When I came to head with the blows of depression my senior year of high school, it was just the beginning of dealing with and learning about mental illness. At the time I thought to have anxiety was to have panic attacks. The most severe outward expression was what I pictured. But just like with depression, I’m learning it takes on many forms of outward physical tolls. More often than not, the two feed on one another. Pin pointing the underlying issue can be rather difficult.
Today anxiety ruled the majority of my day. Objectively speaking, my life is blessed and stress free. Currently I don’t have a job. I’m engaged to be married in five months to my best friend. I live rent and worry free under my parents household. I don’t not have a job because I don’t want to. My fiancé knows me well. Right now, it just isn’t in the cards. He’s stepped up to the plate in support in all the ways he can and knows how.
My goal today was this: get out of bed earlier then noon, shower, eat a good breakfast, be on time for our meeting with my counselor. Today was also the day our cleaning lady comes. Yes , my parents have a cleaning lady. They work so hard in order to have this help and she does a fantastic job. For some reason, and some days more than others— it’s harder to surface from my room when she’s here. There’s some awkwardness. A language barrier. I feel shame. While she’s cleaning the house I live in, I’m held up in my room when she’s probably been up since 5:00 am. My head deals with the assumptions and it spirals out of control. To the point where I’m stuck sitting on my bed trying to work up the nerve simply to walk to the laundry room to get a towel. Yes, a towel folks. A mere five steps from my bedroom. My depression can keep me in bed, my anxiety in my room.
When I finally do, I’m running short on time. I do the bare minimum of drying my hair on a hair cut I’m picking apart and throw my go to hat on. I quickly jump in the car to pick up John and am halfway there when blue lights flash behind me. Crap. I knew I was speeding. I’d slowed down a good half a mile before I got to him. Today wasn’t the day he was gonna let it slide. I wait for my citation and frantically search for my proof of insurance. Much like the way the day was going already, I could only find an expired one. Thankfully he only gave me a warning for the expired insurance and I drove away with my little dignity to an appointment I was now thirty minutes late for and a court date for my speeding ticket. Holding in the ugliness from radiating around me was nearly impossible. After being short with an officer who was simply doing his job, I remained as silent as possible as John held my hand in route.
We spent the thirty minutes we had with Vickie (my counselor )productively. Caught her up on stressors, wedding plans and how our communication was. I drove away with John in tow breathing easier and reflecting on how I dealt with my anxiety. Naturally I was tempted to berate myself. Everything could have gone so differently if I would have pushed against the nerves sooner. Swallowed pride and shot down the lies anxiety stirred. This time I simply told myself “next time I’ll do better”. My body is tired from how wound it’s been. And coming down from that isn’t just mental. Your brain can be doing better. You can fight off the lies. The issue is, your body still feels the aftermath.
On the way home I admitted to John I was not up to band practice tonight. He knew already and agreed it wasn’t best. John and I are on a new venture together! A church plant out of Greenbrier. John has been asked to step in and help with worship. I reluctantly told a member I’d be on board to sing. The desire was there but I hadn’t healthily sorted through the “am I ready for this?” questions. While I’m kicking myself for speaking and agreeing before thoroughly thinking it through, tonight I’m typing away abundantly thankful for God’s grace and in that John’s grace to me. Anytime I have a day like today He’s quick to gracefully tell me “Babe, this is what I signed up for. I’m not going anywhere.”
I share these rather personal struggles transparently for this reason: to tell you it’s okay if you’re not ready for the next “big” step. Whether you struggle with anxiety or you’ve just had a rough day. Whether you struggle with depression or you’re going through a rough season circumstantially . Our Father does not expect us to go big or go home. Our Father expects us to realistically, healthily, and gracefully find where He would have us in the now. To be even more transparent, I’m certainly not implying he intends for you a life of comfort and ease. Making steps to the next big thing is great! Just give yourself some grace when it doesn’t go the way you think it ought to. The best take away from failing to deal with anxiety (or your run of the mill bad day) is acknowledging the short comings you may or may not have made aloud, and being okay with it enough to move past it. When you are uncomfortably sorting through that, it’s a good sign your on the right path.
When all your feelings come crashing to a head and you’ve seemingly lost control of your emotions— it is okay to step back and say “I can’t commit to this right now”. One of the best things a healthy relationship, a healthy church, a healthy marriage , a healthy life can have is the self awareness to know what you’re ready for and what you aren’t. By no means does it demean what Christ has for you or say He isn’t enough. He has equipped us each with all we need for life and godliness. The beautiful thing is, we are all at a different places in that journey. And each of those journey’s are uniquely tragic, joyful and beautifully woven. Press on dear heart. Being all in where He has you doesn’t mean being all in , in every possible facet. It means having the maturity, responsibility and discipline to know what He’s equipped you with for this season. And like it did for me today, His grace will cover you or’ and or’.
Also, slow down. You’re already late. No need to get a ticket on the way.
You are already but not yet.
With all my mess and all my love,
Rebekah (soon to be) Williams