N.B. If I'm entirely honest I have no idea why I have chosen today of all days to write a blog. It's been pretty uninteresting.
I can't believe it's been so long since I have poured my mind out on here. Way back in August, when I took the kids to Soul Survivor, I was in a particularly vulnerable place. I had completed a week of mission at the church I work for, and it had been an absolute success, but the effort of spending so much time around so many people had really taken it out of me. I spent a week in bed/ not doing much in order to recover and then whipped off to Soul Survivor with a load of teenagers ready for God to do some awesome stuff. I always have that expectation at Soul Survivor, no matter how wrong it is, that something will connect with me (or with the young people) more so than a normal church service or bible study or spending time with Christian friends. Everything just seems so much... more.
Anyway, the theme of the week's teaching was about friendships & relationships (with God and with others). At first it didn't particularly strike me or affect me but there was one particular moment, during the ministry time in one of the evening sessions that got to me. I tend to try and keep my own emotions and feelings in check when watching over the teenagers, but this particular moment I could do nothing but curl up into a ball on the floor and cry my heart out. I was touched by young people (past and present) coming over to pray for me, but it was then in that moment that I decided to trust in God to heal me of the thoughts, feelings and mental health issues I had been having up until that moment in my life. I wanted so much to rid myself of all the darkness that clouded my soul, wanted God to shine a torch into all my dark places and just clean everything out. I made a decision, however wisely or not, to stop taking my anti-depressant medicine that had over previous months worked it way up to the maximum dose. I felt I just needed to trust.
My lack of withdrawal symptoms for the first few weeks I took as a sign I was doing the right thing. I enjoyed two whole weeks with Dan, adventuring in the Lake District for a week, and then seeing friends and family in and around Essex. When September 1st came around, I thought I was prepared for whatever the world was going to throw at me. How very wrong I was.
Things at work and home quickly got stressful, upsetting, and a number of things threw me off the track I thought I was sailing down. My so-called recovery ground to a gut-wrenching halt, and I was suddenly taking tender baby steps each day, just to keep myself from going back to relying on drugs to keep my mood stable. The withdrawal symptoms I had experienced last time I stopped taking my medication came thick and fast, broken sleep, exhaustion, vivid dreams, tearfulness... I began arguing with everyone and anyone, I started taking everything personally, because sensitive to everything, and once again began crying to myself whenever I was alone. And still I put off going back to the GP. I had, in the summer, planned to go back to her and announce myself cured by the power of the Almighty. All of a sudden, the doubts began to creep in, and I found myself more than once heading towards the GP surgery to make an appointment before dragging myself home to bed again. I decided I would wait until this darkness had passed, and I was truly better, before going back.
A month later, and the improvements have been slow. The symptoms of depression have slowly taken over the withdrawal symptoms, and no matter what I do to try and motivate myself, every day is a struggle. My bad moods are a vicious cycle, causing me to withdraw from many around me, which makes me feel worse, which makes me less likely to want to spend time with people. I have been forced to make some decisions that have made me feel worse, but that I know are best in the long run. I have done some stupid things in lame attempts to make myself feel better. I have tried to guard my broken heart by avoiding those who may damage it further, but in doing so have cut out some special relationships from my life. I know only too well that anything good comes at a cost, and right now it is a cost I am not willing to take; that I just can't afford to take.
I know He that is in me is stronger than these tears, these nightmares, this darkness that is drowning me. Every day when I wake up and feel the same heaviness sitting on my chest, I yearn for the peace that I know only God can give. I will not let go of my Saviour because the depression is shouting louder. It's hard. It's bloody hard. And I am not strong. I am a feeble, pathetic excuse for a human. But I will not let the doubts take me from me what He has promised. My prayer now remains the same as it was on that night in August - "Jesus, set me free."