Its been awhile since I’ve had a moment to really dig deep and look inside my soul. I used to do this often and it’s so healing for me to write in this way, however, I’ve found myself much more busy than I care to admit, often to a point of being overwhelmed, which is a feeling I try to avoid at much cost.
Currently, I’m sitting on my bed, light streaming in all around while my life sits in boxes. The big kids are cleaning up/out their room and the littlest love is in her crib rocking away. (she should be sleeping)
I think back to my teenage years; they were angsty and filled with some of the best music, I might argue. I spent so many days in my room, listening to music sitting on my bed, much how I am sitting now and I know when it starts to begin. Where life starts to swirl around me. Everyone is moving. And yet here I sit, in the middle of my bed, even the blink of my eye seems to move in slow motion.
A familiar song plays.
‘Down in a hole.
Losing my soul.
Down in a hole.
I’d like to fly, but my wings have been so denied.’
And I am undone. There’s nothing to do, but sit here and allow the words to wash over me. Another songs plays.
“Oh now feel it, comin’ back again
Like a rollin’, thunder chasing the wind
Forces pullin’ from
The center of the earth again
I can feel it.”
I can feel it. I can literally feel it. The pain. The anxiousness. The breathing slows. I am rendered silent. All I can do is type. While it can be easy to admit I struggle with anxiety or even depression, it’s been another thing altogether to call it “mental illness.” It feels like an exaggeration but on days like today, it’s certainly a reality.
Hole’s song “Doll Parts” plays. I can relate to feeling like a deconstructed doll. Doll eyes. Doll arms. Doll head. Doll heart. Everyone always wanting something. I just want to breathe freely.
I’ve gotten a few questions recently on the topic of mental illness I thought I would answer. I’ll continue to answer as best as I can, so feel free to ask as I am always an open book.
What do I do when it’s all overwhelming?
I try to be extra gentle with myself. I don’t expect others to be extra gentle, outside of my immediate family. I try to do what I can to identify my need: a run, sleep, declutter, a bath, an acoustic grunge session, allowing myself to cry, a good sermon, a book, prayer. All of these can be deeply helpful. Some of them at the same time.
Currently, it’s an acoustic jam session of MTV unplugged: Alice in Chains, Blind Melon, Cranberries, Nirvana, Radiohead, REM. I’ll get out of bed when the baby wakes up. We’ll sit in the sunshine while I drink tea and let the warm rays attempt to defrost my anxious heart.
Will I tell my kids?
They know. We’ve lived with each other for almost 9 years now. When it’s time, I’ll tell them, but they know my need for quiet, order, and laughter aren’t just wants. Someday it will make sense to them and I’ll explain it in a way their tender hearts can understand and not feel overwhelmed or burdened by my own issues.
Shouldn’t I just pray more? Are there things I need to give to God?
We live in a broken world. Everyday there are things I should pray for and release to the Lord and I certainly do. I take great comfort in knowing that the one I believe to be the author of life is ultimately in control. I believe one day there will be no more hurt, suffering, or pain. Until then, I wake up each day, doing the best I can, leaning into God as best as can and committing my days to his will.
Do you take medication?
Yes, I take an antidepressant and an anti-anxiety medication. They work together really well as I struggle with both, however lately, I felt like they aren’t working quite as optimal. Changes are coming- a combination of lifestyle+medication.
I recently read a thought-provoking article about the brain differences in the amygdala between those of us with anxiety and someone without it and how our brains process fears.
You may enjoy the read. Do you struggle with anxiety? How do you cope? Know that you aren’t alone. Mental illness isn’t discriminatory. It affects people from all backgrounds, walks of life, religious beliefs. I’ll be thinking of you, as you seek peace for your soul and I hope you think of me as well.