For as long as I remember I’ve always carried around this sense of nervousness. It would show up in the form of nausea before going to school as a kid, or getting sick when away from home, or crying over simple decisions. I didn’t know what it was at the time but looking back it’s clear that anxiety has been something of a constant struggle throughout my whole life.
It’s a hard thing, feeling like your body and mind are betraying you. I didn’t want to be anxious all the time, I didn’t want to be sick all the time. In my head I knew I was overthinking, I knew I didn’t have to worry about every possible outcome of a situation, but I couldn’t stop myself. People from church would share verses with me like Philippians 4:6 which says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” their intentions were pure but anxiety isn’t something you can just snap out of and I don’t think that’s what God intended to portray with these verses… (Often translations interchange “anxiety” with the words “fret or worry,” which are two things much less severe than suffering from an anxiety disorder.)
The people who shared these verses with me were trying to help but in doing so they were belittling and invalidating the way I felt. It made me feel that I was doing something wrong in my relationship with God, because I wasn’t able to just feel better. What I didn’t understand was that, as close and I became with God, it wasn’t going to be a cure all for my pain. Just like someone with cancer won’t just be cured by God because of their faith. YES he certainly could cure us, whether we’re suffering from mental illness or physical ones. I know I’ve spent lots of times wondering why He won’t just do that, but then I realize that I can’t play God and tell Him what He should be doing.
I also don’t want to diminish the role that God can have and has had in helping overcome anxiety. Prayer and mentoring have helped me immensely in my struggle with anxiety. God provided us with doctors and medicine however to help as well.
Around Freshman year my anxiety really peaked, it manifested itself in the form of having an upset stomach often. My anxiety was constantly making me feel sick and to avoid feeling sick I stopped eating, because it seemed like a good solution at the time (LOL).
However, I don’t want to focus too much on eating disorders in this post because I wanted it to be more about anxiety. Basically, everything started spiraling down hill fast and a Illness I had been able to manage on my own for most of my life was soon out of control. My anxiety had taken over.
I couldn’t go out with friends because I would feel sick, I couldn’t go to school, I couldn’t do anything. Life was awful. I didn’t think it would ever get better.
I was soon forced into seeking help from doctors and therapists and even though I was SO against this I really don’t think I ever would have gotten better without that support.
It’s not weak to seek help, and it’s not weak to need to take medicine to feel better. This is something I want to emphasize a thousand times over; TAKING MEDICINE FOR MENTAL ILLNESS DOES NOT MAKE YOU WEAK. It is honestly so enraging to me when I see posts like that show pills captioning it, “this isn’t an antidepressant” and then a forest or something captioning it “this is an antidepressant” LIKE EXCUSE ME?? We don’t shame people with physical illnesses for using medical resources do we?
It’s absolutely ridiculous and just contributes to the fact that mental illness isn’t recognized as an actual thing by so many people. Even though by 2030 mental illness (specifically depression) in this study, is set to outrun cancer, stroke, war and accidents as the leading cause of death and disability. It’s so appalling to me that such a serious thing is barely recognized.
Anyway, back on track. My mental and physical health improved a thousand times once I started receiving treatment for anxiety, depression and anorexia. This included taking medicine, which I still take to this day.
I would say I’m out of the thick of it, I sometimes experience a bit of anxiety. I sometimes have panic attacks. However, from where I was to where I am now is SO much better.
I really wanted to share my story because there is so much stigma around Mental Illness and people who suffer from it. Barely anyone ever speaks out about their struggles and I think that needs to end.
I would love to hear your own stories with Mental Illness, whether it affected you or someone you love. Comment them or send me a message!
Always remember, there is hope. ❤️