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.