Telling a story from beginning to end is quite difficult when the details have spanned over 20 years. Quite honestly, it really doesn't have an end yet, because after all, I am still alive to share this story! But what I want to concentrate on for this series is the last couple of years. These are years that have been unlike any previous. I've battled depression sporadically for the last 20 years, but nothing could have prepared me for the experiences of the last two.
You may not know this about me, but my struggles with depression are what started my blogging journey over nine years ago. (minus some very long periods of hiatus!) I'm a firm believer in sharing your struggles with others because in sharing we find other sisters who have traveled the same journey who can help us along uncharted territories, and in turn we can also helps others. Paul puts it this way in II Corinthians 1:3:
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God."Our God is a God of healing and miracles. I have experienced both and I want to share it with you, in hopes that you never give up the fight against any kind of mental illness.
Let's jump back to the end of 2014. In the late fall and through December I began to really decline in health. I missed quite a bit of work, just not able to get out of bed and face the day. My moods were becoming consistently poor and I found myself limping to get to the end of the year for Christmas break (I work at a high school). I thought if I could just get some rest and a break, that I could get myself picked back up and start back in the new year with a fresh start.
Unfortunately that swing upward that I was praying for just wasn't happening. Every day was an immense struggle to get through the day. I began having serious issues with anxiety. At school, I am the receptionist. I greet many visitors at the front door, as well as answer the phones and assist students and Assistant Principals. The strain of the constant noise and interaction with people became almost more than I could bare. I began to do some research as to why this was happening, and quickly learned how much of an introvert I am. Being in this constant situation of noise and people went directly against my personality type and I was having to fight my way through it every day. Several times a day I had to step away from my desk to try to regain my composure. I would hide away in the dark in the nurses station during my lunch hours, hoping for some relief to get me through the rest of the day. I was beyond exhausted. I was drowning and there was no help in site as the waves continued to crash down upon me.
My family was praying for me, as well as my small group and many friends, but I just could not get any relief from the constant stress and depression. I spent many nights crying out to God and to my husband to relieve me from the pain. I just wanted to quit my job and crawl into a deep hole. My emotions and nerves were beyond what I had ever experienced before, and I was extremely scared.
February rolled around and I was really struggling. I missed two weeks of work because of my high anxiety. But out of nowhere a very sweet and generous couple knew how badly we (my family) were struggling through this latest bout of depression. They completely surprised us with an all expenses paid week in Cancun for Spring Break, air fare and all.
We were beyond blown away, but during our excitement about their incredible gift, the bottom also dropped out......
I hope you will join me again next week on Wednesday for Part 2 of this continuing series.
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