Anxiety. Overwhelming anxiety. That is how I woke up on the day that changed everything. I had gone to bed the night before with no major "worries" or stress and woke up the next day under a blanket of overwhelming darkness. I stumbled out of bed and started praying. Nothing. I ran some bath water because I love to soak and relax in the bathtub. Nothing. I felt so scared and afraid..of what?..I had no idea.
Nothing was seriously wrong in my life. We were happy in Texas. We were learning a lot at church. We had just celebrated Christmas. The family was healthy. I could not point to any specific reason for why I felt so anxious and afraid. I wasn't secretly sad or depressed. I had not been overly stressed. I was happy. But I could not shake this awful feeling. It was crippling. I called Bobby, and I asked him to pray with me. Nothing. I got off the phone and just sobbed. I read my Bible. Nothing. I begged for God to help me. I begged for Him to stop this. Silence. The silence was deafening. I wiped my tears and made the kiddos breakfast. I sat down on my couch and looked out my window...dreary and rainy. I started to call my friend, Lesli. I wanted to. I wanted someone to tell me I was going to be ok because I could not imagine living my life like this. I was not suicidal. I was in shock that I just woke up one day to this..and I kept asking myself..what is this and what can I do to help myself? But instead..I quietly cried. Alone and afraid..right where the enemy wanted me. This darkness and anxiety was relentless. From the time I woke up, it did not stop...for days. I called my hubby back and told him I needed him to come home. I felt so dumb, but I needed him to hold me. To tell me what to do and how to stop this. I have often wondered what he thought as he drove home to help me. (I have actually never asked him that). I wonder what he expected to see when I opened the door...
I was broken. This darkness around me *tried* to consume me. At times, it *felt* like it had. Bobby opened the door to find me broken. Drowning in darkness. Because Bobby is a good man and he loves unconditionally, he went to fight for me. He held me, he watched the kids while I tried to rest, he encouraged me to go to the dr since this was so "out of the blue". He made arrangements for the kiddos (with Lesli) while he drove me to the dr.
I was scared to go. Scared to try and desribe how I felt. Scared of what the dr would think. Scared that I was truly going crazy. What would people think if they knew I was so anxious that I didn't feel that I could even take myself to the dr? What would people think if I told them that I prayed, and God was SILENT? I felt so ashamed. Ashamed I couldn't "get it under control". Ashamed I even felt this way. Ashamed because I couldn't even ask for prayer from friends or family. Ashamed that I was even visiting my dr for "mental stuff". Ashamed because Christians never fight anxiety or depression. (That was only for people who were either doing something wrong or who just didn't believe in God enough). LIES. All lies. I was in bondage to lies, and I allowed the enemy to continue to condemn me and heap shame on me..afterall, look at what kind of shape I was in. Broken and a mess. "Good Christians" never have these kinds of problems. Right? I had never heard another person share that they had ever struggled with fear or anxiety (aside from the occasional "hard things" people would walk through). Surely, if I was not the only one walking through this..surely, I would have heard others share their struggles. NO. Silence.
The enemy loves silence. He loves for us to think that no one out there has ever had the same struggles that we are walking through. He loves for us to *feel* alone.
We dropped the kiddos off at Lesli's. All she knew was that I wasn't feeling well. She is a dear friend so I am sure she picked up that something was wrong. I held it together enough that she didn't ask specific questions. She was a friend who knew we needed our kiddos watched..and did. I remember leaving her house..it was still raining..my tears just blended in with the rain. I silently wondered if I was ever going to feel "normal" again.
No, the normal I knew would never come back. In the days, weeks, and months ahead, He gently took my broken pieces and put them back together. I would have a new normal. A new me. It would be better. It would be free, but I had a BATTLE to fight. I didn't feel like fighting. I could see the mountains ahead of me..but I was drowning in the valley...the valley of darkness and despair.
As I shared with the doctor how I felt, he was kind and patient. He listened as I sobbed. He encouraged me. He gave me a few different options of meds or I could wait and see how I felt tomorrow. The thought of tomorrow maybe feeling like today was enough to (literally) terrify me. I accepted the prescription for a lo dose anti-anxiety med. I cried and cried. I could not believe that *I* needed help. It was probably one of the lowest points in my life. I didn't even fight the shame that came with realizing I needed help from meds. I just let the enemy continue to heap lies onto me. "You are stupid. You are crazy. You are going to be unstable. You are not fit to be a mom. You will never be normal again. You will be on these meds for life. Bobby thinks you are crazy. You are crazy! You should trust God more. You should read your Bible more. You aren't loved. No one cares. You should pray more. You are being punished for all the "bad things" you have done in your life. People will not like you." On and on...I listened. I accepted his lies as TRUTH.
We left the doctor, dropped my prescription off, and picked up our kiddos. Nothing had changed. I still felt the exact same..but I was hopeful that tomorrow would be better...
Little did I know I had another battle to fight that day: insomnia.
***For some parts of my story, I will leave out names of people who helped me in my journey. However, I intentionally mentioned my sweet friend Lesli. Really, she deserves her own post,but I am going to publicly give her the praise and honor she deserves. If you know me, you know I am already crying writing this. Lesli is beautiful. She has a beauty that is inward and outward. She is kind, loving, and loyal. She is gentle. She is giving of her time and things she has. If you have the privilege of knowing Lesli like I do, you are greatly blessed. She is the friend that I always wanted. A friend who just accepted me for me. She didn't quote a bunch of verses at me(although she is very knowledgable about Scripture). She cried, she prayed. She sat with me in my brokenness. She listened, for hours. She gently pointed me to truth but never through shame or condemnation. She loves Jesus. It is obvious in her life. She loves ME! For that, I am so grateful. She was (and is) a bright light in my life. I was only beginning to learn, but God was going to continue to bring "bright lights" into my dark world. I will always be grateful that Lesli was a bright light in my life. I love her. She is a God-given treasure to me. ***
I hope that as I share my story; I can be a bright light in someone else's life.