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.
“though the night is dark,
there is a coming Dawn,
the night is breaking..” -Steffany Frizell
“I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.” Isaiah 42:16
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
3 years ago I overdosed on a load of pills. It was my last attempt at committing suicide. It’s crazy because It didn’t work. LOL. I was inpatient at this hospital where my socks always got stolen and where people would wake up in the middle of the night screaming and yelling about how Obama was out to get them. There at the hospital, 2 hours away from where I live, I met my plug, the weed man, who just so happened to live 10 minutes from me.
When the dust settled, I found myself four years out, questioning who I am and what I want to be- where I wanna go and what I want to make for myself. Hope has never come easily for me. It’s not something that stirs inside of me. I wouldn’t call myself a dreamer. I don’t dream. I live realistically and aim for the best. If I hope anything I hope that my life doesn’t implode on me.
I’m learning to navigate my emotions like a ship in the storm. A lot of people would say don’t let your emotions effect you. That’s been my problem all along. I haven’t let my emotions affect me so much so that I can’t even figure out where they begin. But I’m figuring it’s worth a shot.
Four years ago, September 2012, was the first time I tried to commit suicide. I spent a few weeks in the hospital, only two leave for a day and come back. When I walked outside it was a crisp October day. Hurricane Irene was coming through. I hadn’t been outside into freedom for weeks. As my friend Ricky picked me up in his fancy camaro to take me home, I almost fell apart. Being outside was amazing for me. I saw the clouds and I felt the cool fresh air. And though it took some time for me to grasp, I found that the October Air brought me some much needed clarity. So here’s to October. And here’s to hope.
When it’s time to write, I sit before my computer screen for quite sometime. I twiddle my fingers nervously, trying to decide if I am truly brave enough to say what I am thinking. Fifty million topics flutter across the chalk board of ideas in my mind- but I quickly erase them all, too afraid to write what I’m thinking because it makes me vulnerable.
I have been a blogger for 5 years, and it’s always nerve wrecking as you realize that you are a story teller- of your own story. My story is neither graceful nor pretty. It’s full of tragic mistakes that brand my heart as I seek a God to mend and restore. Lots of tears and lots of process, but it’s mine.
I used to blog with the hopes of impressing my hundreds of followers with my love for God. LOL. That is so gross. Now I blog, knowing I am so fragile and breakable. That my writing is for my own sake, to help make sense of my story. I’m writing for my health, because talking just won’t do.
My name- Ariel- means lioness of God. But I’ve been nothing but fearful. But I am learning the importance of my voice and my sound. I am learning how to be free.
So when it’s time to sit down and write, more than any other time during the day- i feel brave.
Anxiety and Depression.
Two almost catch phrase sorts of words used in society. Nearly everyone I know has said to have one or both of those. On social media or in daily conversation, someone is talking about the fact that people just need to understand that they have these. It makes it hard to have real conversations with people about these very real things, because most of these people are self diagnosing.
When I was young, I was diagnosed with MDD, PTSD, and an Anxiety Disorder. Now, though I don’t let those things define me, I’ve found it’s really hard to have real conversations with people about this. Because everyone has it. The words almost don’t mean anything to anyone anymore. People don’t understand what they mean. They have become trivial and meaningless.
I don’t talk about my difficulty with anxiety and mdd. It’s hard enough finding the words to explain it, let alone getting past the stigma and the overuse of the diagnoses. But it’s become harder with a self diagnosing society.
Jesus is and always will be a healer. And I believe He will always come through and set captives free of all and any mood and emotional disorders. But to be open and honest, it would be helpful if people didn’t talk about it so lightly, like it doesn’t mean anything, so people who truly do struggle with it could really get real help and healing.