(Note from Lyssa: I began this post four months ago; not sure why I never finished it. Probably the adrenal fatigue "brain fog" interfered. Thankfully, I don't feel quite that wretched physically any more. My body has made the progress I wish my mind would make.
But here it is now. And here am I, still clinging to what I know is true: my God is good. My God is faithfully working all things together for good.)
So, it's been a rough couple of months. I feel "not good" about 75% of the time. On really bad days it's more like 90%, and what passes for a great day is more like 25% "not good." We talk in percentages because it's so much easier than saying, "Well, I had a bad night and woke up with the worst headache I've ever had, but pulled it together about ten a.m. Then after I ate lunch I felt good for about 15 minutes and then dizzy and lightheaded for three hours. I had an anxiety attack in the carpool lane after school, but by the time we got home I was fine again. I wanted to puke making dinner but it passed in about a half hour, until I had to take that pill that makes my blood feel like it's burning me. When is bedtime, again?"
I've spent a lot of time sleeping, a lot of time trying not to panic about the future, and a lot of time just wondering what in the world will bring this utterly annoying and exasperating time in my life to an end, so I can get on with things.
The truth? Things aren't going so hot. The longer this season drags on, the more I realize this may be something I have to deal with for the rest of my life. Yet, God is still good.
It's been hard to keep my focus on what I know is true, when anxiety-caused depression lies to me at every turn. I've never been more aware of the spiritual battle being fought behind the scenes. It's not the clashing of swords that fills my ears, but the whispered lies and twisted truths that attack me when I'm down. And as fast as I can beat one away, another takes its place.
Anxiety asks, what if it's like this forever?
Depression whispers, it WILL be like this forever.
What is the truth here? It may be I struggle with this humbling thorn in my flesh until Jesus comes. Who am I that I should be immune to trials and sorrow? No one gets through this life without scars and heartache. It could be this, it could be something else. Any weakness only serves as a setting for His grace to shine. "Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." -- 2 Cor.12:9.
The truth is, I may not be ready to "glory" in this illness yet, but I can look for the good in it, and hope for someone else to be blessed by the way I choose to handle it.
Anxiety asks, my beautiful life is slipping away, what if it never comes back?
Depression whispers, your life is gone for good and it won't ever come back.
What is the truth here? I will never regain what I once held so tightly, and I honestly don't want to. It wasn't good for me and it so often didn't honor God. But there's a good life, a quieter one, yes, but one that brings glory to God in so many more ways than the glitzy Instagram existence I chased after.
The truth is, I wanted all the blessings without having to honor and obey the God from Whom they flowed. If that's what my life before illness consisted of, then it is better lost.
Anxiety says, I'm trying so hard and I just can't make these changes.
Depression whispers, quit trying so hard. Nothing will change.
What is the truth here? I can do all things through Christ, Who strengthens me. I must make the effort even when I don't see progress. I can never stop the struggle against sinful thoughts, against the terrible, ingrained pride that stops me from seeking help. And His all-sufficient grace will keep giving me the strength to continue even though the journey is long and the pathway is hard.
The truth is, I can't make these changes alone. It is not within my feeble powers to fight the good fight by myself and never has been. This illness just shone a light on that fact. But His strength shows up in all its perfection in my lowest, weakest moments.
Friend, will you pray for us? Pray for healing, yes, by all means. But pray that those of us who struggle with anxiety and depression will be covered in the day of war, as we fight a battle not of our choosing. Pray that we will be strengthened to respond with praise and trust and obedience instead of fear and discouragement and sin.
Pray for us to be spiritually and emotionally empowered to focus on what we know is true.
Our God is good. Our God is faithfully working all things together for good.