Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Rebuilt


The quote above is from a book I'm currently reading called La La Lovely by Trina McNeilly. 

At the end, there is a beginning. Oh how that resonates with me so very deeply. A few months ago, actually I can tell you the exact date - March 8, 2018, I hit the bottom. The end. The very rock hard bottom. 

I have struggled with a serious condition for as long as I can remember. I have to take medication for it and I have to see doctors about it, yet it's a condition I am often ashamed to admit having. My serious, sometimes debilitating condition, is anxiety. Anxiety. Anxiety has controlled the majority of my adult life. I have many regrets from it and much of my life is lived in fear. Fears that span from if I left my hair straightener plugged in to traveling 30 hours across the world and turning right back around once I landed. On March 8, 2018 anxiety got the better of me. It altered my foundation and I did something I'm ashamed of yet I can honestly say I would not take it back if given the chance. You see, this ending turned into my beginning. My foundation was COMPLETELY rebuilt. Not restored - rebuilt. I'm now working towards living a full life.

On March 8, 2018 I called in sick to work for personal reasons and made same-day appointments with my family doctor and my therapist. (I want to tell my story but the cause of my anxiety is not really something I want to share because it's not only my story to tell. The cause isn't really necessary to relay what I'm trying to say here.)

I went to my family doctor that morning and explained to her that I literally felt like I had been holding my breath for weeks and could not let it out. I told her my medication was not doing its job. I told her that I couldn't function and I certainly was not being the kind of mother I needed to be. She prescribed me with Ativan and decreased my medication in preparation to switch to a different SSRI. 

I went home, turned my TV to the Beachbody app and proceeded to work out while crying my eyes out. I screamed as loud as I could while bawling in squat position. I don't know what I did to kill time the remainder of the day but that afternoon I went to my therapist appointment. 

She did not help me. It was not her job to "fix" me but it was her job to pay attention to me and refrain from googling everything I said. That appointment basically went like this: I cried my eyes out while trying to get words out. She gave me not very helpful, not very Christian advice while googling. 

That evening I went home and continued to just fall apart. My husband had to go get our oldest from Girl Scouts because I couldn't stop crying long enough to drive. Once he got home, he went into the bathroom and I began googling how much Ativan would cause some numbness/put me to sleep but NOT kill me. Let me say that again - I checked with a pharmacist and google to ensure that the 4.5mg of Ativan I was about to swallow would not kill me. I want to make that very clear and although it may not make sense to you, or the insurance company, or the hospital (more on that later) -- I did not want to kill myself. This was a cry for attention. A poor cry for help. A scream for attention really. And ultimately, an act of complete fear of my anxious thoughts. After swallowing 4.5 mg of Ativan I texted my brother and told him. I asked him to tell my husband. And the night gets a bit fuzzy from there.

What transpired over the next 72 hours forced me to look inside myself and reach out to God in complete desperation and realization. Lying in that hospital bed, Paul and I made the tough decision to admit me into an "Adult Behavioral Facility" also known as a mental hospital. That's right - I went to a mental hospital. As a teenager my mother often, very often in fact, threatened to send me to one. Little did I know that it would be the place that saved me from myself. Correction - the complete and utter loneliness and fear and boredom of the mental hospital - is what lead me to completely 110% surrender to God and give Him ALL my fears and ALL my anxiety and ALL my pain. It's not that I wasn't saved. It's that I was saved but did what so many of us Christians do. I had put God on the back-burner. I had neglected Him yet expected Him to fix me.

I'm not sure about you but when I thought of an overnight rehab facility (which maybe that was more of what this was than a mental hospital), I thought of a place to receive counseling and coping mechanisms. When Paul and I decided I should go there we thought I would be getting the help I needed by professionals. The reality is that no such thing occurred. I could write a completely separate post on my experience there, and maybe I will, but for now just know that the only help I received I received by searching within my self and coming to the "duh" realization that only God can see me through the toughest of times - through the deepest of ruts. Only. God.

You see, in that place there was nothing to occupy my time. Sure there was a television but the last thing I could do was focus on a TV show. I was given a pad of paper and a "pen" if you want to call it that. There were no games, no puzzles, no magazines, and no books. Within about 2 hours of being there I asked if they had Bibles. I was given a strange look and then handed a KJV Bible. Now, I don't know if you are used to reading KJV but I most certainly am not and I could not understand what I was reading for the life of me. I mean I tried to read it but it just didn't make much sense to me. So, I journaled - a lot. I wrote my prayers and wrote to people who still had a hold on me emotionally and mentally. I prayed. I prayed all day long. I prayed all night long my last night there.

I went into this place a depressed, fear-ridden, angry person and came out a determined, rebuilt, grateful sinner. My point is this - when you are going through the darkest of pain and the only way you see out is to make a rash decision to grasp any attention possible from those you love - don't. It's that simple. Just don't do it. Instead, get on your knees and cry out to God because God will ALWAYS give you the attention you so desperately need. He may not tell you what you want to hear. But He will always listen and He will always walk you through your pain. Had I reached out to God instead of swallowing those pills, do I think I would have still come to these realizations? I do. They may have taken a bit longer but I would not be $6000 in debt from hospital bills. I would not have the embarrassment and shame that I have. I would not have put my husband through complete terror and pain. I would not have the obligation of explaining to our children why I did what I did (when the time comes, of course). I truly believe God allowed me to fall on my face, hard, so that he could be there to pick up the pieces with me. He knew I would need him and He was right there - He was always right there. I had been waiting for my husband to make me happy. I had been waiting for my life to just turn into sunshine and rainbows without working at it. Let me tell you - life is WORK. I was surrendering to my anxiety instead of surrendering my anxiety to God.

When I got home from that terrifying yet transforming 72 hours at the loony bin (I say that in fun...I like to laugh at my crazy), I was a different person. I could feel it in my soul. I had doubters - my husband and my counselor, in fact. But did I blame them? Of course not. Who goes away for 72 hours and comes back a new person? I'll tell you who - a person who has given all of that ugliness to God. My anger did not completely subside. My fears and anxieties did not completely fade away. My negativity did not diminish completely. BUT my overall 360 degree view of my life had a new lens. I saw my life for what it truly was. I was blessed. God blessed me with this beautiful life and my lens had been fogged for so long that I needed a hard kick in the gut to see through the fog. With God, I can do this. I can do this life. I can push my anxieties back and I can control my anger. I can fight through the ungodly obstacles and temptations of this ungodly world and get on my knees and pray.

I am no longer a victim to anxiety. I am a survivor and you can be a survivor, too. You just have to WANT it. Surrender to the Heavenly Father and He can and will get you through ANYTHING.

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