I’ve seen a lot of posts lately about anxiety and depression. I am by no means writing “just another post on anxiety and depression” or saying that I know everything. But maybe just maybe this can help.See I have a lot of friends who struggle with this and it hurts my heart to see them struggle in the seasons of it. (Oh I should clarify something, it comes and goes and there is no schedule for it.) I find myself praying over them often.
Many may think it is silly for me to be writing on this topic because I am “Happy Go Lucky Leah Kate King!” and how could I possibly even grasp the surface of this struggle let alone be writing on it? Whelp, what if I told you that I’ve dealt with anxiety and the border of depression at points since I was about 13 years old? What if I took a moment to tell you that I was medicated all of high school and part of college taking different dosages at different points? What if I told you that if I didn’t have a brain tumor and Jesus didn’t make a way for me to get off medication I’d most likely still be on it? What if I told you that I never told anyone outside my family until I was in college about battling this because I feared their reactions to what I thought made me crazy? What if I told you there were several nights growing up where, though suicide was never a temptation, I still found myself asking the Lord “why and when do I get to be free from this?” even if that meant going Home?
I think by now most people are aware that anxiety and depression are very real if not may I be so bold to ask you to study up and leave naivety behind you? We have articles circling social media on these struggles, how to handle them even how your friends and family should handle you having them, but no one shares about the beauty of the struggles, where the Lord has met them in the midst of it, and how they choose to walk forward.
So if you will let me, I’d love the chance to share my story.
I was about 13 maybe a little younger when I started struggling with anxiety. It was paralyzing. Therefore, having the wonderful parents that I have, I was introduced to Dr. Farmer and Dr. Murphy. two men of whom the Lord would use to change my life forever. Dr. Farmer was a Christian counselor and Dr. Murphy an atheist/agnostic (I never figured that out fully) who would prescribe me medication and who I would gain a heart to pray for over the years. Those men are staples of my past because they walked with me through some of the darkest moments of my life granted it was their job but that does not change the fact that they were there. I developed coping skills throughout high school that helped me know the difference in what to worry about and what was silly to worry over. I eventually got to a point where even my family would forget I still struggled with this anxiety stuff. Once I headed to college anxiety and sometimes the border of depression would hit but mainly around finals, big exams, or stressful situations so I had a good grip on being prepared for the seasons of this lovely issue but that still did not eliminate the random unexpected seasons that it just came up and trust me those happened.
Once I was diagnosed with a brain tumor, my neurologist suggested me getting off my medication. I was terrified. I mean hello I already have anxiety, you just told me I have a life threatening brain tumor, and now you want me to get the meds?? ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? NO!!!!!!!!! NO! NO! NO. FLAT OUT NO. That was until I woke up one morning and didn’t take it. I can’t give any logical reason of why I didn’t but if you know anything of faith it isn’t always logical. I woke up one morning in 2013 and knew in my soul that I was done and other than one of my college final exam weeks I have not taken it. Call me crazy! I would.
See struggle is one thing, fighting is another, and yet beauty in the midst is a whole other thing. When something like anxiety and depression is in your life there are few things you or anyone else can do to make it ok. You can read all the books you want to make sense of it and people can encourage you left and right as they hopefully will always do but none of that changes the fact that this thing is real and prevalent in your life and it feels like no one will ever understand it like you do. But there’s one who does. You know its coming. This is truth and this is me writing. It’s Jesus. He gets it. He always has and always will. He is with you in it. Sometimes He frees people from it and sometimes it will forever be the nagging thorn in your flesh. That will never change the fact that He is with you and empathetically understands.
I used to hate the fact that I dealt with anxiety and at times bordered depression. I felt trapped and like I could only talk to my counselor, maybe a youth pastor, a mentor, or my family if I wanted to talk about it. I honestly believed that people wouldn’t understand and if they could not understand then they would think I was crazy but I wasn’t crazy. In fact, science and medical advances are showing now that it wasn’t that uncommon that I struggled with what I did. By the grace of God I now only struggle with the occasional anxiety of general life like “That cop might just be pulling me over. What I have a brain tumor?? What if this bridge breaks and I fall to my death. Oh and my absolute favorite. I am anxious and there is no reason why but I just am and today is not a good day to do anything.”
Now I am also fully aware that anxiety and depression effect people in different ways and have different severities that can even fluctuate depending on the season. What got me through all those nights and moments of this struggle was yes aided by meds because they numbed the feeling of anxiety and depression but most importantly the Lord. He got me through years of this. I still struggle with it from time to time but not like I used to and that is healing from the Lord. He is who I cried out to all those years. He is who walked me through all those seasons. He is who held me up when I felt like I was crumbling. He is who continues to do that in all areas of my life. The day really does come when you can wake up and say “though I have hated this, thank You Jesus for allowing me to fight this because You are near me when I am dealing with this. You fight for me when I cannot fight anymore. You are my strength when I am week. You cry with me as I am facing this. You are for me and not against me. I will trust You and allow this to push me to cling to You because You are my refuge. I will put my hope in You and rest in You whether You free me from my anxiety and (for me border of) depression or not because You are God and You are good and I will choose to believe in that truth
Soli Deo Gloria,