What is it about that word along with depression that make people shut down. It’s as if admitting anxiety or depression somehow makes you weak. I have fought too long and too hard against this all consuming beast to stoop to the idea of me being weak because of it.
It is funny when I tell someone I suffer from anxiety, I usually get one of two reactions. They are either like ” oh me too” or you get the person who has never stepped in the ring with either of these life sucking forces and they just look at you like you are weak and need to get a grip. Or I guess there are three really, my all time favorite is when well meaning people tell me I need to just “give my worry to God, read more scripture, pray more, or don’t let the enemy do this to me.” Clearly, I am learning to give those people a lot of grace because they have no idea what they are talking about.
Anxiety isn’t worry. I know what worry is. Worry is every six months taking our daughter in for the MRI to see if she now has any cancerous tumors. Worry is wondering if my family is safe while they travel. Worry is NOT anxiety. Anxiety is a weight that you can not get rid of. It comes on out of no where for me and sends my mind into a tailspin of frantic. When asked what it is that is causing me the anxiety I can not pinpoint one thing, it is like a wave that comes over me. The breaking point is always when it gets so far past my ability to come back down and a panic attack ensues. That is the worst.
It was at 36 years old that my best friend who had a PHD in Psychology finally convinced me that I had a chemical missing in my brain. Although she convinced me that that is what it was and that I wasn’t loosing my mind, my pride would still not let me ask for help. I often look back at myself then and want to shake myself and say ” you were being offered a life line, why wouldn’t you take it” . At 42 it all finally came to a head, I finally broke, I finally realized I could not do this on my own, and it surely wasn’t becasue I was weak that I needed help. Only those who have fought hard and tried everything realize eventually that weakness is never a bi product of asking for help. Strength is what it takes to finally admit you need help.
For 4 years now I have been on medicines to help regulate the chemical that was missing in my brain. It has been the best 4 years. It has been like that Claritan commercial where they take the allergy pill and the layer comes off and the picture is no longer fuzzy. That’s exactly how I feel. I am so sad that I didn’t get help sooner, that my pride and fear of not being a good enough christian who didn’t pray enough or rely on God enough to fix her, stopped me.
I read a book by Hannah Brencher called Come Matter Here. I HIGHLY recommend it if you suffer from anxiety or depression. In it she has a lenghty paragraph on how her husband and therpist explained medicines and miracles to her. I’m including it with the hopes that it will speak to you as it did to me and that you will read this book if you need reassurance like i did …
“People say all the time that God doesn’t do the same miracles now that he used to do in the Bible,” he tells me one night. “But people aren’t looking close enough. People are discounting what a miracle looks and sounds like. I think it’s a modern-day miracle that doctors can create medication that balances the chemicals in the brain.”
“He tells me I’m witnessing a miracle firsthand, if only I open my hands and receive it. It is a miracle that I can be prescribed something that lifts the fog of depression and allows me to see God doggedly and serve him persistently. It is my own modern miracle to feel the depth of my relationships, take in the love of my fiance and renew my mind without a million detour signs running in my brain”
“My doctor tells me that one-third of people go on medication, come off it and never have to go back on it again. Another third go on medication, come off it, and have to go back on when the symptoms return. The final third are on it for their entire lives, and Thats OKAY too, Ive never had a doctor tell me ” that’s okay too” with regard to mental health and medication. Words like “that okay too” mean everything to me. Im okay too. That’s all I needed to hear”
“When you talk about your limp, something cool usually happens. People get more honest. They open up about their own hard stuff. We learn to rally with one another and not be defined by our weaknesses. Our weaknesses become a bridge instead of a roadblock. We become little light holders on that bridge, helping other people find their way out of the dark. But light is only powerful because it has known the dark before” . –Hannah Brencher