Remember how I said God was telling me to SPEAK my story? After my first blog post, I felt kind of lost. I kept thinking, “Now I’ve published this. Now people have read it. Now people are connected. So now I HAVE to keep posting. I will not fail at this.” The words left me though. At one point I had all sorts of ideas in my head with topics I want to write about and things I want to share. And then all of those thoughts were gone. Leaving my mind open enough for me to hear God continuing to tell me to SPEAK my story. I’m being led to just come out and tell you what I’ve been dealing with … the desert season I’ve been in, so that we can move forward through this together. Maybe someone else needs to read this today for whatever reason. So I’m just gonna listen and obey His lead.
In August 2018, as I started working full-time and my youngest child started Kindergarten, something came over me and it wasn’t good. I wasn’t myself. I was struggling increasingly at each passing day. Honestly, I didn’t want to be alive. Life was too hard. I couldn’t do any of it perfectly, or even well, I thought. Being a perfectionist and having a deep fear of failure left me paralyzed, not only at my job, but also at home. A friend finally confronted me and asked what was going on. I began the next week meeting with a therapist, who eventually lead me to meeting with a psychiatrist.
Diagnosis – MDD (Major Depressive Disorder) and pretty severe anxiety. I had gone through bouts of depression before, but it was seasonal and mostly postpartum. This experience with depression was far worse and completely different for me. I like to call this “my desert season” (or … hell!).
Meeting with a therapist weekly and a psychiatrist monthly was definitely needed. I didn’t do well with therapy at all. You see, I’ve gone through most of my life feeling unworthy. Feeling like I don’t deserve good people in my life and I especially didn’t deserve the good they have to offer. I’ve assumed I couldn’t be helped. And that the world would be better off without me. So I pushed the therapist back each time she tried to help me. I didn’t allow her in. I didn’t allow her to come near the walls I had built up over the span of most of my life. I’m still having to figure that out and truly allow people to help me. It’s something that is going to take a lot of time for me to work through for sure as my walls are pretty thick and nearly impossible to climb over or break down.
During most of this weary, scorching desert, I truly believe the enemy had control over me and I was just too tired to fight back. I was too tired to do the work God wanted me to do to fight. My walls were so thick and high, they drowned out His voice. I didn’t intentionally live saying “ok, enemy. I’m all yours.” But I definitely wasn’t obedient to the calling God had for me. I wasn’t seeking Him. I went days, sometimes weeks, without scripture writing or even opening my Bible. Days, sometimes weeks without even praying.
I fell hard. And I think one of the hardest repercussions I’ve experienced through this is that I took a few people down with me, grabbing them as I went further and further down. It was as if I was drowning and, in their attempts to save me, I was thrashing about and drowning them too. I’d be better for a few days. I’d see a little progress. Then I’d fall again. Honestly, I tried many times to not get back up at all, but each time the Lord gave me the strength to keep going, just like He did with Elijah.
So. A big part of my story now is … I have a mental illness. I have pushed through almost 8 months now frustrated with God, frustrated with people who I perceived “gave up” on me. And I absolutely didn’t want this to be my story. “There’s no way good can come of this.” “I don’t deserve the good anyway.” The lies. Oh the lies.
One thing I did learn is that it’s okay to take medication for this, but medication alone will not do it. I have had to be willing to do the work. The work, however, is really what I’ve fought to do in order to keep my head above water. The work is hard. And I don’t always like it. I was okay wallowing in self-pity for months on end, but doing the work is now keeping me alive. Keeping me continually developing my relationship with Christ again. Thankfully, I’m now able to realize that the work is worth it. The work is continuing to see my doctor. Having quiet time. Scripture writing. Journaling. Spending time in meditation. Sleeping regularly. Do I still fall? Absolutely. I’m not even close to being through the desert yet. I still struggle daily, but having more good days than bad is exactly what I needed to be able to start speaking my story.
A ton of scripture has been brought to my attention throughout this whole desert season. From Psalm 46:10, to Psalm 27:14, Psalm 143:8, Isaiah 58:11, Psalm 91:1-2, 2 Corinthians 10:5, Philippians 4:8, Colossians 3:1-3 and so so so many others. During this last week, however, I’ve clung to the words in Daniel 3:18 where it says “& if not, He is still good.” I repeat it over and over in my head. I even have a shirt that says “no matter the circumstances, He is still good.” That’s my lifeline right now. This scripture tells us that we know God can deliver us, but we don’t know IF He will deliver us. Either way, we still won’t bow down before any other gods because HE IS STILL GOD AND HE IS STILL GOOD. No matter what desert season you or I are in, He. Is. Still. Good. Please remember that. And so will I.