Monthly Archives: June 2015

A Long Journey.

Standard

I’ve been on a journey to find a healthier, happier me for about 18 months.  It’s been a roller coaster ride, for sure!  There are days when I feel like I’m making significant progress, and days when I feel like I’m back to square one.  Up and down.  Up and down.

One thing I’m learning is that mental health is very misunderstood.  Even my psychiatrist jokingly said to me that they really don’t know what they are doing when they prescribe medications!  HA!  It’s all a big science experiment filled with lots of trial and error.

YIKES!

I think the general population either thinks that mental health issues are not real, or that a simple pill will solve everything.  If you happen to be one that feels this way, I must respectfully disagree with you!

In the last 18 months, I’ve seen a counselor and a psychiatrist, and I’ve cycled through multiple medications trying to find one that works for me.  It’s been a painful process, to say the least.  Medications can do crazy things to a person.  I’ve experienced extreme moodiness, unexplainable anger, depression episodes that were far worse than without the medication, insomnia, high levels of anxiety, major intestinal issues, shaky hands, pounding heart, restlessness, etc.

Some of these things have caused problems for me with friends and family.  I’ve acted in ways that are absolutely not me.  I’ve hurt people.  I’ve been more sensitive and easily hurt by others.  I’ve not been the mom, wife, or friend that I typically am.  I basically have no control over myself at times.  It’s very scary.

My daily cocktail of pills is pretty impressive right now, so it’s no wonder that my emotions and actions are all over the board.  For every negative side effect, there is another pill thrown at me.  While I’m very cautious in taking new medications, it seems that inevitably I need them.  Ugh.  I really hate taking pills!

I think my point to all of this is that there is no quick fix when it comes to mental health.  There is no perfect solution.  Basically, it’s a constant trade-off in which you have to decide if the benefits outweigh the negatives.  Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t.

If you love someone who is struggling with depression or anxiety, or any other mental health issue, you are in a tough spot.  You will be asked to accept things you can’t understand.  You will be asked to pick up the pieces when you shouldn’t have to.  You will be asked to forgive over and over again when you are treated unfairly.  You will be asked to bear burdens that aren’t yours to bear.  You will be asked to show grace more than you want to.

If you can find it within yourself to do these things, you will become a rock to a person who desperately needs you.  You will become a pillar of strength for the weak.  You will be the hands and feet of Jesus.  You will find blessings you probably didn’t know you could find.  You will be loved more than you can imagine.

I’ve always thought of myself as being very strong – until the last couple of years.  I’ve finally had to slow down and admit that things just aren’t right, and seek the help that I need.  I’ve had to allow myself time to rest and heal.  I’ve had to allow others to take care of me.  It’s been extremely humbling.  It isn’t easy for me to ask for help, or admit defeat, but it’s been rewarding at the same time.  It’s shown me how much certain people love me.  It’s shown me that it’s ok to receive sometimes, even when I’d rather be giving.

I’m on a journey.  Though it’s painful at times, it’s worth it.  I will find resolution.  I will find healing.  I will find joy, peace, and happiness.  To those of you who have chosen to journey with me, thank you.  I love you!

Growing Pains

Standard

Ever have a situation where you felt like someone wronged you, and you were bound and determined to let them know about it?  Yeah, me too.  I dug my heels in deep, and was prepared to stand my ground.  And I did.  But here’s the thing – I didn’t feel better.  I still don’t feel better.  Did I have cause to be so upset?  Maybe.  Was it the right way to handle the situation?  No.

For me, it was a missed opportunity to show love and grace.  I failed.  I did not take the higher ground.  Instead, I put on my mud boots, and trudged right smack into the middle of a great big mess.

I came across this blog a couple days ago in which the author wrote about how the busyness of our lives can many times get in the way of us showing love to others.  We tend to get so wrapped up in our own schedules and to-do lists that we don’t take the time to see that someone else might be in need.  Many times our eyes aren’t open to what’s going on around us because we are so self-focused.

Well, if that wasn’t God pointing me straight to that message, I don’t know what it was.

Generally, I’m very good at seeing the needs of others.  I spend a lot of time focusing on what I can do to help someone in need.  My mind is constantly thinking of ways to show the people in my life that I care about them.  I’m very compassionate, and go out of my way doing things to brighten someone’s day.

Why not this time?  I have no idea.

I’ve spent the last several days wrestling with this, trying to figure out why I had the reaction that I did.  Here I sit, at 2 AM, unable to sleep (again) still confused by it all.  Why did I let the busyness of my day get in the way of showing love to friends?

I love the way God works sometimes.  I’ve been feeling pretty good lately about the person I am becoming.  I’ve been working really hard to overcome some personal struggles, and I think I’m succeeding.  I’m learning to love myself, and cut myself some slack.  I’m digging in deep to Bible study and prayer.  I’m spending more and more time being outwardly focused.  So, yeah, I’m feeling good about things.  But then, BAM!  There’s my wake up call.  I’ll never be as good as God calls me to be.

I’m still just a broken sinner in need of grace and forgiveness.  It’s tricky to find that delicate balance between being confident in the person you are, and forgetting that you are flawed, and certainly do not have it all figured out.  I’m far from perfect, but I honestly would not have thought a week ago that I’d be in this spot.

I find myself in a place that I’ve not often been.  I’ve got lots of great friends scattered all over the world that I rarely get to see.  We put a lot of importance on keeping our friendships going despite of the distance between us.  These friendships are great, but they are very different from those with people who are an active part of our daily lives.  Military life for my family has been such that we have never spent more than 3 1/2 years in the same place.  Usually, I spend the first year learning my ground and figuring out my place in my new surroundings.  Year 2 is spent really getting to know people, and year 3 is when relationships really start to grow.  Then I move, and those friends become long-distance friends.

This place is different.  I believe God put us here, with the people who are here, for a very specific purpose.  Friendships were formed very quickly.  In just a very short time, I had another best friend.  Awesome!  I love friends!  That relationship has deepened and grown into something beautiful.  But, there are some serious growing pains.  Whenever I’ve gotten to the point in a friendship in the past when the growing pains hit it’s been time to pack up and move on.  I’ve rarely had to stay and work through them!

When a rough patch occurs, one of my first responses is to want to move on.  Things are getting too complicated, and I’m ready to pack my bags and get away from everyone and everything.  I’m ready to start over.

Ah, but I don’t think that’s what God has in mind this time.

So, here I am not really knowing how to proceed.  It’s been mentioned that maybe we are too close.  Maybe we just aren’t a good fit.  I find myself struggling with this because I’m not sure how to go about protecting my friends and our friendship from the pain I sometimes cause, but also remaining true to myself at the same time.  If I protect them, I will have to create space, and become more guarded.  If I’m completely true to who I am, I risk hurting them.  Where is the balance?

I don’t like the idea of becoming guarded.  I spend so much time being guarded around so many people.  I don’t allow just anyone to see me and all my flaws.  It’s only the people that I feel comfortable and safe with who truly know me.

On the other hand, I do not want my actions to hurt them.  I would rather be on the receiving end of pain than be the one giving it.  Every time.  Guilt and regret are such strong, painful emotions, and I don’t want to feel this way anymore.  So, as much as it breaks my heart to think about losing my safe place, maybe I need to let it go for the sake of my friends.

For now, I’m praying.  I’m praying that the Holy Spirit will invade my mind, body, and soul, and fill in all the ugly gaps.  I’m praying that He would be so present in my life that His ways will precede mine.  That I would act on His behalf before I even have the chance to think about my own reaction.

I believe He will be faithful in this, but I know that He won’t allow me to be perfect.  A perfect person wouldn’t need God, and He wants me to need Him.  So, until I’m made perfect with Him in Heaven, I’ll have to rely on grace and forgiveness to get me through all my imperfections.