I have fully accepted myself, flaws and all, so now I am comfortable talking about my mental health in hopes of helping others!! I am writing this with hopes that someone struggling will read it and reach out; to God, a church, a friend or even me! Even if you aren't religious at all and need help, reach out. God instructed us to love all people, not just other Christians. Please know that you are loved. You are wanted. The Lord hears you and cares for you.
I have pretty much always struggled with anxiety and confidence issues. It got really bad in high school and into college. But I hid it from so many people because I wanted to seem perfect. I didn't want to have a mental issue. I didn't want anyone to have a reason to bully me or talk down on me. I questioned so much why I couldn't just be happy, why I couldn't just be normal. With the help of my man Jesus Christ, my therapist and Holley Gerth (an amazing writer) I can finally say I feel like I have a hold on my anxiety and have learned to love myself exactly the way I am!!
I know now that my mental struggles are a part of me for a reason. I am now able to empathize with people and love people through their dark days so much better. If being open with my mental health struggles can help even one person, it's worth it for me.
I have always been a religious person because I was raised in the church. My family created a home that "loved-because-God-loves" type of environment (which was amazing.) Moving away from home, your faith becomes more independent. I was able to figure out my relationship with God, what works best for me and how I best feel Him in my life.
In the summer and fall of 2017, I was creeping into a very, very low point. It may sound dumb to some on how much I let it affect my life, but changing my major flipped my life upside down. I had everything planned down to my graduation date and even my post-graduation job that all relied on me going to nursing school. I applied, but as it got closer and closer I felt an overwhelming sense of anxiety.
It wasn't just a little case of nerves. I couldn't sleep very well even though all I wanted to do was sleep all the time. I barely ate because I was constantly nauseous. I would burst into tears at nothing because I was so overwhelmed. Changing my major would push me back at least a year in graduating and change all of my plans. Whatever I chose to do would determine the rest of my life. So many questions and scenarios were running through my mind. and no matter what people told me, my mind wouldn't stop. What if I'm making the wrong decision? What if I won't find a job? What if I hate my job and am miserable every day? Will anyone support my decisions?
I prayed so so so hard asking God what to do. I was so confused. I realized that nursing was not where I was supposed to be, but then where was it? How could my plan not be working?
But that was the problem. HIS plan was different than my plan. If y'all have never experienced the Lord working in your life, I pray that you will look around and see the blessing he gives you. The Lord is so faithful and even when we can't see it, He is working. Even on days where I wanted to give up, God wasn't giving up on me.
Psalm 34:17-18 "The righteous cry out and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit."
During this time I was so overwhelmed with anxiety that it basically turned into depression. I had no motivation for school because I felt like it was pointless if I wasn't going to use those classes. I had no idea where I was going or what I was doing. I was so lost and so confused. I questioned God so much... how could you let me plan and go through with all of this just to take it away? All of these classes wasted… all of this time I could've been doing something else. Why is my life changing? Why can't I just be normal and casually change my major like everyone else does? Why can't it just be simple like I planned? Why are you doing this to me?
I got to a point where I was so lost that I just gave up. I said, "you know what, I don't know what you're doing God but wherever I'm supposed to go send me." And He did. My favorite lyric from Oceans is the perfect way to describe what happened in my life during this time. I remember crying to this song over and over begging to be led because I was so lost.
"Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders. Let me walk upon the waters wherever you would call me. Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander and my faith would be made stronger in the presence of my savior."
Let me tell y'all, when you ask the Lord to lead you and really mean it, he will take you on the ride of your lifetime. The amount of trust and peace I have felt because of the Lord's provision through those dark months is incredible. After I said yes to God's plan I realized he was leading me to work in medical research somewhere, but I still didn't have any security. Despite the unknown, I was calm moving into the spring 2018 semester. In reality, if I wasn't accepted into the chemistry program at the end of the semester I didn't know what I would do. I would have too many hours to transfer and want to do too much heavy science to just not get a degree. Even going into finals, I had an overwhelming sense of peace that wherever I was meant to be was where I'd end up.
Thankfully the Lord's plan is keeping me at A&M; (WHOOP) and allowing me to be a chemistry major. Now I am still seeing the Lord working and revealing things to me all the time.
Anyone that really knows me can tell you how dedicated to school I am, and how much of an anxious person I am/use to be. So when school fell through for me I hit the lowest point I've been in.
But through that process, I was able to re-evaluate my faith. I was able to really understand and TRUST that God has a plan. I am now able to realize that sometimes God has to break us in order to build us. Even during the hard times when we don't think he's there, he is still listening and still working. Just be faithful. You do your part and He'll do his.
Isiah 41:10 "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
I realize that I will continue to struggle with anxiety and will be thrown curveballs all of my life, but I trust in God's plan for me. The Lord has a plan for your life. Even though it often times isn't our plan or what we want, His will prevail. Believing and trusting in God does not mean your life will be perfect. But it does allow you to know that through every high and low you will never be alone.
Every season we go through, every time we ask "what are you doing," every time we ask "why can't I be more like her," he is saying "Be patient, child. Your time is coming." We live in a broken world, so there will always be heartache and pain. What matters is how we play the cards we are dealt in life. You can use your struggles for a bigger purpose. God can help heal you and use your pain to help others. They may not be life-altering moments, but we are growing and learning all the time. Sometimes the Lord sends us a small glimmer of hope in the smallest blessing. Just trust in the process and know you are uniquely made for a purpose.
"No one can take your place. God doesn't have a "plan B" for you. You have gifts to offer the world, ways of connecting that only you can fulfill." ~ Holley Gerth
If you find yourself doubting that the Lord has a plan for your life, here are a few of the examples we are given:
The Lord made Sarah, who basically gave up on the idea of having children, the mother of Isaac. (Genesis)
Joseph, just a shepherd, was sold into slavery and wrongfully imprisoned just to later become a very powerful man in Egypt. (Genesis)
Saul murdered Christians and later became Paul the Apostle. (Acts)
David who was a young shepherd did many things in the Bible including fighting Goliath (1 Samuel) and becoming a great king. (2 Samuel)
Moses led the Israelites to the promised land. (Exodus)