Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Ashamed No More

If you have ever experienced anxiety you will understand what I am talking about, if you haven’t, you’ll think I am crazy. I have dealt with anxiety for relatively most of my life. Even as a young child I had irrational worries that would control me. Then, I didn’t have a name for it, I just knew I was different. Thankfully, we live in a generation where anxiety and depression is talked about and treated, yet sadly, many still attach a stigma to someone who deals with these issues. We know now, and science has proved, that it’s not just all in your head. It isn’t just something you can snap out of, because it has to do with a depletion of chemicals in your brain. Just as when you eat chocolate or drink alcohol, you relax, that is a chemical reaction in your brain.

For me, anxiety feels like a cement wall that I can’t climb, dig under, or go around. It comes unexpectedly, unreasonably, and often suddenly, though sometimes it is gradual over several days before it becomes acute. It takes the color and purpose out of life. Even on a sunny day, everything feels gloomy. Along with the mental effects, the physical body is affected too. I have a rapid heart rate, sweating, difficulty breathing, I often become nauseated and/or have stomach pain and diarrhea. I become very thirsty, lose my appetite, and feel like I am shaking though am usually not visibly. I can’t sleep, can’t concentrate, and can’t stop my mind from racing. It is such a frustrating feeling to know in your heart that nothing is worth get so worked up over, but not being able to stop your mind and body from reacting. It truly is out of your own grasp to control.

For many years I have been on and off anti-depressants. All the time I have been ashamed and embarrassed that I need them to function normally. I have felt weak and worthless. I have felt like if I was a better Christian, I would be able to handle this. If I just prayed more, read my bible more, etc. I have tried alternative medicines such as herbs and supplements, tried to balance my horomones, all with temporary results, eventually I have to go back to the prescriptions, and feel like a failure once again for having to be on them.

God has been talking to me about this, and what He has said has been a salve to my hurting heart. He reminds me that it is in my weakness that his strength is visible (2 Cor 12:10). My stubbornness while trying to do it on my own and ‘handle it’ is pride. I have to look at the blessing that I have to be living in a generation where there is medicine available. How silly of me to think that He would make this available to me and then slap my hand for accepting it. That’s not how God operates.

God does not wait for us to clean up our act before accepting us. It is His job to make us holy, not our own. Only He is able. Only he is able to calm the storm in my mind, and if he uses medicine to do that, why be ashamed? I am convinced that Satan uses shame to keep us quiet. It’s in the quietness of our struggles that we experience loneliness. If no one knows, no one can help. If we don’t tell, no one knows they aren’t alone. So, here I am, telling. I hope someone understands and finds comfort in the fact that I know and understand.

1 comment:

  1. Oh Eva~ I so understand how you feel! I have always suffered from anxiety, as a child it would come and go and I never understood it. I did well for many years until I was pregnant with Dakotah I had some other health problems and that provoked a full out panic attack and lingering anxiety for a very long time. The feeling is so overwhelming and so scary! It is definitely hard to explain to someone who has never dealt with it...I too have to take medicine and even on my medicine I still have times when my blood pressure goes up I start having problems but for the most part I do okay with it. Yes Satan does use this to attack us! I'm glad you posted about this! Such a hard thing to live with!