The myth of battling depression is “you have lost your faith.” Yes, there is a tremendous loss of feelings, memory, laughter and joy (amongst other things), but my faith yet remains. Take a journey with me to see how I battle depression and how I choose to be victorious.
Sometimes it is better to connect with people who share a similar pain than someone who doesn’t understand you at all. ~Alicia Neal
Finding a good therapist is like searching for gold in the Sahara Desert. In my quest for a therapist, I have come to find that the perfect therapist does exist, however, we may go through many of them to find that one that understands you completely and have your best interest in mind.
A month ago, I started my search for a therapist. What I thought was a good fit ended up with me being abandoned like a bride being stood up on her wedding day. Between her many schedule changes and me oversleeping (one time) for my appointment, we were finally able to connect. I patiently waited for the Zoom link to come to my email. Sadly, it never came. I called the receptionist and she stated she would get the link sent to me ASAP. I then received a text from the therapist saying I had cancelled my appointment. I responded kindly with “I did not cancel my appointment with you. I called the receptionist to contact you for the link.” She never responded.
I felt abandoned, alone, and angry. My first reaction was to call the receptionist and give her a piece of my mind but in my emotional breakdown, I decided to receive the love from my husband and filter through the pain.
I am so glad that God never abandons us. He is always near the brokenhearted and ready to come to the aid of those who are suffering. Never fully put your trust in man but fully put your trust in God. Even in those moments where you may feel abandoned, God is there, making sure you are protected and guided in the right direction.
The Unwanted Gift
Today is a hard day for me. Going days without sleep, darkness hovering over me, I felt as if the world purposely refuse to stop spinning and I was too tired to find a way to get off.
As I sat on the edge of the bed, I put my hand in my head and yelled “I’m tired.” I turned to my husband and said, “not tired of life, just tired of feeling this way.” Waiting for the perfect moment to jump in, my husband whispers “the oil you carry is expensive and only you can carry it.”
Do not get me wrong, the gift is amazing but there are moments where I do not want the gift, nor do I want the most expensive oil in the shop. What I mean is this, God has blessed humans with the most unique and life altering gifts. Although some of us embrace the gift and use the gift as God planned, there is a high price to pay for walking in the gift.
What is the price for me? Depression, anxiety, sadness, and mood swings. Sometimes the very thing we battle is the thing God has allowed so we can be able to walk in the calling in which we were chosen (by God) to do.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news but there will be moments where you too will face uncertainty about your gift. The expensive oil that you carry will make you want to pack it all up and give it back to God. On those days of uncertainty, trust the gift and the giver of the gift. The road you travel may not be easy but when you arrive at your destination, you will smile, thank God, and begin paving the road for the next person carrying expensive oil.
I’m Super but I’m no Super Woman!
The most selfish act I have ever performed was the “superwoman mentality.” Convincing myself that I can do it all, yet neglecting myself to the point of mental, physical, and emotional destruction. The funny part about it is, I became what others need but did not know what I needed for myself. So prideful I was. Neglecting my mental and physical health to the point of a mental breakdown and future health problems due to the weight of the world and the weight I gained from being too busy with life to take care of me. One day the light bulb came on! I realized that while others were depending on me to fix their problem, it was not my problem to fix at all.
Imagine that. Walking around with the weight of the world on your shoulders and the weight you were carrying was not yours in the first place. So selfish I was. So prideful I am. To have control of everything so I won’t lose control tells God that I do not need Him and therefore He can take a back seat to my issues and watch me handle life the way I think it should go. I am wiser now. I have learned to adjust my life to sail in the direction of rest and self-care.
Selfish as it may sound, subscribing to other people’s issues is no longer my way of showing love. I show love by giving good sound advice, resources, and much prayer. Today, I am free. Free to learn who I am. Free to take care of my issues. Free to give God every weighty problem I have, and free to live the life I did not know existed until the cloud of people pleasing was lifted from my eyes. I am no longer superwoman. I am no longer stronger than I pretend to be. Superwoman have given up her cape in exchange for some house slippers and a comfortable robe.
Round & Round
Long nights and short days seem to be my plight. I can go for months without the proper sleep, then all of a sudden my body becomes too tired to function and I sleep for what seem like for days. I’m not complaining, I’m just grateful to see another day eventhough I haven’t slept long enough to notice that it was another day.
What seems like the movie “Ground Hog Day” on a ferrous wheel has become my recurring nightmare. What I have learned during this nightmare is that I am stronger than I thought and more persistent in beating these anxious thoughts and depressed mood. How do I survive? Prayer. How do I keep from going insane? Reading my Bible. Does it go away? No, but I feel stronger and more powerful to fight for my mind and my life.
The most valuable lesson in this fight is learning to love myself in the struggle and making sure that what is set out to destroy me will ultimately bow down to me because I am a winner, a fighter and a overcomer!
The past two weeks have been overwhelming for me. Not only did I have to face another year of not being able to tell my sister happy birthday (deceased), I just found out that I have a first cousin from my father’s side of the family who I have just come into contact with.
For those that don’t know, I’m a loner for a very good reason. I don’t know my family from my mother’s side because of her secrets and I don’t know family from my father’s side because he died a few years after I was born and my mother made it her mission to make sure I never knew anything about him or who was attached to him.
Long story short, my daughter took the ancestry DNA test and all this family she doesn’t know of which ended up being family from my father have surfaced and now want to meet and develop a relationship. What’s so crazy is that the family I always prayed for is surfacing and I’m not prepared at all!
Every painful memory of feeling alone and alienated because I had no family to identify with has floated to the surface and now, I must deal with the pain of never knowing who I was. I know. I know. I am a child of God. I get that, but when you had a childhood filled with secrets, lies and the absence of a family presence, you end up with an identity crisis and living a life that is empty and filled with pain.
Due to all this emotion, this darn anxiety is through the roof and I feel lost. I have so many questions. Will they reject me because I was the result of an affair? Or, will they embrace me because I am my father’s child? As I pursue this mission, I will continue to make great strides in embracing my new found family, trust that God’s timing is always the best time, and allow myself the time to feel and embrace every emotion that has surfaced so I can heal and embrace the meaning of what a family is.
Just Don’t Do It!
Yesterday’s high anxiety was off the roof. I couldn’t concentrate nor could I complete my school work. It was like a euphoric explosion going off in my mind. I thought about the million things I had to do then panic set in. I have to get this paper done, I need to show up for my business, I’m tired because I haven’t really slept in a few days, what if theses racing thoughts won’t let me complete the paper! After fixing dinner I sat down on the couch, covered my face and said “Alicia, you don’t have to do it if you can’t. Tomorrow is another day and things will be better.”
Ladies, you have control at all times. Yes, I know, anxiety takes our minds to a level that is so hard to bounce back from. When that happens, take back your control. Find a space where you can calm yourself and begin to redirect your thought process. Sounds so easy but yet so hard to do. I thought of a million scriptures to quote and none of them put me at ease. It wasn’t that God’s presence had left me or the scriptures don’t work, it was God teaching me to fight and to use the power that He has given me. After the melt down was over, I emailed my professor and told him that my paper would be late. 10 points off won’t hurt this perfectionist but allowing anxiety to control my life will.
I’m Living Again
Yesterday was the first time in years that I actually wanted to celebrate my birthday. Not that I never wanted to, it was that I always put time and effort into other people, then when it was my turn, the room was empty with only two or three faithful standing there to cheer me on. This year, I’ve learned to celebrate even if I had to do it by myself. I didn’t feel lonely nor did I feel empty inside. There was sort of a freedom knowing that when I want a victory party, I only invite those who deserve to come.
The lesson in the celebratory moment is this, there is a table between you and the ones you love. On that table is what you bring and the other portion of the table is what they bring. If the table seems to only be filled with your love, support, and generosity with nothing in return from them, then it’s time to evaluate the table and think strongly about changing seats.
Living with depression is hard. There are times when hope is lost and the light at the end of the tunnel is hard to see. During a therapy session, my therapist told me that there is a gift hiding in the changes of life and for me to lay hold of the gift I must keep pushing and appreciating the new life God is trying to give me.
This was hard for me to do. Gifts are supposed to be a beautiful gesture that is given to those who are loved. Although this love hurts, the darkness and pain I endure let me know that this is working for my good. Finding the good in darkness is not easy but once God is the focal point and your trust is in Him and Him alone, the gift becomes easier to see.