Hope anchors the soul of the anxious and the depressed. -Nicole Jackson
Hope anchors the soul of the anxious and the depressed. -Nicole Jackson
This is fresh off the press this Saturday evening as I am trying my best to wind down from disturbing news I received in my mailbox. Let’s start with this week has been pretty exhausting. A rollercoaster with more lows than highs and all that has been running through mind is “Please, God, let me off of this thing.” No such luck.
My daughter’s 16th birthday is coming up and I have been stressing over how to make it special for the past few weeks. I am going through the disability process in Tennessee and I have been for the last two years and two months. Before I was diagnosed with RA (diagnosed with JRA as a child), I was a working single parent. I promised my daughter to take her to California when she turned 16 as it’s somewhere she had always wanted to go. Well, we know that is not possible during this time. So, we planned to go somewhere closer and with the help of my brother to drive. I can’t tell you the amount of stress, struggle and strain it has been to gather finances from all over the place. To beg and borrow it seems to make this happen. I received terrible news from the school that my daughter had been placed in Algebra II instead of Algebra I and they are just now discovering this! She’s in a honors program. No wonder my poor child had been struggling! And I had been so hard on her. I was livid! Today, I opened up the mailbox to find she would not be allowed to continue in the program because of her GPA. I was outdone. She will have to take summer school class for Algebra I because she must have it. But, how unfair for them as Algebra II is the main cause of her GPA drop. I sent an email to the principal and hope they can see their error and what it has cost my daughter.
Today, I feel my depression in the shadows. I have done the best to keep it at bay. I cannot tell her this right now as she is so happy about taking a trip in a week or so for spring break to celebrate her 16th birthday. She will be crushed and I do not want her spirits crushed. My daughter is very smart and bright. And today…with RA, financial stress, and worried about my daughter’s future, checking the mailbox daily waiting on a word for a day in court about my case, it all just seems to be weighing on me. It’s a bit too much and I just hope someday I can look back and forget the last two years of this hell.
Wednesday I was certain I wasn’t going to Thanksgiving Dinner. I just did not want to be bothered with all of the noise and hoopla. I’d experienced a really bad night of anxiety and insomnia Tuesday night. Worst in a long time, maybe of all times. Later on Wednesday evening I began to feel better, but not enough to change my mind.
When I woke up Thursday, I felt okay. I forced myself to have breakfast with a friend. I got dressed and made it to my family’s house with a plan in mind. If it gets to be too much, I can escape to my parents room or I can leave. To my surprise, my mother was much calmer than usual. She usually is high strung. I was grateful because I don’t operate well in panic and hype mode. I gave by putting ice in the cups, rolls in the oven, arranging the food. It was hectic getting food in a small space with almost 20 plus people. So, I went outside and sat until the line died down. Cool fall air and peace. I was happy as my nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews, eyes lit up when they saw me and they ran to give me hugs. I was happy to see my latest 6 month old great nephew for the first time.
I gave thanks for good food as I escaped to my parents room to eat in peace as I watched HGTV and Unsung. Only to be interrupted by by wobbly walking one year old great nephew as he looked in on me and came to my plate for anything I would give. He’s not hard to please and out the door he went.
I made it. I made it back to my house with my sanity in tack and a to go box for breakfast this morning. I am thankful I did not experience the agitation of anxiety.
I can’t tell the difference from my own ways of overanalyzing and anxiety. I start to wonder if they are connected. I am pretty sure they are. Last night was a hell of a night of overthinking, worry, concern, and you name it. The worst I have had in a long time. I still do not understand anxiety as it is new to me this year. It may sound crazy, but it frustrates me all the more that I don’t understand. I don’t like it. And if I dare to think about it, I have probably had it longer. I can identify the on start, and I have caught it and followed the plan to calm it down. But those times where it spirals out of control…like last night…is the worst. I could not stop it. I fell asleep off and on and each time I woke up it was back again.
About a month ago, a strange thing happened. I was suppose to go out on a date and the guy took forever to call. I was getting dressed and the next thing you know I started to feel anxious. I started to think about all the other times guys have let me down where we were suppose to do something and didn’t. I started to think about all of the times things didn’t work out and then I started to cry. I was shocked! What the hell was I crying about? I did not understand this at all. I felt, abandoned. And when I thought that, I thought about a very very bad relationship where this guy was always leaving me high and dry. And the many other times this has happened in relationships. And there…there was the trigger. But then came the shame. “I am Nicole. I am strong. I don’t care about these things. Right? I have been through so much and well, look at how tough I am. No one needs to know about this. Get yourself together. You can’t take that to therapy.” And I didn’t. But, I will have to this time.
I am fatigued. I am still fighting those thoughts this morning. I do not like myself right now. I wonder if I will ever be okay. If I will ever be understood. If I will ever be loveable. I don’t want to be bothered. I think what I want is to be understood about all of the things rattling around my head.
I am trying my damndest to be gentle with myself as I go through this, but it is very hard.
From depression to PSTD (which is not just for soldiers), I think about how unsteady the mind and emotions can be. I think about how physical illnesses can create a certain unsteadiness in our lives. We are often trying to hold onto ourselves and others. We are often seeking someone to hold on to us during those times the winds start blowing in our lives and the oceans of our emotions start to rock and the wind of thoughts began to blow. It’s a scary state to be in. A very fragile state.
You are trying to stay afloat. You are grasping for your tools to help you pull through. You hope you make it. Sometimes you do and sometimes you don’t. Sometimes you wish someone would simply hold onto you and give you the balance you need and at the same time you don’t want anyone around. (Side Note: If you are the person trying to hold onto the unsteady person, sometimes your presence, YOUR LISTENING EAR and your silence and your prayers ARE THE ANCHOR).
Last night I found myself overwhelmed with helplessness as I could not help a parent who is suffering from an illness only to come home and open up a letter of disappointment that sent me thinking about a decision I felt pressured to make. I opened another letter of a bill that was greater than I imagined and could afford. I then hopped on social media to find out about a horrific death of a doctor that saved my life in 2001. It was too much. The stress, the anxiety, the fear, the concern, the helplessness, the anger, was coming in relentlessly like pounding waves. I was between crying and throwing something. I needed to talk, but to who? I don’t trust people. People don’t understand. To God? Eh….not right now. I just don’t have words. I am grasping for something to pull me out or keep me afloat. And then the stress brought on physical pain. I read. I cried. I prayed. I cried. I listened to music. I cried. I went to bed. I woke up.
I think I just stayed afloat. I think it was the Creator and my angels…they love me enough to not let go. And I love myself enough to not let go of me.
I didn’t see in the Bible where worry, anxiety, having cares is listed as a sin. I don’t know if in your religion, if it differs from mines, if it is listed as a sin or not. I do know in most Christian cultures, or so I have heard it preached it is a sin to worry. You know “You are doubting God if you worry because you don’t believe he can do xyz or you don’t trust god enough this is why it’s a sin to worry.” So on top of your worry/anxiety/depression you are now doubting God and you have trust issues. Great. That helps. However, I don’t see it or it doesn’t read to me as a sin but, it does register to me as not a good thing.
This morning I didn’t go to church as last night I began to feel anxious about going to church. I have not quite figured out where the root of those thoughts or even began to process those thoughts. This morning I simply asked God a loaded question/statement, an offering of thoughts so to speak: “Is being anxious a sin? If so, I certainly don’t see scripture list it as a sin and what about those who suffer from anxiety? I do see plenty of scripture on how to deal with anxiety. I see some don’t worry and don’t be anxious is that a command or is that comfort? Even when I see “be anxious for nothing” or “do not worry” it still doesn’t say it’s a sin. Because in the mind of an anxious person they have to feel more guilt about now sinning. Has the church ever thought about that? I guess not because many don’t acknowledge anxiety or depression as a real illness. Everything not understood or involving science can possibly be evil.” Whew.
Did I get an answer? Yes. It is not a sin to worry. It is not a sin to be anxious. It is not a sin to be depressed. BUT, it is not good because it can lead to what one may call sin but not only that, it can lead to bigger issues: mentally, emotionally, physically, even death i.e heart attacks and strokes, cancers and illnesses/dis-eases. It can affect friendships and relationships. It can affect your job and hinder your progress. Impede your destiny. Even parenting! Etc. (yes, I believe the mind is connected to emotions, connected to the body).
Gee whiz God! I am just glad it’s not a sin so I don’t have to feel guilty. That is enough right there to set some free and allow them to get help. I was recently told by my doctor it seems as if I am experiencing some anxiety, possibly anxiety and panic attacks. I had no idea what was going on. So I am new to it all and as always I am a seeker of knowledge to gain an understanding.
There wouldn’t be so many scriptures combating worry/anxiety or depression if God didn’t know we were all different and some of us would experience these things in life. I also said to God this morning “How can I cast my cares if I don’t know what my cares are?” You see, anxiety or depression may not always have a source at the moment. It may not always have a reason you can put your finger on right away. God’s answer to me was “You don’t need to know because I already know.” And that, eased my mind.
This is my blog. These are my thoughts. You have a blog. You express your thoughts. Thank You. Love you.