When my world falls apart as it did last week it is a different story.
I have suffered from depression and anxiety since I was a child. It was never diagnosed and I suffered along life's way trying to keep it under control. It was only 5 years ago that I recognised that I needed medication to keep my mind on an even keel. I am so glad that I did go on the medication because life is so much easier now without the mood dips, the sweats and gastro.
But this year I have a challenging class. I guess the worst I have had in 24 years. The kind that makes you self-doubt your teaching ability. The kind that makes you seek specialist help and to go to every behaviour seminar in the hope that you can glean the magic solution. The kind that wears you out, robs your joy and affects your ability to be a kind mother and wife. The kind that sucks the life out of you. Teachers out there will know what I mean.
Well after only have 2 good days this year with my class, long stressful days with little time off....last week I had a meltdown. I dissolved into tears at school, needing to go home. I felt that I couldn't do this anymore. It was just too much.
My meltdown shocked me. I knew I was stressed but didn't realise how stressed I was. I knew I was tired and I was feeling a little sick but thought I could suck it up and keep on going. But my body and mind said NO.
It was an instant slide down into the depression and anxiety. I had headaches and earaches, and stayed in bed for 2 days and slept. I didn't want to be a mother or be a wife. I didn't want to deal with anything. I didn't care about anything. I just wanted to sleep.
After those two days the light bulb went off in my head and I realised what was happening and I knew I had to be proactive or I would spiral down into that black hole, where I had been many years before.
So I got up out of bed and my husband and I thought about all the things that I like to do, that I hadn't done for a long time.
We went to the beach and had fish and chips on the beach and I lay on the sand feeling the sun on my body. We had my favourite pancakes and maple syrup at McDonald's for breakfast. We went for a walk in a forest. The kids and I baked cookies together. I spent the day cuddling our puppy. After these things I was starting to feel a little better but not back to normal.
We then went and bought some new gardening equipment - in years past when I have been really stressed, I have pruned trees which has an amazingly medicinal impact on my mind. So for hours I cut, sawed, pruned, weeded - I ended up with swollen hands...but my brain finally felt ok again! I smiled.
The final part of my self- therapy was to go to the zoo with my family. The zoo we went to had my favourite animal - zebras. The happiness in my mind was dramatic. I also talked to the camels, the koalas and the other animals. I took heaps of photos - another favourite activity. We walked for 5 hours and even though my new sneakers hurt my feet, I didn't care. My mind was back in that area of happiness.
I knew I had come out of the other end of this episode.
During this episode I knew I had to pray to God. I knew I should be praising God....but instead I went mad at God.
I had applied for a few jobs both within education and outside of education last year and this year, and God had said no to these. I knew He wanted me to teach this class.
But this class was killing me! I whinged and whined to God. He was the one who wanted me there and I told Him that He had better sort it out because I was suffering!
You know what image and message I kept seeing in my mind?
Jesus suffered way more than this for you.
Even though I still wanted to grumble....this message kept coming back into my mind.
I felt ashamed and I told God that I understood... but I was feeling so low that I didn't know how to get my mind back to normal. I asked God for forgiveness and I asked him to help me to get out of my depression and anxiety because I didn't know how to. I gave my problem to God and left it at his feet.
And God did provide answers.
* He brought friends on Facebook who also suffered from depression and anxiety to minister to me.
* He showed me that some of my children were missing me and had presents waiting at school for me when I got back.
* He spoke to me and told me to swap my days at work so I didn't have to teach 3 days in a row. I now teach Monday, Tuesday and Friday...which will provide more rest, therefore lessening my fatigue...therefore hopefully helping me psychologically to go to work.
Christianity is easy when life is good. But Christianity is also for when life is bad. God does not abandon us. He is there and even though we can't see him, we must continue to pray, praise and trust. He does listen and He does answer our prayers.
© 2012 by Jenny Woolsey
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