I'm linking up with Holley Gerth's Coffee for Your Heart
http://holleygerth.com. She wrote on fear today and I wrote this yesterday and was fearful to post it. But after seeing her lead I decided to bravely admit some of my silly fears.
Fear lurks, shadow edges my mind. When you grow up and watch someone you love deal with mental illness the fear is there. You think that perhaps one day you'll have it. Perhaps one day you will need the medication. One day you may end up in the rehab center. It's a fear that sometimes is gone for seemingly good but then opens up a window just a crack and slides back in unnoticed, but ready to spring into full force when the moment is right.
Let me tell you something I've learned about fear (and I can talk about fear because fear wrapped tight tentacles around me starting in early elementary school) it always creates walls. Fear blocks us in. Fear holds us down. Fear makes it hard to be us, to be comfortable. Fear makes light living, impossible. It's dark and its heavy.
Some fear is good and totally healthy. We all need some. Not a paranoia, but a self realization of who we are, our limitations, the laws of nature, common sense, and who God is.
But most fear that keeps us locked up, held fast hampers us from ever doing the things we are supposed to do. Fear no matter how real it seems keeps us from relationships with people for fear of our inadequacies or fear they will one day leave.
Fear also keeps us from things we need to do for ourselves.
Here's my practical application, going to the doctor. So many of us don't go, because we would rather not be in the know.
I have been having off and on bouts with a mystery for years now. Years ago I would decide to get it checked out and only be looked at limply and said "Whatever it was, its fine now."
If you have the 'one day will i be crazy syndrome?' those assumptions of hypochondria do not help you.
So for years now I've sucked it up and not ever went back. I was tried of feeling foolish.
Yesterday changed that.
Sitting in my living room, feeling the pain again, and on quite an unexpected unplanned victory with my fear I decided i would try once more to find out 'why'? and get some help.
I'm so glad I did.
It was so simple.
Old excuses whispered all the reasons I shouldn't, like, "No one will watch my kids this short of notice."
"I'm just imagining it. They'll tell me again its nothing."
"You are wasting your co-pay".
But I didn't back down. I decided today would be my freedom day or confirmation crazy day. Either way I was going.
After the results came back and before the doctor said anything I prepared myself for being told yet again, 'Its fine. There's nothing wrong."
And honestly I was okay with that too, it would confirm my over active imagination, but also assuage my new fear that something was really wrong, badly wrong.
This doctor eyed me differently and together we unpacked what exactly was going on and he finally gave me the medicine I needed.
He looked back over past reports and even said they mirrored what he was telling me. All signs point to a strange bladder condition and there can be some relief for me.
I actually got hot tears in my eyes, "So I wasn't crazy? I wasn't imagining it?" Relief that change was on the horizon spread hope over me.
I shook his hand so firmly (I don't know if he could breath from that gratuitous vice grip) and thanked him profusely.
He had taken his time with me and done some investigating. He hadn't written me off as another annoying patient. His work was God's open door for me.
God had planned that day to be my freedom day and I had no idea just a couple hours earlier on that leaden sky morning.
Our fears are like that. Sometimes they howl like ferocious lions all our lives but go out silently like a meek lamb...when its finally time.
I included God in it this time, I pointedly prayed simply in the doctors office and on the ride there, "God will you just let me know whats going on this time?" and He did. Simply just like that.
Life is full of reasons to be afraid, seriously. There are predators all around. In all different forms and with different faces.
I think many times God uses them like tools in His hands to show us that we can do this, with Him.
Life has a way of making you face the fears. Even silly ones. I'm not afraid of spiders and most any bug. However, I have a rat phobia. or a rodent phobia.
My weird fear of rats. Seriously when I see a rat in a pet store i get a sinking sick feeling in my stomach. I flinch. One day I went into a big box pet store and a long tailed (the worst part. well and the beady eyes, and nasty whiskers) was loose running towards me. I sprinted out of the store with my daughter on my hip. I didn't even say anything to my husband left alone on the dog food aisle. Its that ridiculous. Every spring and summer I get to face my rat phobia head on as my 92 year old neighbor throws bread to "birds" but actually attracts inevitably rats. And it is a rat, no mouse. Before I would've slammed the door to my house and shut the blinds, but not now. I can look at that furry rodent (with disdain) and concoct his soon appointed end. Go buy some traps and remind my neighbor, "I saw another rat today."
I have definitely gotten over my fear of medical procedures (or made some good strides) post three cesarean sections and being the human pin cushion due to gestational diabetes and one week of hospitalization.
This fear though of crazy, it runs deep and its hard to shake. Its a stigma associated with mental illness that no one wants to be. One day not too long ago it dawned on me that almost every woman on one side of my family has to take some form of anti depressants, anxiety, or likewise medication. Let me tell you, the realization of that (generations back) did not sit well with me. Almost like a ball and chain I was dragging. I realized that the DNA stacked against me isn't very comforting. But even then I think God looks into this dark real-to-me fear and whispers, "Even in that, I would be with you."
And its true. He would. I can relax. It's not me, but even if it was He would be there.
Something I've learned about mental illness through my life is that usually those affected have a dark source. It's usually something childhood deep that forever fissured them. A spirit can only take so much. I can look on those in my life whose affects I have dealt with and I know its true for them.
They bear the marks of the past. Sometimes my fear of one day being like them, makes me want to run from them. It's a fear that God is saying, "Fear not" to me even today.
Like Annie Downs book is entitled, "Let's All Be Brave", Its something I have to sing like an anthem over my life to see some break throughs finally shine bright freedom over me.
I sure hope I never have to take anxiety meds or anti depressants. However, if need be I can be brave and swallow them down. It takes bravery to even do this. I know its true for the women in my life who need them. It takes bravery to admit, you and I need some help. To admit that we don't have it all together. I know that no matter what dark day or pit of life I might find myself in, God is there and I am never beyond His reach.
Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall[a] on me,” Even the night shall be light about me;
Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, But the night shines as the day; The darkness and the light are both alike to You.
(oh i still will run if that rat scampers (isn't that a gross word) across PetSmart to me, 'See ya!" )