Friday, October 31, 2008

A year ago...

A year ago.

A year ago today.

A year ago today.
I was sitting in the hospital.

A year ago today.
I was in the middle of my stay on the mental health unit.

A year ago today.
I was at the tail end of the toughest day I’d had there yet.

I was discharged from the hospital on Friday, November 2, 2007. My husband and I had a short lunch, and then went to my first meeting with my counselor, Tricia.

After a few moments of small talk, Tricia just came out and asked me, “So, what brings you here?”

As I wasn’t sure how much she had read up on my file from the hospital (I didn’t know if she had any of that info yet), I told her that I was just released from the hospital, because the previous weekend I had been determined to kill myself.

She asked about my past, about my family, my growing up years, college, etc. and I pretty much told her everything about myself. At the end of the session she said that she was surprised that I was that open with her in my first session. I told her at the time, that I had just come from the hospital, where really I had no choice but to be honest about everything I was thinking and feeling. I was still in that mode and it was much easier to talk to her about everything at once and get the door open.

In that short time of our first session together, I felt safe with her, and felt like I could really talk to her and she was really listening.

At the end of our session, she prayed with me. Then we stood up, and she offered me a hug. At that point, I knew that I wasn’t going to have look any further than her for a counselor.
After having several appointments with only a few days in between, I started seeing her once a week for an hour. At times when things got intense, we moved to 90 minute sessions. Through many ups and downs, steps forward and steps back (including another hospitalization), I am now seeing her once every other week, for an hour, with hopes to move out more than that…. Soon.

Through all this time, God helped me open up to her, helped me open up to Him. He used Tricia to teach me how to cope and then, not just cope, but how to actually survive and live day to day. Then not just survive and live day to day, but how to flourish and grow, in hope, love and joy.

It wasn’t easy. It took a long time. It took a lot of trust in God, and a lot of trust in Tricia to stay the course and go where they led me. I have had many times this past year where I haven’t wanted to live. Where I have just wanted to quit, to give up, to stop fighting. But God never gave up on me. He gave me everything I needed to get through, when I needed it.

I have been tired. I have been hurt. I have been depressed. I have been anxious, overwhelmed by fear…. some of this all at the same time.

I have gone through so many different emotions, from anger, fear, betrayal, rejection, despair; to peace, love, happiness, joy, excitement, amazement, freedom.

I am a different person than I was last year. I am dreaming dreams, hoping hopes, catching a whiff of God’s vision for the future. I realized that I can stand on my own without ultimately depending on anyone but God.

That doesn’t mean that I don’t need other people. I depend on my husband and kids, but they don’t define me. I can have close friends without overwhelming them, without putting them on a pedestal, without “becoming” someone I’m not, so I can be “ok.”

I may have a dependent personality, but it doesn’t have to rule my life and relationships. I can transfer that dependency to God.

I may have a melancholic personality. All that means that things touch me deeply. When I get hurt, it hurts deeply. When I love, I love deeply. When I feel any emotion, I feel it so deeply it becomes part of me.

Tricia pointed out to me at one point that King David had a melancholic personality. He felt deeply, loved deeply, sinned deeply, repented deeply, lived life to the full. (Maybe that is why I am drawn to the Psalms so much…)

The depth of feelings that I have are not a bad thing. They are good. As long as I keep my focus on God, and allow Him to help me deal with them. For me, still battling to come out from under all the lies I have believed, I have to truly live the verse from 1 Peter 1:13.

“Therefore prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.”

I need to stay prepared. Stay alert. Keep my mind focused on God. Fill my heart with His truth. When I get tired, and discouraged (as I am tonight) I need to look back and see the amazing things He has done. I need to set my hope on the grace He will give to me, the grace He has given me.

I have had to look back over this past year, and just remember where I was at this time last year. To really remember what I was thinking and feeling, the shame, hopelessness and despair… not to dwell on it, but to remind myself of where I was, so I can see where I am now.
Right now the point isn’t to think about the details of the struggles during this past year. The ups and downs of the year isn’t the focus.

Right now, I am seeing a snapshot of that terrified, exhausted, despairing, hopeless girl, ready to kill herself to get out of her misery, sitting in the office of a counselor she’d never met - baring her soul, not knowing what else to do in 2007.

Right now I am seeing a snapshot of a young woman, wife and mother, who is going to be leading the worship team in church this weekend, feeling freedom, joy, hope, even in the midst of some struggles at the moment. I see a woman who has been given some dreams by God in 2008.

I don’t know what will become of those dreams. All I know is that I have to follow God and He will take care of the rest.

When I am tired. When I feel like I don’t want to struggle anymore, and just want to give into the lies again…

Well, this was the verse that came to me tonight as I was writing this… in my fatigue, and in the struggle right now I am having with some depression that wants to steal the joy, energy, and victory from me…

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
Matthew 11:28-30 (emphasis mine)

No comments: