Tuesday, February 28, 2017
Letting You Into My Closet: Anxiety, Faith and Mental Illness
For three years now I have been battling a monster I haven't wanted anyone to know about...Panic attacks and anxiety (What I call "crazy brain") have become an all too normal battle of my daily life.
Hyperventilating and tense, there have been too many nights I can't sleep because I can't turn my brain off...And I have so much shame.
What is wrong with me? Why can't I control this? Anxiety can sneak up at any point, be it drinking coffee with friends or completely alone in my bedroom watching Netflix. As I was praying about it all the other day I felt the Lord very clearly tell me to be open about my struggle and what it means for me as a Christian.
I have never once felt like Cerebral Palsy was my fault, but somehow because anxiety is "just in my brain" (though my body disagrees) I feel guilty that I can't control just when an anxious moment will sneak up on me. However, I genuinely believe that sometimes anxiety, like depression is a result of a chemical imbalance, and I refuse to feel guilty because my brain's chemicals misfire sometimes.
I am happier than I have ever been, but the anxiety I deal with is at an all time high because I have done the unthinkable...I have let someone into the deepest, most vulnerable part of my struggle: The fear and thoughts I firmly believed meant I would be alone forever/
I guess I'm writing this for all the believers out there who struggle with some form of unseen disability. You are not alone. If you need to take medicine (even just for a little while) do it. If you need to go to counseling do it. I will openly say I do both. Even writing this causes me some anxiety and fear of judgment but honestly, I feel like I can't be the only Christian out there who battles the idea that my faith should be greater than this monster in my head.
Here's what I know though: Jesus loves me. My faith is being stretched but He knows I am doing the best I can to love Him and live the abundant life He calls me too, even if that means taking medicine. I hope the day will come when the medicine is unnecessary but until then I am not going to beat myself up.
Even in anxiety and medicine, panic attacks, sleepless nights, and fear I have never been more thankful for life because God is good and if this has taught me anything it's that the Holy Spirit is a precious presence in moments when no one else can be. Life is good, and even in the dark it glitters.