It’s obviously been a really long time since I’ve written anything. For many of you who know me personally, you know it’s been a year and one-half of transitions and roller coasters. Some of which I’ll be unpacking here in the upcoming weeks, but for those of you who are taking the time to read this, thank you. Thank you for being willing to jump back into this world of written thoughts and unpacking life events with me.
2019, although it has brought some incredible blessings to us like our son, Isaiah, and Aaron’s new job, has not been an easy year for the Brown family… in all transparency, we have both stated it’s been the hardest year of our marriage. Lately I’ve been convicted that I most connect with stories of realness, and I find a deep sense of relief and encouragement when reading about someone’s journey that mirrors my own. However, I haven’t yet shared my own struggles of this year that might be a source of relief for another woman walking through this same season. If you are entering this Christmas season feeling like this year has taken more out of you than you ever could have imagined, take heart. You’re not alone.
“Lord, something has to give.”
I’ve prayed that line many, many times since this summer, literally begging God for a reprieve from the anxiety and depression that descended on me in July. An illness that my medication helps but doesn’t purge. This isn’t my first experience with depression and anxiety, but this past July the mental battle hit the hardest it ever has. To be honest, I’m still trying to wade through the depression side of it. God hasn’t healed me the way I begged him to.
Depression and anxiety doesn’t always look like the commonly known symptoms. My depression doesn’t involve deep sadness and tears. My anxiety doesn’t induce panic attacks.
In my life, depression is small things feeling overwhelming. I heard of friend of mine say “It’s all I can do to get myself ready to go, much less anyone else.” That resonated with me. Normal tasks can feel like impossible battles because of the energy required to complete them. Some days, it’s as small as finding out my husband is stuck in traffic and will be 30 minutes later than expected. The thought of being on “kid duty” alone for an extra 30 minutes feels like an impossible amount of expectation, weight, and energy on my shoulders. More than once, the television has been my go-to because my brain couldn’t compute enough to find an activity for them and my body couldn’t make myself sit on the floor and referee the play time.
Then there’s my struggle with anxiety. For me, anxiety is a mental ambush happening again, and again, and again. It’s a self-condemning of my past and my possible mistake-filled future. It’s fear that the anxiety will never stop. It’s replaying the highlight reel of my worst moments and my shameful thoughts. Quite simply it results in being terrified to think. There’s no “safe place,” no “place of refuge” because the battle is all in my mind. I never know when a thought or fear will pop in and send me spiraling. No spa day or self-care day fixes this.
Charles Spurgeon, a renown pastor in the 1800’s said it this way:
The mind can descend far lower than the body, for in it there are bottomless pits. The flesh can bear only a certain number of wounds and no more, but the soul can bleed in ten thousand ways, and die over and over again each hour.
Tears came to my eyes the first (and second) time that I read that description. Finally, words to describe the mental toll that anxiety took. I remember reading that quote to my husband, fighting back tears, to help give him a glimpse of what my brain felt like on days that had been wracked with attacks of anxious thoughts.
I can’t help but believe that I’m not alone in. Maybe you’re feeling the same but have been hesitant to talk to a doctor? Maybe you’ve told yourself as I did for so long, that I just needed to catch up on rest, on my quiet times, on ________ to feel like your old self again. Maybe you know this struggle all too well. Maybe this season with lights, laughter and songs instead brings you thoughts of fear, failure, and shame. I get it.
For the next few weeks, I’m going to share pieces of my journey in my battle of anxiety and depression in hopes that my story can bring you the same sense of relief and understanding that others’ stories have brought me.
If you’re in the middle of the battle, take courage. God is with you even now. Even in the mess. The exhaustion. The shame. The frustration. I’ve come to have such an incredible love for God’s name Immanuel. Knowing that God is with me when I sit on my couch for longer than I should, knowing that God is with me when I can’t muster up the energy I need, knowing that God is with me when Satan recounts my worst thoughts and my most heart-breaking decisions, is something I have clung to this season. Hallelujah, God is with me, even in this. That doesn’t always change how I feel in the moment, but it is a truth that I rest my weary heart on.
About Holly's Blog
Holly loves to write, and you'll find her blog covers all different topics!