and ideally the brain interprets the experience and translates it into a memory with a story that helps us to understand what is happening to us. But, when trauma or pain presents itself in an experience, the brain has the ability to dissociate us subconsciously from the experience and even to store those memory fragments that are painful to protect us from the pain we may realize if we know the story that goes with it.
Dr. Jerry Mungadze has spent many years helping people understand the way the Right Brain processes this information and translates our experiences through perception into reality. The picture in this post represents what I have come to lovingly call my brain family. DISCLAIMER: Whether you think I am crazy or brave… It is my story and sharing it is a testimony to the glory of God and the way He has created us with an amazing system for our good and His glory and used a humble and wise man from Zimbabwe to help me understand and overcome what I will call life’s tragic experiences.
If I used the term Dissociative-Identity-Disorder (formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder) you might get pictures of Sally Field in the movie Sybill dancing around in your head. And, on some days during my prodigal years I felt like a scaled-down version of that model. Not that I had black-out periods or “manifestations” of alter personalities, but I had what felt like crazy thoughts, conversational thoughts, and at times found my faith warring with my flesh through this “brain family” that I’ve discovered.
In my brain family you will find Yellow. She is down front folding herself into my skirt. Yellow came along at the age of 12 years, but she has grown younger as time has passed. She is continually showing me new and different ways of understanding and relating to God. Yellow is my faith – she tells me:
“You can do it…”
“Just keep swimming…”
“I BELIEVE IN YOU.”
She loves to sit at the front of the class and is the eternal optimist and learner in me.
Next you will find Orange. Orange is a protective color. She came along when I was very little. I am not sure at what age, but I know that she has held all the worry and anxiety I have felt all these years. She worries… What do they think of me? What will happen to us? What if it doesn’t work out? What if they hurt me? What if we get in trouble?She worries about anything and everything. She could be called a “worry wart.” But, that is not a nice name for the part of me that tried to serve as an alarm system when bad outcomes seemed inevitable. In this picture, she is praying. Every time I look at Orange in this picture I think of Philippians 4:6-7. I see her praying and realize how she learned that through all the messy, difficult, scary stuff I have found my way through in life. From self-induced misery to out-and-out trauma she has found a place where she trusts God enough to pray and not worry anymore. 🙂
Purple is next to Jesus and Orange. He has kept order in my “house” for a long time. Jesus told him he is my big brother and very protective of me. However, Purple’s take charge attitude lends itself to “bossy-ness” and so he and I are learning self-control together. Jesus gave him a “Courage under fire” award. A bronze star with 2 Timothy 1:7 on it. God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love, power and self-discipline. Yes indeed. Purple helped me discover that at times “all the kids” have fought and they needed a referee. He also helped me remember a time in my life when I thought it would be easier to have been born a boy. I wished I had been a boy and Purple did, too. Purple is adjusting to surrender. Thought I sense it is not easy for either of us at this point.
Blue is a bit younger than Purple, but she is there to protect me and help me find calm in my life. She has spent her time keeping “all the pictures for me.” The pictures are those sensory memory fragments that have gotten stuck without the story that would give them meaning to me. Blue found herself in a bit of a fix recently when I decided to color my brain map and found that an odd color (Gray) had turned up where memories are processed into story. I didn’t really know what Gray’s job could be, but I knew that particular day that God told me to stop getting dressed for work and go color my brain. So, I did.
The next step after coloring the brain is to collage the pictures that go with it. I wish I could really explain all of this in great detail with precise clinical terminology, but I do not have enough of the understanding in that regard to do anything but say that the pictures my brain identified with as I looked through magazines clipping out various words and images left me feeling anxious and a little afraid.
I sat down a few days after creating the collage and began to “talk to” Blue. This means I dialogue with my brain and process the thoughts related to that color in my brain. As I did, Blue told me about a particularly difficult experience I had with a family member that I didn’t remember. I asked Jesus to show me any lies I had believed based on that experience and then came out of agreement with the lie and sought His truth to replace it.
Then Blue did something really odd, she told me about a picture that I HAD a story for… Meaning, I could remember what she shared with me. I tried and tried to process that moment as true, but every time I kept hearing, “No.”
I stopped the processing and asked Blue, “Why are you lying to me?”
Blue blared in my thoughts: “I. ONLY. DO. WHAT. I’M. TOLD.”
So I asked, “Who told you to lie to me?”
“Gray and Purple.”
STOP. I began to dialogue with Purple, and felt like I was arguing with a teenager would not change their mind. Then I started to talk to Gray who clearly indicated he would not help me find out what happened. I shut down and shut my journal. The task at hand might be more than I could handle on my own.
I took the brain map and my notes to a class at church where Dr. Mungadze taught on spiritual warfare. He specifically spoke about spiritual warfare related to the Anti-Christ spirit that John writes about in his epistles. He said that Gray shows up in the right brain as GRAY. GRAY. A Demonic Spirit. GRAY. And, Gray was controlling my memories?
I cleaned up the food and gathered my things after the class waiting for Dr. Mungadze so I could show him my brain map. I wanted to know if Gray would really tell my brain to lie to me. Satan is the father of lies after all.
After a few minutes of talking with my pastor about the brain map, she said I should ask him. He came over and nodded as I shared what I had experienced. Afterwards he said, “I think you need to come and see me.”
That I already knew.
That weekend, I decided to collage Gray. I pulled up black and white images on Google. Scanned them, copied them and printed them again and again I filtered image after image and found some really disturbing things out about Gray and myself. Still, I pressed through it. I wanted to get rid of Gray because clearly Gray did not belong in my brain family.
Blue and Purple helped me get rid of Gray. Blue, Purple and Jesus. 🙂 Through the course of that Sunday afternoon, I uncovered some fascinating things about the generational roots of my family that may have given Gray access to my life. And, over and over again memories from the age of five came up. I discovered that I had an ancestor who had served Queen Elizabeth I in the Golden Age of England. During this period, secret societies and free masonry began to become prominent in Europe. My family ancestors had a hall in Lancashire England that reported being seized during the Cromwell raids as England reformed from Catholicism to the Church of England.
As I searched internet records, I also found that there was a Masonic Temple in Yorkshire that also bore the origin of my family name. The curse of secret oaths taken in Masonic meetings and the degrees involved were an open door for the Anti-Christ spirit to run rampant in my life.
The Anti-Christ spirit had roots back to the Golden Age of England.
As I dealt with the moment in my life when I decided that I would “take care of myself” during painful moments by making up a different story than the one I was living. I had given it permission to wreak havoc on my life. DASH. IT. ALL.
But, Jesus, He helped me vanquish Gray, and his smarmy sarcasm that mocked everything including God. I felt so free and exhausted when I finally called upon Gray and only heard silent. He gave Blue and Purple assignments, Blue is to help me learn to be a Peacemaker and not a Peacekeeper. Purple is to help me learn self-control. I like that they are there with me.
I spent that afternoon feeling like I was recovering from surgery. I slept and felt the lifting of the emotional weight that was being lifted ease.
When I shared all this with Dr. Mungadze at my first appointment – I was excited, but I wanted to be sure I had been thorough. I think the answer to that question was yes. But, time will tell if there is any “residue.”
The rest of the colors, Pink and Green, Brown, Aqua and Red… They are all a part of this eclectic group of coping skills my brain developed at various times throughout my development in life. I learned from brain mapping that Aqua keeps family secrets. She is concerned about making sure things that would hurt the family stay hidden. OH. YES. Do I know that is a major MO in my life.
Brown hides things that would devestate me or be destructive.
Green is like my family historian. It keeps all the things related to my family of origin.
Pink is the little girl in me. She is very emotional and naive. She actually introduced me to a naivete that I have not ever known within myself. I really love her.
Red – she chimes in as the eldest of my crew of brain tenders. She represents things related to my sexuality. Depending on where she is and what else comes up with her she can be good or bad. For me, she represented my coming to terms with being a woman and being OKAY with it. But, Aqua was with her. Aqua hid the painful experiences I have witnessed or experienced with women which put me at odds with my sexuality as a woman. Red and Aqua literally are warring it out in my brain as I type these words into this blog post.
Does it sound messy? Well, it feels crazier and messier than it sounds to be honest. But, every moment I spend working through the intricate and varying dysfunction in my brain – the more and more whole and healthier I become. And, I feel quite confident that the STRONG MAN, Gray, has gone and when he left the lesser spirits went with him as I prayed.
Green and Pink had some unsettled feelings after Gray left. When I left Dr. Mungadze’s office last week my new assignment came with me. I collaged Pink and Green last Monday and will review the results as I move along. Right now these colors represent different ways my brain has compartmentalized my life, but even today… Some of the colors have chosen not to be separate any longer, but to join me in following Jesus – and that is where life is meant to be lived. I will write more of my journey along the way as it develops. I pray the Lord will grant light for the path and send forth His healing word every step of the way.
To learn more about this type of psychology visit www.soundmindseminar.com. Bethel Church offers a ministry called SHABAR which is also meant to help shattered souls become whole in the light of Christ. You may learn more about SHABAR by visiting http://iBethel.org.