September 13, 2010

The End of My Story (& The Beginning)

I began sharing my experience with anxiety and depression last week. (Part 1: Anxiety and Part 2: Depression) With the onset of Fall, all the memories and emotions from that time last year have been trickling back into my thoughts. I hoped it would be therapeutic for me to write it all down.

I also suspected, and boy was I right, that others might be able to relate to my story. Thanks to everyone for the comments. No one is alone in this stuff. It is common and common to overcome. That should help provide hope for us all.

More than anything, though, I wanted to be able realize that I am not in that place anymore. The writing has helped. And what has been amazing is that my Bible study this week could not have been any more tailored to what I am trying to process if I had penned it myself. Hello? Omniscient God, thank you very much.

It is just so crazy how God is creating a tapestry within each of our lives. Do you realize that?! I hope so. That He would care so much about little old me to converge my thoughts, my activities, my studies and my circumstances for my benefit and for His purpose simultaneously--it's just beyond me. And I am so thankful for that mystery. Many times when I am baffled by God, whether in good times or bad, I try to remind myself that I am glad I serve a God that is beyond me. If I could understand Him completely...well, we would all be in trouble! :)

I just want to complete my story by telling you that it does have a happy ending. I am thankful that for whatever reason I understood the seriousness of my condition at the time and took action immediately. Depression is not something to mess around with. I have heard of too many horrible incidences that were the result of untreated or underestimated depression. I was in a clear enough state of mind to know that with my situation, it was time to act.

Even at my lowest point, somehow the Lord helped me to address the problems at hand. There were several. First of all, my excessive bouts of anxiety had led to an imbalance of the chemicals in my brain. This is a medical condition, as explained to me by my doctor. It was an imbalance that needed to be medically restored.

I realize there are some who would say that relying on a medication for such things indicates a weakness on my part and perhaps even a lack of faith. I was probably one of those people at some point in my life. My question is, what would you do if you began to have seizures because of a hormonal imbalance? What if you found out you had high blood pressure and without immediate action to regulate it, you would be at great risk of having a stroke? Would you pray for God's healing? Sure. Would you also take advantage of modern medical advances that He has provided? I hope so.

Had I chosen to rely on God and His Word more in the early stages of my anxiety, perhaps this whole thing could have been avoided. Perhaps it would have never led to the messed up brain stuff. Had I been taking proper care of my body, perhaps my health would have never caused my anxiety. Perhaps. I certainly do not ignore the role my spiritual negligence played in digging this pit. Nor do I ignore the role a lack of care for my physical body played. But in order to get to a point where I could make necessary changes, I had to treat the immediate issue, and for me that was with medication.

I was put on an anti-depressant for several months. I have been off that prescription for a while now and I believe that it did the job of restoring the chemical balance in my brain. I feel like normal (my normal). Now I will continue to do my part to cast my anxiety on Him and trust that He will guard my soul from the despair I felt nearly one year ago.

Recognizing the problem was huge. Crying out to God was even bigger. I mentioned in an earlier post that during this time I made a habit out of getting up early in the mornings, locking myself in the bathroom and reading The Bible. In my FP4H Study today (I'm not kidding how crazy this study is going along with my blog posts!! Insane) the author tells us that in times of depression we must "force feed" our souls the Word of God. It made me think of times when my precious newborn babies wanted to sleep right through feedings, but I knew that I had to make them eat. I had to do whatever it took to get that milk down. Force feeding The Word was really the key to survival for me. Crying out to Him even when I felt like He could not hear was my lifeline. I knew that truly I was the one far away, not Him.

The most important thing is that this whole experience led me to give Christ total control of my life, probably for the first time in my life. I would love to take credit for that, but I can't . The reason I gave Him control was because I had exhausted all my other options. Why is it that we always do that!? Save the best for last?

It also led me to make the decision to take care of this body I've been given. I have never felt more free or more alive. I have never had more joy or more pep in my step. I still do experience anxiety but I have learned ways to deal with it and I am more aware of what is happening now. The fear is in the distant background rather than the forefront. I am also much more confident in the healthier (inside and out) body that I have.

I just want to shout from the roof tops HOW GREAT IS OUR GOD! But since people might worry if I was on a rooftop, I choose to blog :) There really aren't words to say how grateful I am for what happened to me. If you had told me to praise God for the experience when I was sitting on the waxy paper in the doctor's office, while my throat was swelling shut--I might have spit in your face.

But that's why I'm writing this down. Because when the next trial comes along, and I know it will come, I am going to be able to remember in great detail how good my God has been to me. I am going to remember His grace, His mercy, and His deliverance.

I am going to be reminded that if I choose to accept all the good in life, then I am going to need to accept the bad also.

Because it all comes from my Shepherd. And every single bit of it is for the sole purpose of bringing me to HIM.


Kari said...

I just started following your blog and have to say, I believe God puts people on our lives at exact moments for a reason. I just happened upon your blog (don't even know how) and had just started my own. I found myself in my bathroom in tears feeling broken and despair (2 days ago). At that moment I decided to sit and be still. Really try and listen to what God was saying to me. That is when I started researching weight loss and here I am. I feel encouragement and know that through HIM all things are possible.

{Absolutely, Positively} Josie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
{Absolutely, Positively} Josie said...

i can just picture you in the bathroom, hungry for the Word.
Jesus shines brightly through your blog, and it is a blessing in my life, dear!

i praise God for your health!

The Best Me said...

I feel the same way as Kari. I have been following your blog for about the last three months and I know that God led me to this blog because I needed to read it. The sharing of your life in this way impacts so many people that you probably have no idea are out there. Thank you for the courage and strength that you share in every post.

Jen said...

Thanks for your honesty--I really can relate! I have received so much encouragement from your words--thanks!

Mom to the Fourth Power said...

I just want to say a big AMEN to everything you said.

I too, feel just as you do and I know now where to turn to for support, peace, answers, etc. When I made Christ my best friend, then every other friend is just a bonus. And your so right about trials coming... it's like there's a huge trial, then a resting period, then a huge trial... and sometimes several huge trials... then a resting period. And I know all these trials are for my benefit, and to teach me to reach out to God and to rely on him. My favorite scripture is Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."

Thank you for sharing your story. It was amazing and inspiring to read. :)


Charbelle said...

Keelie, thank you so much for sharing! I'm always inspired and blessed when I visit. My devotion this morning reminded us that God didn't promise the journey would be easy but He promises to always be there with us. He wants to grow us into the best versions of ourselves. I just can't say enough how thankful I am to have found your blog!!

Trisha said...

Thank you for reminding me that I am not alone. Not only do I have my bloggy friends but I need to remember to turn to God when all else is lost and when all is good. Because of your faith and inspiration I have an award waiting for you on my blog.

Stacey at Living by Faith said...

Yes, HOW GREAT IS OUR GOD!!! I know I have said it before, but I will say it again... You are awesome! Your courage to be real and authentic helps so many! Way to use your 'rooftop' to share His greatness.

totallytheturtle said...

You are so right that God meets us right where we are!! Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. God spoke through you this week. And every day. Thank you!!

Can do mom said...

How wonderful that God is using you to minister to others who may be experiencing the same sort of issues in their lives. I love how there is no wasted pain or suffering (no matter how much we may resent going through it at the time) in God's kingdom.

I'm so thankful that you are in a better place now. You were very smart in dealing with your depression early on. I know others who have not had the courage or strength to face it and are still in the pit. It's so sad.

Your words have helped many here. To God be the glory!

99ToGo said...

From your rooftop to mine, how truly great is our God!!! What an amazing thing He has done with you this year, and how wonderful is it, that you'll give Him the glory for it all.

maranda said...

I enjoy reading your blog. Check my blog I have an award awaiting you.

AmberJade said...

I just read your entire blog in about three days. I think God led me to it, not only because you are a great example of how to THINK about weight loss but also...this is going to sound weird and shallow...also because He knew that I needed to see that someone with my body type (seriously, your body looks exactly like mine, it's insane!) can lose weight and end up looking like a normal person! I always worried that the giant roll and the lower belly fat would never really go away, or that the skin would all sag and be disgusting...but you you at 229 is exactly me at 229, and I am so looking forward to seeing your 175 and raising you a 135! So glad I'm following this blog!


Chris in FL--Joyful Mother said...

That was absolutely beautiful Keelie! Thank so much for sharing. So many women, I believe, go through different levels of anxiety and depression. To hear that others have dealt with it brings healing of itself. Not that we just accept and have an excuse to shut ourselves out but the healing it brings that you overcame through the Lord's help and yes, even the medicine that you took helped.

Thanks again for sharing ! :)

Chris xoxo

Sweet Pea said...

It's so funny that you talk about things fitting together re: your bible study and your blog. I am having the same experience myself.

I just found this fantastic book that you may want to take a look at: Plan B by Pete Wilson. Fantastic book and a really wonderfully look at how God works in our lives, even when our plans seem to crash and burn. I am loving it and am finding a ton of inspiration from it. Maybe you will as well.