I’ve probably said stuff like this before but earlier this year when I decided wasn’t going back to the university program I was in, I began to feel really excited for my future, like I just knew good stuff was gonna happen and it was coming and that’s a big deal.
Why is that a big deal? Well in the latter half of grade twelve and until after the new year after graduation I went through a period of what I can only call depression. I’m loathe to call it that because I know the connotations and the mentalities often paired with mental illness. I also know what I suffered was very light depression compared to what many people have to go through and for that I am grateful, but when you’re in it, when you’re in it, it does not feel “light”.
I don’t know what caused me to spiral down into where I landed part way through grade twelve but I suspect it was the fact that this was a last year and big changes were coming and I had no clue, literally no clue what I wanted to do. I am a person who craves structure (and with that often comes a need for control) and not knowing what was going to happen FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE freaked me out and as I went through the year still not knowing what I was doing and having nothing I could dig up peak my interest, I allowed myself to shut down.
Shut down? Well, often when emotions intimate me, I’ve allowed my mind to get into the habit of shutting them down. I push the problem out of the way and ignore it. This creates indifference (can’t see it, don’t need to bother with it. It’s no longer there), and then if it’s something important, when the deadline arrives, this method of coping results in a panic and if it’s bad enough, a full-fledged anxiety attack. I’ve only ever had three anxiety attacks that I can think of and I NEVER want to go through that again. The only way I can explain it is something explodes. The emotions that have been shut down and blocked out suddenly… pop. and everything explodes. Sound is extreme, light is extreme, people can’t talk-shouldn’t talk, there’s just sound and crying and panic and breathing, breathing is really loud and hard to do, and nothing makes sense and my mind stops registering anything and the worst thing you can EVER do if this is happening is ask me “what’s wrong?” I don’t know, that’s part of the problem, I just don’t know what’s going on. Something has become the last drop in the emotional pool to knock down the wall and all the hidden emotions are coming out.
That was a sidenote, sorry. (But seriously, the best thing you can do for someone having an anxiety attack, at least one like that, is just sit down and wait it out. Be there. Don’t talk, just be there. When they’re ready, they’ll talk. Don’t ask, don’t probe. Wait, and then listen. Once they’re done, think before you speak, if you are a person of faith, then you pray what God wants you to say then and there, because if that person just opened up to you that way they’re being extremely vulnerable and they’re are going to remember what you say and if you begin telling them what they’re feeling is wrong in any way, you’ve lost and they’re going to shut back down and think twice before opening up to you again. Be there and CARE)
Oh look, another sidenote. On a lighter note, depression… erm, uhh, nevermind.
So that year was hard because I shut down emotions and told next to no one what I was going through because I really didn’t understand it myself so how could I explain it to them and ask them to help me? To me I simply felt hopeless and indifferent all the freakin time and let me tell you, that is a crap way to live your life.
(In hindsight, just tell an adult you trust, they will be able to help. I mean I don’t know that from experience but I can imagine that’s a lot easier then suffering through it alone. At least then someone else knows and you don’t have to fake happy-and-normal with everyone)
I think what also allowed me to get so far down the spiral was that I stopped doing daily devotions and I stopped really pressing into God. I’ve heard a preacher say you can never stand still in your relationship with God. You’re either going forwards or you’re going back. I know I wasn’t going forwards in my relationship with God, so that means I spent a whole year backsliding and having pity parties. That’s a bad state of mind to be in. I don’t remember what happened but one day it was like something clicked and I realized “I don’t have to live like this…” and so I stopped.
I think that’s what makes many people doubt what I went through was real, the fact that it finished so fast, the fact that I could literally “snap” out of it. I am not saying, “get a grip, you can just snap out of it” to people. It was a mindset change. Like I said, something clicked. I don’t know what it was but in that moment it was like a little bit of hope came back. It didn’t have to be like this. This wasn’t all there was to life.
I never suffered suicidal thoughts but one thing I often prayed was “God, if this is life, it’s not worth it.” I’m not sure if I was accusing him, or just letting him know that’s how I felt, but I still agree with the statement, if that was life it wasn’t worth it. Thankfully, that’s not life.
The last year has been tough. I’m still getting back to where I was with God before it all happened and I’ve still never talked to anyone expect a couple friends (actually, maybe only one…) in this much detail about that year, so sometimes I think I’m trying to do it too much on my own but I still have a very hard time opening up to people (seriously, posting this is tough but telling it to someone in person… I mean I don’t want to say impossible, but…). I’m relearning how to read my Bible. I’m trying to get that foundation because I want it so bad. I want there to be a God who wants to have a relationship with me, I want to know him, I want there to be hope, I want there to be salvation. I need it. I don’t just want it, I NEED it, because life without that, it isn’t worth it. It just feels empty and hollow and bleak. Very bleak…
So I’ve been excited and hopeful for what’s to come for the first time in a long time and a few months ago it was decided that my church was going to restart and revamp it’s post-secondary Bible school from when I was a kid and as soon as I heard that I knew, yes, that was what my next year was going to be. It was going to happen if it happened based on my desperate prayers alone and I was the only student. And it’s happening guys, it’s happening and I’m really excited. I’m going to be getting theological training, and mentorship, and church ministry practicum, and I’m going to learn so much and grow so much in my relationship with God and I can’t wait! I know it’s going to be frightening and I’m going to have to learn to open up to people and I’m going to have to let go of a lot of control problems but I’m, well not ready, but I’m waiting in anticipation and I’m probably as ready as I’ll ever be!
I’m excited. I’m really excited that I AM excited. This is new. This is a new beginning, and it’s going to be good.