Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Silence of Depression

I've been putting off posting because I didn't feel like I could go on and pretend like everything was normal and status quo when it really was not. I like this space to be peaceful, beautiful, and welcoming to my readers, but I must post this because it is part of my life right now.

Many of you may know that I have struggled with anxiety, panic attacks, and depression for the past four and a half years. During that time, I have had really great mountain moments but also a fair share of cold, dark valleys. 

And, frankly, this summer has been one of the dark valleys. 

Not because of situations really. Stress and busyness probably add to it. Being ill for five weeks probably most definitely contributed to it. But mostly because I have a real, medical chemical imbalance that causes my mind and body to feel depressed, exhausted, anxious, and panicky.

I've written about my struggles with anxiety and depression before so I'm not going to really do that right now. 

But I want you to know why I've been so silent.

I've been pushing through, distracting myself with garden duties, preserving, and my crochet business. And distraction is good, not because I'm ignoring it, but because it enables my mind to work at focusing on something that is good and productive.

I sometimes feel frustrated that it's been so long. I never would have thought I'd be dealing with it for almost five years. I thought (and wanted) a quick cure from God. I wanted to wake up one morning and all of the negative thoughts and emotions be gone. I prayed for that.

But, you know, that's not what God had (has) for me. 

He has spoken so many times to my heart that He has this season for me because it is preparing me for His will. I have no idea what purpose it is. I have moments when I just ask Him to show me what the purpose is, because then it would be more tolerable.

But that's not how faith works. 

He wants my full faith and trust in Him when the path looks dim (even pitch black) because He wants me to learn how to have peace and joy even in the midst of trial and to rest fully on Him.

And I just keep getting this feeling that He's up to something. He's preparing my hands and feet for battle. 

And so I've decided to make "Stand Firm" my motto during this season of my life. I want to rest in Him, yet stand firm in His Truth. He is Truth.

And I may not always feel like I can even stand. And there may be times when I don't even believe fully or trust fully (too many times, I'm afraid.) But I know that my Jesus helps me in my unbelief, and I know that there is still power in speaking the words of Truth even when I'm flat on my face on the ground in disbelief.

And so that is why this space has been so quiet lately. I've been spending extra time in quiet with my Lord, seeking Him, sinking His Truth deep into my heart, thinking upon eternal things. 

Pity or sympathy is not what I seek. I share because I want you to know the real me. Yes, I cook and craft and garden and crochet and knit and homestead. But I also cry and doubt and fall and struggle. It's all me. 

And I also write this because if there is even one who reads this who also struggles in this area that I struggle in, I want her to know that God sustains her even in the heavy dark when she feels like she's falling apart. I want her to know that her struggles have purpose and will produce fruit when she gives them to God. I want her to know that she's not alone. Feeling alone is horribly lonely and distressing. But you, dear, are not alone. And neither am I. So hang in there with me and our Father.

I pray that we would all fully experience the abounding and immeasurable love and grace of Jesus.

Psalm 144:1-2


Megan @ Restoring the Roost said...

Thank you so much for sharing - what a awesome, profound post. I too have struggled with anxiety and depression in the past, and when certain things happen that can trigger it then I end up struggling again at times. I definitely can empathize and know what a long dark road it can be. But it is so wonderful to have a God that carries us through!

Anonymous said...

As one that suffers from the same conditions Amber, know that you are not alone...give it all to HIM and He will give you rest! Continue to seek HIM and watch how you begin to feel better.

Praying that you will begin to feel more like yourself - the woman that you are meant to be! m.

Chelle said...

Thank you for this post. I needed it. I am struggling with that now too. I arm glad I'm not alone.

Chelle said...

Thank you for this post. I needed it. I am struggling with that now too. I arm glad I'm not alone.

living from glory to glory said...

Hello Amber, Your an amazing woman living in HIS strength. I am so glad to know your keeping very busy, yet quiet as you wait and seek. I will be praying for you daily.
Blessings, Roxy

Meg said...

I have been dealing with anxiety attacks since I was 8 years old. (I'm a bit older than that now. ;)) I have it pretty much under control, but I've noticed that if my diet gets out of whack (too much sugar and junk food) then it comes back. I hope you can get through it soon, and learn the lessons along the way!

Pam said...

You are very precious Amber, I have compassion on your struggle, and have prayed for you. Thank you for sharing your heart, I know that is not easy. Your testimony of living in His strength, and standing in Faith for His plans, keeping busy and standing firm proclaim the victory, even when it is
still feeling like the battle. Your light is shining.
Love and Blessings,

Our Neck of the Woods said...

Thank you for sharing this and opening up to us. I think you are on the right path with spending more time praying and just trusting God at the moment. There's really nothing more you can do. I will keep you in my prayers!

Theresa said...

I hope you feel better soon. It is frustrating as a Christian to deal with something that some Christians believe is not real. My own father chastised me for taking anti-depressants. A wonderful pastor of mine helped me to see that medication was for me what his eye glasses were for him...necessary for health.

Know you are not alone in this struggle.

A Primitive Homestead said...

My blog has been quiet for some time. I've just not had the joy I once had. My new norm is painful & lonely. Grief is a heavy coat to wear & the shoes I wear now are ones I'd love to give back. Depression loneliness & panic is my daily life. No GPS or book for dummies to find a way out. By faith I know God is carrying me but I can not feel it. Your words are encouraging. May these seasons in our lives come to an end as a new day dawns & Our Father leads & guides us on his path even thow our minds can not understand the season we're in.Blessings!

PrettyTallSewNSew said...

Thank you for posting this. I too deal with depression and anxiety from time to time. It's hard to just open up and talk about it because not everyone understands. I'm praying for you! *hugs*

Staci said...

I'm sorry to read this Amber. I can't even pretend to imagine what you are going through but you seem very brave and positive with the help of God. How wonderful of you to share this. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

Heather said...

I feel like we (your readers) are very blessed by your posts and your willingness to share so much. Thank you! Again!

I've struggled with anxiety myself--thought in recent months/years it's been kept at bay partly with the help of my fish oil/omega 3, vitamin B, and St. John's wort supplements. I once took anti-depressants but they caused more problems than they solved. It's hard! Treating the clinical side, the imbalance of chemicals in the brain, very tricky. And so, so frustrating when it feels out of control.

Even though I'm sure you're well aware of this verse, I just want to share one that brings me the most comfort on those days when I walk around with my stomach in anxious knots and my mind troubled:

"But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me." 2 Corinthians 12:9

I hope you have a great labor day!

Anonymous said...

your words are wonderful and helpful...and by the way, your photos are absolutely beautiful...thank you!

Sarah44 said...

Thanks so much for this post. I struggle with anxiety and sometimes feel pretty bad about myself. I do believe God loves me though and is there for me!