To this day, I still have a fear of not measuring up when it comes to making and maintaining friends. I have a fear of my story never being enough, or of my pain never being painful enough to share with others. Little did I know that I became stoic, I didn’t want to bother others with my pain, sadness, or needs. I didn’t really notice my anxiety until attending one of my first college intensives. It was a week long class, in another state away from my family, a new experience. This was a counseling class meant to teach us techniques in counseling theories. I thought I was completely prepared for this class, the new adventure on my own was a willing one, and I looked forward to it.
Oh my goodness gracious!
I didn’t know what was happening to me by day three; I thought for sure I was done for. Though my instructors thought I was doing well, progressing with the class as a whole, I thought I was failing. One afternoon, I even found myself in tears in the bathroom about to have an anxiety attack. I prayed on my knees, begging God to help me though this feeling of pressure, of failing, of not being enough. Even with the wonderful friends I made on my trip, I began to negate my importance and wonder if their friendship with me was as important as it was with the other ladies. I, after all, had nothing special to give. To this day, I struggle with anxiety, compound this with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and there are days that I feel like I need to bury my head under my pillows. Imagine if you will, a mother of four and caregiver to an ill mother, leaned over the bed with her head buried under the pillow. I am like an Ostridge trying to get away from the anxiety, the fear, and the depression that compresses my heart, but I am still visible and needed. Imagine their faces as they try to understand what is going on with their mother, and why she thinks that no one else can see her.
I am a woman of faith. I believe that there is only one entity that can truly heal; I have come to learn this on my own accord without other's opinions. I have had the blessing of discovering my faith through a lot of self exploration and education, which has given me the gift of making up my own mind about what I believe in. I have seen the grace of God. I have seen how prayer makes a difference, and that pure coincide does not exist (at least not in my life). So, this whole thing with anxiety issues, depression, and struggling from PTSD should not even be a factor in my life, right? I even chuckle now as I write this, I am learning how to handle all of these demons little by little, and may have to continue fighting for the rest of my life.
I have learned that it is okay to ask for help, and I have sought out professional help to understand where I begin and my demons end. Some may wonder that if one believes in God, how can he or she suffer? Shouldn’t prayer be enough to whip someone into shape? Well, I am human and with my humanity is a back story, a fragile mind and heart. I may be a strong individual, I may care for a health failing mother, four children, a husband, and attend school, but I struggle. I repent to the Lord, and submit to the truth that I need to pray to him that I need to trust him, but I am still human. I fall short. God places individuals on this earth to help others, so as I mentioned previously, I went and sought someone out. It is not easy to be faithful and fight the human brain. There are days when life is like a tug of war, and I feel ashamed. There are days when I feel fine then something overwhelms me, and I feel anxious. I feel sad and scared when I drive down the road even though I have witnessed a true miracle. Little by little I have begun to learn who I am in context to the world that exists around me, but there are daily battles in the war my brain that started years and years ago. I am a continued work in progress.