This quote from my friend Rachel's blog post, How to Live in the Dark of Depression,stands out to me today: Maybe we only learn how to live free after we’re locked in the prison of our days.
You see, until recently, I struggled with understanding why God would "allow" me to be in the depths of despair... I didn't understand why God didn't pull me out of it. Why He would allow me to feel as though my world was falling apart all the time. Until recently, I saw no good in it. All I could see what the darkness. All I could feel was as though I would never be out of the prison of anxiety and depression. I walked around with a knot in my stomach and too much on my mind. I was unable to live "in the moment" and love my family the way I felt I should... which just added to my anxiety.
Last summer (2012), I thought that I had been freed from my anxiety. I felt a weight lifted; I felt more free than I had in years. But it didn't last long. Grandpa died on Thanksgiving day last year, just a few days before the third anniversary of my brother's death (and I had spent the week with him in the hospital). I sunk right back into the deep despair that I had felt for years before. Then I struggled with the feeling that maybe I will always feel like I'm in prison. That "feeling" spiraled into an immense panic attack that lasted months.
I'm thankful for that months-long panic attack because if that hadn't happened, I would have never sought the treatment that I needed. And even bigger, I wouldn't know what it truly feels like to live free.
I've learned more about myself and how God intended for me to live in the past several months than I have in my whole life. I've learned how to live. Truly live. And love. Truly love. Love my family, love those that God has placed in my life, and have self-compassion.
I believe that learning self-compassion has taught me not only how to have compassion for myself, but for everyone around me.
I'm so thankful for the depths of despair, because without those depths, I wouldn't know how to truly live in freedom.
He is God. He is my Creator. Savior. Healer. Counselor. Redeemer. Provider. Sustainer. Freedom. Merciful. Gracious. Slow to anger. Rich in love. Life. Love. Faithful.