I’m here on one of those days. I have a nervous energy deep in my gut and feel unsettled. I felt it poking at me the last couple of nights and then felt like I was awake almost all of last night, with every little thing startling me and a bundle of anxiety. That starts the spiral worry. You know the one that says, “what if I can’t get to sleep tonight and then my day is filled with anxiety tomorrow and then what if this snowballs and I can’t sleep tomorrow night, or the next?” It tries to frighten me that I might fall into the pit again; the one filled with anxiety and uncertainty and overwhelmingly reminds me that I’m not in ultimate control of my circumstances and emotions. Sure, I know I have the choice to focus on slowing down my breathing, etc., but if a wave of fear or uneasiness is going to hit, it will do so. However, I know I can do many things to keep it from being so loud and scary, but I don’t always do those things like I should because I get caught up in my life and striving for the next good thing.
I think that’s what’s going on right now. I’ve got a mix of everyday stresses, extra financial stresses, hormones, the “anniversary” of when anxiety took hold of me 12 years ago, poor eating, etc. Maybe my little brain is telling me it’s feeling overloaded and scared. That’s ok, little brain. I’m not mad at you (although I’ve been known to say an ugly thing about you from time to time, wishing I could switch brains with someone else or just buy a new one). Hating my circumstances doesn’t help the matter. There’s a big difference between the frightened Emily of a decade ago and where I am now. I’m still feeling all of those worries, fears, disappointment, and sadness, but I know some of the nicer things to remind myself of, like, “it’s just nervous energy and I don’t have to give it control” or asking God how I might grow during this time rather than fighting against it. What I think God reminded me of this morning is the phrase, “Keep going”. He told me that years ago when I felt like I couldn’t take another step because life was so scary to me. I did keep going then because I had no other choice and slowly, at a snail’s pace, I found some wiggle room and could breath. I’ve not yet gotten to a point where I feel free or Easy Breezy Beautiful Covergirl, but I’m hoping God has more of that for me, snail’s pace or not. I hope He helps me to draw near to Him and that I fall in love with Him in the process. What I have learned over the years is that if I sit down “in it” and give these feelings credit, it will only feed it and delay movement back to healthier days. It’s a huge challenge not to engage, but I’m praying God will help me today and every day to lean in to Him and keep going.
Well, 2009 was the last time I posted and as Kathleen Kelly in my all-time favorite movie, You’ve Got Mail, would say, it was the last time I “sent this cosmic question out into the void”. To think of what I’ve done with my time between my last post and current is a bit of a blur. Oh, it’s been productive and busy for sure: I’ve been raising a sweet little boy (who is now 6), taught hundreds of middle school students, played with friends and family, traveled, etc. I have also continued to struggle and keep on keepin’ on.
Although I did not write much at all about it when I aimlessly began this blog, I have been in a battle. July of 2004 was the beginning of a fierce fight for my joy, peace, and logic. Today in 2014 I still battle for these same things, although I’ve developed some of my weaker “muscles” to defend myself. Life is not what I expected when I was thinking ahead while in college, earning a teaching degree, and falling in love. It did not include feeling like my brain was my worst enemy. I struggle with anxiety and depression. I struggle with irrational guilt, shame in who I am, and worry. It has been controlling and all-encompassing at times to where I look back now and have no clue how I managed to function through a work day. An interesting thing to me is how it looks to others. Most people have no idea that it would be consuming me at the time. I appear to “have it all together”. Most days of late I “do life” as I assume most do with juggling home, work, etc. Thank God, most days I’m not consumed with my struggle like I’ve been in the past, but it’s typically a low-level blandness that makes me feel not quite right. I always want to be “me”, but question and have a lot of uncertainly of who that really is. I’m not often comfortable in my own skin; questioning my thoughts and feelings is a regular occurrence. Uneasy. Fearful of what I might think next (irrational guilt or shame from a month ago or ten years ago). Jealousy and sadness are unwanted companions as I wish I had another’s brain. On second thought: maybe I’d just rather wish for the Scarecrow’s situation and be without a brain!
Tonight I sing the chorus to “It is Well With My Soul” in my mind. I am reminded of a study I did by Jennifer Rothschild and she found hope in the idea that it may not be well with my circumstances, but it is well with my soul. To find that peace about struggles is intriguing. Tonight has been one of those where I felt His nearness and a clarity that most days I’m craving and for which sometimes I’m begging. It is rare for me and thankfully I’ve been observant of it tonight and grateful. I felt a part of something. Hard to describe, but I felt that I belonged to this faith I believe and I sensed its Truth. I feel like I’ve been telling God for years now that I just want to live with purpose and on purpose instead of getting through my days or struggling to be in the present, so it was nice to get a glimpse tonight. Thanks, God. I end this collection of ramblings to encourage you to find thanksgiving for something in your world right now. It may not be just what you want or dreamed it would be, but there is good and He is good. I believe; Lord, help my unbelief. Until next time…