My Mental Health Allowed Me To Re-Evaluate My Faith

my mental health allowed me to re-evaluate my faith

Sometimes the Lord has to break us in order to build us. The Lord has a plan for you and a purpose for your sufferings.

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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)

Cover Image Credit:

Hannah Ward

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black-and-white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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Dear Anxiety, Thank You For Everything You Do And What You Make Me Do

My anxiety definitely isn't an easy thing to handle, but I wouldn't give it up for the world.

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I've always been a worrier. As long as I can remember, I've spent hours upon hours overthinking even the simplest of things, like whether or not something I mentioned in passing twelve years ago could have upset someone. Even ask my mom, she'll tell you all about the times I used to worry about silly little things since I was able to really worry about things at all. Now, worrying about literally everything that crosses my mind may seem like a hassle, and it is, but I truly don't think I would be where I am today without it.

Anxiety is a bitch. There, I said it. Short and sweet. It sucks, in all honesty, and is one of the hardest things to overcome that I have ever experienced in my lifetime (Not that it's been all that long, but you get what I mean here, right?) I spend so much time worrying that I barely take the time to sit back and look at how much I have accomplished rather than how much I have left to do. For example, I have four assignments and exams standing between me and summer but am I focusing on how little that is to do? Nope. I am spending every waking hour panicking about when and how I'm going to finish that work when I know full well that I have more than enough time to do so.

Yes, my anxiety keeps me from seeing the positives sometimes, but it really does motivate me. I mean, why else would I be up at three in the morning writing a paper that's due in a week when I work at 7 a.m. and have more than enough time in the next week to do it? Thanks to anxiety, I'll be exhausted for the next 24 hours, but hey, that work that doesn't need to be done for a long time is done and I can sleep later. Or so I think right now. I'm sure some little assignment or task will pop up that I have to finish by June that I feel the need to cram for right now.

So I guess this is my thank you to my anxiety. Thanks for motivating me by causing daily breakdowns over dropping a bobby pin behind my mini fridge or a page long paper that I have to turn in in two months. Thank you for keeping me on my toes constantly and pushing me so hard that I somehow ended up so far ahead in my classes. Where would I be without you? Probably a lot calmer, but with piles of assignments to finish at an appropriate time.

Thanks for everything you do - and make me do.

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