Friday, September 27, 2013

My New Normal

Life is... well... it's a whirlwind.  Some days I'm so overjoyed that I feel I will never be affected by the difficulties of life again.  Some days I'm in such despair over things that I wonder how I will make it through.  The in-between days are what keep me going.  I'm just happy to have in-between days.  I never thought they would come.

After working so long to find the "right medication" for my anxiety, I'm having to now learn to live life on a "normal level."  What's "normal?"  I'm not exactly sure.  Anytime I have a "freak out moment," I assume that maybe my medication isn't working or it's not the right one.  But then Robert reminds me that bad days are normal.  It's normal to have little "freak out moments," as long as I come out of them.  In the past, I could be down from something for a long time.  Now I at least come back up pretty quickly when something gets me down.

Difficulty is part of life.  Being emotional is normal.  Having rough (and even horrible) days is totally normal.  And that's how we can enjoy the in-between and great days so much.  Without the bad days, we wouldn't know what a good day is.

I think the biggest struggle for me is that I haven't really been able to have normal emotion for so long.  I had been taking my old medication (except for when I was pregnant) since I was about 23.  I'm 31 now.  That's a long time to not feel much normal emotion.  While my anxiety is getting better (and I'm learning a balance that I've only dreamed of finding), I'm still human.  And my anxiety won't ever go away completely.  It's the thorn that makes me rely on my Savior.  When I try to do anything on my own, I fall quickly.

I'm thankful that I went to counseling this summer because I've truly learned some great coping strategies that I believe are good for anyone.  I've learned how to relax in a moment when I never thought I could.  I've learned how to change my thoughts.  I've learned how to "talk myself down" when I'm in the midst of a difficult moment... but I'm not perfect at these strategies, and I never will be.  And without praying about everything (and having others pray), those strategies are worthless.

Yesterday, I was in a state of mind in which I felt like I couldn't use any of my coping strategies (while the situations weren't great, they weren't as bad as they felt in the moment).  My family and friends interceded for me and prayed that God would give me peace.  And He did.  He is faithful, and I am blessed with amazing friends who love me for me.  Even on the days that I consider myself a complete mess (well, I'm always a mess).

Despite some ups and downs, I do believe that life is good.  I am learning how to get my job done well without working all the time.  I'm enjoying teaching my students.  I am learning that I truly am called to teaching.   I am thankful that we have enough money to pay bills AND buy groceries and gas :-) (and slowly start getting savings/chipping away at debt).  And most importantly, I feel that I am much more intentional with my family time than I have ever been.  Not sure why or how considering I was home a lot more the past few years... but it's just working out that way.  Maybe it's because of my new medication.  Maybe it's because I have a schedule and I work best under structure.  Maybe it's because I am where God wants me to be.  Or maybe it's a combination of all three.

Most importantly I am finding that life is... life.  There is not a "light at the end of the tunnel" because the Light is always there in the midst of the darkness.  Life will never get easy, but He has promised to always be there with us.  I am learning that no change that I make will make life easier.  I am learning to just live life right where I am... if that means laughing with joy or crying in despair.  I will never have it all together because we aren't supposed to on this side of Heaven.  If we did, we wouldn't need Jesus.  We are imperfect people in need of a perfect Savior.

Life is hard, but Jesus is our peace.  I'm learning, one day at a time, to lean on Him.  And when I don't have the strength to call out to Him, He is faithful to surround me with people to do it for me.

Thank you, Jesus.  You are amazing, beautiful, my rock, my redeemer, my refuge.

Your grace finds me.  In the midst of the valleys and the mountains.

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