when I was in fourth grade, my mom and dad had a parent teacher conference with one of of my teachers from school. It wasn’t anything out of the norm as all teachers held conferences with parents at least once a year. But for me it was different. I was deeply convinced that my teacher didn’t like me as a student so she would say all these bad things about me to my parents. Anxiety overtook me and I made myself ridiculously sick for two weeks. That is my life.
This past year has been full of downs for me. Not because I am a debbie downer, but because it seemed like nothing was working out. I felt squished and worn down by the trials of my life. MDD has overshadowed most of my year, since the end of June. And as I lost traction I found every fear, every worry, and every anxious thought overcoming me like a riptide hellbent on dragging me under. I have been diagnosed with an Anxiety Disorder, PTSD and MDD. And since I left the hospital all three, until this year, sat on the back burner, resting on a low heat, controlled and maintained in a somewhat healthy way. Until this year. Since the end of June I have felt like I couldn’t breathe, anxiety stripping me down to the bone, overshadowing me and melting me to the ground. I managed it until September, when even in my own job I was overtaken with anxious busy thoughts of everything that has happened to me. The second to last week of September I became very ill, and having been battling illness and a weak immune system since.
I never took the time to realize how my own anxiety was killing me, goading me towards death and despair. My anxiety, paired with MDD and PTSD has been slaughtering me since June. And tonight as I sat in my bed, I became painfully aware of that anxiety as I felt a weight pressing down on my chest, daring me try to fight it. Anxiety was my new years kiss. A kiss hello and a kiss goodbye, as I confronted the very thing that has tried to kill me for the very first time, and kissed it goodbye, sending it off to a far away place. I don’t have my anxiety under control. I’m not even sure what it looks like to manage it let alone conqueor it. But I do think I am one step closer to slaying it to death, simply because I acknowledged it.
Christmas time is the time of year where everyone goes about, so busy with their shopping and their things and their events. So busy with being busy. Everyone has a dab of happiness that has motivated that ‘pep in their step’. Everyone is looking forward to spending time with their families and then ringing in the new year. But really, not everyone feels that way. And everyone would include me.
This year has been the most challenging for me. Moving out, switching jobs often, trying to find some consistency. I’ve been sick since September, loosing my voice twice and fracturing my foot. This has been the hardest year since I got out of the hospital. Thoughts that I haven’t had in such a long time coming back to me for years. There’s such a brokenness and depravity that I have felt. A hopelessness that I am unable to put words to. Running to and fro looking for ways to sate my hungry, broken heart. The pull of the need of people around me. Lack in finances in every way possible. Disappointment.
I have hated this year with every fiber of my being. So when the time of ‘merry and bright’ comes around I honestly feel dark and gloomy. Because it’s been a dark and gloomy year. I don’t know how to let people in on my darkness. I don’t know how to ask for help, let alone receive it. I know it sounds like I’m complaining but it’s been a year of silence, of pain unspoken. Asking the Lord for a reprieve because I am physically incapable of moving forward, of setting any dreams or goals. The future is hazy and blurry and I cannot see. I’m more aware of my mistakes and my flaws and my shortcoming than anything else. Maybe I’ve taken on more than I can realistically handle. Maybe I’ve bitten off more than I can chew or maybe I just went the wrong way. As a result i timidly await the Lords punishment for all of my mistakes and all of my flaws, even though I know that’s not His heart but that’s my experience.
This is the time of year where people just want to be held. Where they want to be affirmed and loved. They want to be around people who love them and encourage and appreciate them. As I sit in an empty, I attempt to call my spirit a little bit higher, out of the slimy dark pit I’ve been in, out of the places of brokenness and bareness that I have been living in. Not because it’s Christmas, but because I’m desperate to breathe again, to see and sing again. To smell the air, and allow the breeze to kiss my skin. Because 2016 has been so long and so relentless that I don’t think I can go any lower.
Psalm 34:18 ADONAI is near those with broken hearts; he saves those whose spirit is crushed.
preparing for my brothers wedding this week, my head has been a flurry of pinks and greens and decorations and flowers. yesterday on my drive home, I was talking to Jesus about the things I’ve done and thought these past few months. Things that bring me much shame and that are hard to talk about. I was listening to a worship set when I had a picture of me. I was a little girl wearing a white dress. And I was beautiful.
I was walking around with a bouquet of flowers in my hand and I would stop by a man, offering him my flowers. He eagerly accepted them and then I would move on to the next and the next. The men continued to take my flowers and I continues to offer them. But from person to person my flowers began to die in my hands. It was a bouquet of dead flowers. And with each new person I offered them to, I only became more and more sad, but yet I continued to offer my flowers away. When I was left with only one dead flower I stopped offering them away, because I felt like I had nothing left.
I continued to walk until I encountered God. Not Jesus or Holy Spirit but God. He looked upon me with such love, and pain for my pain. I looked up at Him and wept, almost like in those animated shows, where the eyes are so full of tears they look like large buckets of water. I had buckets and buckets of water falling from my eyes. I shook my head back and forth as tears fell, apologizing, saying I didn’t know, I didn’t realize what I had done until I had nothing left. He took hold of me any my one dead flower scooping me into His embrace, weeping with me. He still wanted my flower, even though it had died. He knew it’s value even in death.
I don’t have the wherewithal to stop doing the very thing that is PROMISING to kill me. I am dying in the middle of a battlefield because instead of accepting victory I keep running behind enemy lines. I keep getting stabbed. I am dying. And I don’t know where to go from here. The very thing I hate it consuming me because I don’t hate it enough to run for the hills.
Jesus help me run for the hills. Or just run to you.
Searching for Lucy, the kids dog, I stepped out onto the front steps. A sprawling entry way, covered in bricks and mums. The November mist kissed my skin and I looked up at the sky, the grey and black billowing clouds comforting in it’s consistency. I let out a whistle calling Lucy as I looked around me, knowing she hates the rain. The large, empty houses covered with fallen leaves left a peaceful yet dreary lump in my throat. I was overcome with emotion, words left unsaid, bad decisions finally catching up to me. Yet none of those things were the blow that my heart ached for. None of those things answered the pain that I felt.
Lucy ran up to me, but just out of reach. She hated being caught, she liked to be free and move on her own. I sighed, as she looked at me, and I looked back up at the sky. Every memory of the past few months coursing through my mind. Every shameful thought and action shrouded by the rain, hidden in the pouring rain. Looking down at Lucy’s baby blues, I found she was resolved and would only come in from the rain by her own free will.
I turned, and closed the door. And as soon as I turned the lock, Lucy came scratching at the door. Opening the door she came bounding in and I laughed a little at how stubborn she was, and was reminded a little of myself.
For the past few months I’ve been feeling like I’ve been drowning. This year has come so hard and so unclear for me, and the past few months I’ve been battling self harm and depression.
And then I opened my mouth and sang. Singing always transforms something in me. It makes my night into day, depression into hope, emptiness to overflowing. That’s what happens when I open my mouth. I get to move past all the things that scare me and feel like they’re killing me and actually see the light at the the end of the tunnel.
Last night while sitting on the couch I tried to keep my mouth shut, for many reasons, feeling guilty about my action these past few months, and the fact that I haven’t tried to sing at all. But I couldn’t help myself and I opened my mouth and words began falling out. And suddenly I felt a pair of strong hands grasp my waist and lift me up and I was taken into a vision. I knew Jesus had picked me up from the ground and I could see above all of my situations and problems. He lifted me higher and even though I thought I had set up camp at the bottom of the mountain, having given up and quit, he showed me that I hadn’t and that even through the painful process I had continued to climb up the mountain. He showed me the places that I had already conquered. Then he gave me this verse..
He makes my feet like hinds’ feet, And sets me upon my high places. Psalm 18:33
This week I am exhausted. Not physically but mentally. I’ve been moving the chess pieces around in my life, hoping everything will turn out for the best when it’s not even something I can control. I like for everything to be planned out, consistent and not last minute. My week has been the exact opposite. Finances have run out. Emotionally riding a roller coaster and trying to plan a wedding.
Then my Aunt swoops in, saving the day. And the pressure is off just for a little while.
I’m used to doing, or at least trying to do everything by myself. I’m independent because I’ve seen peoples’ unstable reactions to my life events. Usually they want to hear, but then they freak out when you tell them what has happened. They back off, or they flip out in anger, or they give you examples of all the things they would do, “if” then back away if you don’t go with their suggestions. It scary, because these situations are so delicate for you. It’s your real life, but to them they can come and go as they please, like a summer breeze.
Independence and my own personal strength, of how much pain and heartache I can take have been my victory flag. I love testing my emotional strength. But not right now. I just want to be scooped up, and understood, nutured, and cared for. I’m not sure how to let that happen without letting someone in to do so.
My Aunt told me today that I have to make the decision to let God come in and save the day, to rescue me. I know that- in a far out distant, hands off sort of way. But I’ve never been brave enough to let it actually happen. Because strong people don’t need and or want rescuing. But I’ve just about had enough with pretending to be strong.