Today I talked with a mama friend who’s been anxious and scared for a long while. She’s tired of fighting this fight with her mind. I know this feeling so well.
There were days in the worst of my paralyzing paranoia where I wanted to just give up. I didn’t want to die, really, but I just didn’t have much fight left. I thought, if this keeps going, I can’t. I can’t do this.
The worst part was realizing what was wrong, fixing it, and then still nothing. I didn’t get better. At least not at first.
At some point early in the struggle, I knew the problem was rooted in soul neglect. Of course, add in the years of sleep deprivation, the disappointment and uncertainty of pastoring, friends moving and confusing career discoveries, scary news everywhere I looked, plus a depleted body and rapid hormone shifts, and it was a perfect storm. But isn’t this most women’s story? I seriously wonder how every mother doesn’t have a postpartum mental health challenge to overcome. But I digress.
I could feel something specific was wrong with me: my skeleton insides craved nourishment, silence, solitude, attention, God himself.
So I started doing something so very small, spending 15 minutes in a big chair in my living room, quiet and still, like David said to do in Psalm 131. I let my soul be a child, because it is after all, and slowly, painfully, there were less bad days and more good days.
The bad days would come though, and I would want to give up. I would claim I was always this way, that I was losing a battle. But the truth was, I wasn’t losing. I was winning. The bad days didn’t end in a second like I wanted, but I was gaining. Gaining weight on the bones of my soul, gaining insight on who I was and what I needed.
I was becoming myself again, although I barely recognized her at first.
During the worst of it, it felt like it took way too long to get healthy again. I wish it would’ve gone faster, but how could it have? It took weeks and months and years to get so sick, so how could I expect to be well again after a few hours of quiet? The sadness had been stacking up and so I had to stack up silence and healing to take place of the ill in my soul.
So if you’re feeling like it’s been taking too long and you’re still having more bad days than good days, I want you to keep doing the good things. Keep making room for yourself and God. Keep taking the anxious waters of your soul and letting them sit near the calm waters of God. Let the light in. Keep telling your story and remember to talk about all the work you’ve done and how far you’ve come. You need to remember that part more than anyone else needs to hear it.
You’re weeding your garden, pulling up the junk that grew without your permission and planting beautiful things instead. They’re underground now, and it seems like nothing is happening. But it is. But you can’t give up. Keep weeding, Keep planting. Soon you will feel strong and healthy and beautiful.