I kept asking myself,
"Am I having a nervous breakdown?
If I am then how do I know?"
I haven't slept good at night in many years. If I tried to pinpoint my when my sleep problems started I would have to say my junior year in high school. That is when I began being plauged by nightmares almost every single night. That lasted until around the time I began college, when at that point they began to lessen. It was several more years before they faded off to what I would call normal. And by "normal" I mean once or twice a week.
Starting college, while it brought some relief in regards to the nightmares, it brought on a whole new set of problems. Very soon after I began my first semester of my freshman year I began to struggle with depression. I had never dealt with this before, so it took a little while to pinpoint what the problem was. And then even longer to accept that I was actually,(in my point of view), a number. I had read the statistics of how many people suffer from clinical depression. I did not want to be one of those people. I thought that I was stronger than that. By the time I was 18 I had dealt with alot of adversity. Never once did I lose sight of my faith or question God and His goodness. I just kept on going. I was pretty judgemental towards those who I thought were weaker than I. I don't know if my freshman year in college was all of that junk catching up with me or if it was other things, but I began to struggle big time. If any of you have ever struggled with depression you know that it brings on sleep issues of its own.
I spent the rest of my college years bouncing between depression, substance abuse, a couple of bad bad relationships, or a combination of the three. Why I didn't sleep well during those years is pretty much self explainatory.
I'm way past college, but I still don't sleep well. It usually isn't that I have a problem falling asleep. The problem is that I toss and turn and wake up pretty much every hour. The past few weeks my sleeping problems have worsened. I have been waking up in the night with anxiety. The anxiety keeps me wide awake. I either end up having to get up and start my day(that has sometimes been at 4am), or if it is so ridiculously early that I can't exactly start my day(say, 1:00am), then I just lay there and pray.
It has taken several years for me to be able to put a name with my feelings. Now that it is named I still haven't been able to beat it. I have a protocol: distraction, deep breaths, happy thought, praying. All of these things have worked pretty well as coping mechanisms in the past. So far, though, nothing seems to be working with the night time anxiety. It can be very frustrating.
When I was pregnant with Treyson and I found out about the complications I thought, "This is going to be a rocky ride." I thought that I'd be a nervous wreck. It didn't quite work out that way. While there were moments of worry and anxiety, the four months from when I found out about his problems up until his birth was the most peace I have felt in my entire life. I know a HUGE part of that was all the many many people that prayed so faithfully for us. I don't know if I could have functioned with out those prayers. The other cause for such peace was the fact that I totally and completely put the entire situation in God's hands. It was beyond me. I allowed myself to rest in His peace and be carried by the prayers of the saints. In the weeks following Treyson's birth and passing, that peace slipped away, and the anxiety returned. We seemed to be faced with one obstacle after another and sometimes it was easier to let yourself hurt and be angry, than it was to sit back, rest in God's comfort, and trust Him.
Philippians 4:6 says, "Do not be anious about anything". It doesn't say, "try not to be anxious". It says, "DO NOT be anxious for ANYTHING". I understand this and I don't want to be anxious and I feel like I am doing everything in my power not to be...but I still am. The really frustrating part is when I'm laying in bed asking, praying, begging God to take it away. For a while I feel like He has been just sitting there, watching me suffer, watching me plead, but not doing anything. I KNOW that God does not enjoy watching me suffer and that He truly cares about every intricate detail of my life. But there are times when He seems so apathetic to me. I keep trying my best to give it to Him and He won't take it!
I want to scream, "Why won't you just take it?! Haven't I suffered enough?! Didn't I tell you over and over again that inspite of everything that I've gone through I still trust you?! Yet it feels like you have completely abandoned me. I trust you, so just take it already! Why? Why? WHY?"
I know that I am still growing and learning about God and His nature and who He is. But I know enough to know that God is most absolutely not just sitting back watching me suffer and not caring enough to intervene the way that I want Him to. He suffers with me every second that I do and catches every tear that falls. Even when I feel like I'm alone and that He isn't listening. I am so glad that who God is isn't based on how I feel. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever, no matter what I think or how I feel. I'm at the point where I have to choose to trust what I know and not how I feel. Feelings lie.The rest of that verse in Philippians and the one following says,
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the pace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
So that is what I have been trying to do when I feel anxious. Present my requests to God with thanksgiving. I'm still waiting on that peace which transcends all unstanding to guard my heart and mind. For now it is my thorn in the flesh. I know that without it I would probably try to handle my life on my own, since I don't feel like He was doing such a great job and I didn't really like the direction it seemed to be headed with Him being the one in control. But my burden, the burden that is much to heavy for me to carry alone, causes me to return to His feet.
Today has been a much better day. My burden has not been lifted,(I have come to terms with the fact that it may be a long time before that happens), but it is bearable. With the circumstances in my life the way that they currently are, bearable is good enough for me.
I added a Casting Crowns video at the bottom of this post. This song has ministered to me many times in the past several months. The words portray where my heart is right now. No matter the circumstances I still choose to praise Him. (Before you play the video scroll down to the bottom of the page and pause the music.)