All used up



I recently learned the difference between being all used up because of a wounding or trauma versus being all used up to get stronger.

This is powerful to me – a shift in my soul and belief system.

For as long as I can remember I’ve always been “so tired” all the time. Yet, it’s not that I was very active. But, that the day to day life was just enough extra stress on top of the emotional burdens I was already carrying, that I often felt plain used up. Had nothing left. So, I went through life just kind of coping, comforting myself, feeling less than because I didn’t have the desire to do more than just get by. Couldn’t even picture doing more.

I now know that was a reflection of the wounding left when I was abused. It was my first encounter with having to meet a demand to give all I had, ready or not. That left me feeling all used up.

The way your soul is injured and how that injury can linger, making you sicker because you don’t know how to help it heal. Once I could SEE the wound, and really start letting the air in, I at first felt worse to be honest. Like when you rip a band aid off – how painful it is in that moment.

But, then I started to feel better – lighter. That was the best surprise, that I could feel so emotionally light. I wasn’t carrying so much anymore – and because of it, I had more to give.

This truth was brought home one morning when I was jogging with a women’s running group I joined. Amazing, dedicated women with such a warmth in the group – no woman left behind. You are not pressured to be where they are, but to do what you can do – and push a little harder each time.

But, with someone always next to you.

One morning I was running with an especially strong runner, who I affectionately call Coach. It was about 2 months into my time with the group. She was encouraging me to keep jogging, not walk, a little further.

“Come on, Melissa, you can do this. You have more in you to give,” Coach said.

“No, I don’t…” I pushed out trying to breathe, feeling panic trying to set in for some reason. That same familiar panic anytime I was pushed to the brink of something in me.

“What are you afraid of?” she wisely asked.

“I don’t want to be all used up!” I said in near tears, that same ache in my wound crying out.

She stopped and looked at me. In a sensitive tone, she let me know that in working out this way, when you give all you have, you will not be all used up – this is where you get stronger.

I didn’t believe her at first, but I wanted to. Because all I’d known was that heart-on-the-floor-ragged response to life’s demands. And, weariness setting in. Nothing filling me back up after my essence was taken. Just being empty & more tired, and sad. I never felt stronger.

But, I really thought about what she said. For about a month.

During that time, I had a conversation with a gentleman who is a veteran. I call him Superman. Because he bears a striking resemblance. He’s an ultra runner – running 60+ miles a week. Has 3 fat dogs, which I find so ironic for someone so fit. And, a wife he lovingly describes as his soul mate.

He is open about discussing PTSD with me. I asked what he did/does to help when he’s triggered. Because I seem helpless to the emotions when they occurs. I pray, I cry, I journal, I do art, I read the Word…but, sometimes it’s all not enough.

He looked at me thoughtfully, and said that running is what helps him. Why?

He said you have to out fatigue those emotions when they come in a trigger wave. They threaten to take you back down, and leave you all used up. But, when you work them out physically, you are actually overcoming them & restoring yourself.

GOLD. This made sense to me – instead of letting the emotions wear me out, it was a very empowering notion to think I could in turn wear them out!

So, after thinking about what they both said, I had a situation arise that brought full on triggers deep within me. I decided NOW was the time to put their encouragement to the test. Because I could tell I was slipping back into that place.

So, last Wednesday, with a different woman by my side, as equally supportive as Coach, I  hit the pavement mentally prepared to NOT STOP. And, it was glorious! I just kept going…and going.

My body, though exhausted, seemed to FEED my soul instead of drain it. Strength swelled within me!

So, in my quiet life, I am surrounded by these amazing people. Who speak truth to me in those moments that I believe only God could orchestrate.

And, now that I know better – I do better. (Thank you, Maya Angelou, for that)



Girl w/Phoenix Ring: photo credit: <a href=””>OwlLens</a&gt; via <a href=””>photopin</a&gt; <a href=””>cc</a&gt;

Man free: photo credit: <a href=””>danorbit.</a&gt; via <a href=””>photopin</a&gt; <a href=””>cc</a&gt;


  1. You are my gift and inspiration. Maybe I don’t always post to your writings, but I read them all.
    I have and will always believe in you, perhaps I should say this out loud more often. I love you Melissa, you have made a long journey. Or your true journey is just beginning. Watching you deal with the past and move forward has been a relief. As all fathers we want our children to be happy, we want to ease their pain and struggles. But, we cannot always do that.
    So we to, can suffer silently and pray that our children can find a way. We want to fix everything, but we can’t.
    I have watched you grow so much this past year and I am so very proud of you.



      1. I know, it seems that we try to forget our regrets, and I do but the ones that are the most difficult are the ones I made with you girls. I was a young parent and a bit selfish, I never thought I succeeded as a Father, but that you all succeeded in spite of me. My love for you all has alway been strong. I just made a lot of mistakes. I don’t always dwell on them, cause I know you all love me, and have given me more than I can express.

  2. YOU are amazing, strong, beautiful, and a blessing to everyone you meet. Your laugh alone brings me joy every time I hear it. The first time I heard you laugh I knew I wanted to be your friend. Keep flying down those hills and that will give you the strength you need to climb the next big hill with a smile on your face and a giggle in your wake.


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