On Black Friday, in the middle of Target’s electronics department I had one of the biggest panic attacks I’ve had in a long time. And no, it wasn’t because it was over crowded. I didn’t go there during an obscene hour. I could probably count 15 people browsing the department. I don’t know what the trigger was. I just know my world changed in a heart beat and I froze. I tried to remember to breathe and I couldn’t. I tried to take a step and I couldn’t. My son sat in the wagon right in front of me and I couldn’t even focus on him. Tears rolled down my face and there was nothing I could do about it.
All of that lasted about 15 minutes. The incident sits in the forefront of my brain as if my brain is teasing me, “Look, Pearl, look! You’ve not conquered it at all.”
Truth be told y’all, life was kind of a struggle in November. I don’t know if it was because of the season change. Whatever the cause it’s been a battle with my depression and anxiety. I should have said we’ve battled. We, because when things get dark my husband has to battle right along side of me.
As I stood in the aisle of Target my husband took my hand. He didn’t tell me it was in my head. He didn’t push me to move. He didn’t make me feel like a complete fool for crying in public for really no reason. He just stood by my side and assured me we’d get through this together. And I did. After 900 seconds, but I got through it. I went home beaten and upset. A week before that I was encircled by 4800 times more people than that. I had people invading my personal space and not once did my heart stop, not once did I freeze, not once did I lose my breath. So, what was different this time?
Honestly, I don’t know. I probably will never know. But, I do know this:
I know, I know. So cliché. But, I spent the last two weeks looking at what I had to climb out of in November. I’m talking about crying myself to sleep, not wanting to eat, feeling uncomfortable around my friends, wanting to just stay home and hide under a blanket. When you’re rocked in darkness sometimes it’s hard to find just the littlest of strength.
If asked three years ago if I thought I could overcome my depression I’d have scoffed in your face. The pain was so raw, so sharp, so real that I would never have thought anything could get me out of it.
After last month I’ve concluded that I want to be a woman who tackles and overcomes her obstacles by faith instead of tiptoeing around them trying to find a way to get out on my own. Through November, even if I felt the way I did, I forced myself to church, forced myself to serve, forced myself to be anywhere but in the “comforts” of my crazy self. I prayed every day that God would keep me afloat until I was ready to let go.
So many times I focused on what my brain said:
You’ve already lost.
You aren’t strong enough to get through this.
Stop lying to yourself.
Just go home.
You are a coward.
No one cares, that’s why you’re doing it on your own.
You don’t have friends, remember?
God doesn’t love you.
Fight? Why? It’s easier this way.
I straddled believing and not believing. Then someone sent me this…
November was a grind it out, dig deep and figure out who I wanted to be kind of month. Did I want to be the old me or the one that keeps growing? Did I want to stay in a depressed and anxious state or be filled with peace and comfort? Did I want to shut myself out or be gracious for a new day?
Earlier this month I was at a tipping point. I stood at my desk at work crying texting my husband and letting him know how mangled my heart felt. I opened up, truly, without holding back. And you know what? When I was able to say, “Hey, so I’m going through this…” the world got brighter. When I was able to admit that I needed help a weight lifted. When I humbled my heart and told God I’ll stop being stubborn my heart felt lighter. When I stretched out my hand in faith I found strength.
Sometimes – well, honestly, most times – I forget that I just need to lean on God. I’ve been through enough in my 34 years to know it isn’t worth being a damn stubborn woman. I can’t do it on my own. I can’t. I tried. And I can’t. I’m not strong enough mentally, physically and spiritually to face this world alone. I need God. I need my husband. I need my tribe. There is no way around it. When I was finally able to understand I’m not strong enough then and only then did my faith step in and say, “But, I know who is.”
For the love of self I remembered my faith is all the strength I need. xoxo
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