As a mother, I unravel daily: I find a lego in my roses, the boys play superman with the last roll of paper towels, or the whines infest my entire crew of children. You know the feeling: the increasing, boiling urge inside you to snap.
Sometimes, though, it is deeper.
Anxiety, especially social anxiety, has always silently dictated my thoughts and actions. But I learned how to manipulate my life around it. Honestly, I never considered it a heart or faith issue. I never even contemplated the existence of an intense internal battle. And I didn’t recognize the depression that hid its face among the limitations of my anxiety.
And then, about five years ago, I started the battle for my life. Literally.
I was in a constant state of stress. The anxiety wore me out. And brought me down. But it was not necessarily visible or noticeable to anyone else. And so, I suffered alone.
But after my fourth child was born, I suffered a severe postpartum depression. And the anxiety quickly plummeted into full blown panic attacks, a psychotic muscle spasm. high blood pressure, and an instinct to isolate from others.
I had finally unraveled. Big time. I could hide it no longer.
And I prayed for God to transform my heart. I searched His word. I sang His praises. I surrounded myself with God’s truth to drown out Satan’s lies. God had brought me to this low so that my eyes would look up to him.
And I started medication and counseling.
But, over time, I started to wonder if the medication was helping……… Even on medication, I would fantasize about killing myself. I became convinced that my erratic moods were due to the antidepressants I was taking. And so, I weaned off of the antidepressants and became very anti – medication.
It was about this time, that I started Celebrate Recovery. Such a weight was lifted when I realized that other people had some of the same struggles. I learned what it meant to be transparent and I finally was starting to learn what it felt like to feel loved and accepted. But even with the many transformations, I still struggled to keep out of the muck of depression.
And then it happened. I woke up one morning at the start of another major depressive episode. And anxiety so high that my body felt like it was on fire from the inside out. I was looking for an escape….. And I soon found myself with a stash of pain pills. Tempted to end my pain. But, all I needed at that point was a reason to live. I needed to know that I mattered…. and then my phone beeped. Not just once. But several times…. encouragement from someone I barely knew. It was all I needed at that moment. But I knew I had gotten a little too close.
Eventually, I escaped that depressive episode. But it wasn’t for long. My mood was so dramatic from day to day and from week to week. It became obvious that what I was currently doing was not working. My Celebrate Recovery sponsor encouraged me to get a psychiatrist to get back onto medication, but more specifically, the right combination of medications and switch to a different counselor. Unfortunately, I was already very deep into that depressive episode. And I had a lot of unusual stressors, including the death of my Dad. And by the time that I had my first appointments, I already had a suicide plan and had begun cutting so that I would be able to slash my wrist.
Under the care of my husband, my counselor, and my sponsor, I ended up in a couple of psychiatric hospitals for a total of about 3 weeks over the course of three months. As humiliating and humbling as that was, I needed it. I was afraid of myself. I was both impulsive and compulsive. I needed a safety zone where I could get medication into my system quickly, and also, develop a plan to take back control of my life.
I am still teetering on the brink of that dark pit. Sometimes I start to slip, but God has been faithful, and put people in my life to help hold me up in times that I just can’t do it alone. They are truly Jesus’ hands and feet.
And my want to has changed. I used to want to escape all the pain I feel inside. But I am learning to lean into those hard emotions and let God guide me through. Then, I don’t need escape. I want to chase after God’s will. And experience the good He has in store for me.