Don’t be Ashamed
The dreams were always the same. In one I’m in the passenger side of a moving car and I’m frantically trying to get in the driver’s seat. My seatbelt won’t come undone and my legs aren’t long enough to reach the brake. It never occurs to me to just pull the emergency brake. I wake up and my heart is racing and I lay there for a while, trying to figure out what the dream means.
In the other dream my teeth start to crack. Every time I open my mouth, I have to spit bits and pieces of them into my hands. Even though it’s a dream it feels so real. I find myself crying because I’m an oral hygiene junky. Again, I wake up in a panic, confused as to why I’m having the dream again.
It’s been awhile since I’ve had those dreams. Most nights I drift off into a deep sleep, only to be awakened by little four year old hands rubbing my cheeks and lips. They stopped when the constant heart palpitations and chest pains stopped. They stopped when the stomachaches and constant teeth clenching stopped. They stopped when I realized my anxiety wasn’t as controlled as I thought it was.
I’ve always been a worrier. I can remember sitting in front of the picture window of my mom’s living room waiting on her to get home from her night job. If it took her longer than usual to get home, my mind would wonder to dark places, conjuring up all the horrible things that had possibly happened to her. It never occurred to me that she had just worked a little late. Then there was my obsession with having straight A’s. I would be doubled over in pain or having an asthma attack if I made a B.
It wasn’t until I was in my mid twenties, seeing a counselor, that I found out that my constant worrying wasn’t normal. That my physical reactions to the stress of life weren’t normal. She recommended medication and I was a bit embarrassed. Here I was, a baptized believer, and I needed medication to keep my mind from going 90 mph. I talked about it with my husband and his response surprised me (he’s not really into medication) – Okay, so take the medicine.
That was about 7 years ago and until a recent series of full on shenanigans I’ve done well. And within the last few years I’ve been more open and honest about my mental illnesses – anxiety and depression. My reason? Because I don’t want other people to be ashamed.
It’s that simple. You see, we live in a world that values ‘perfection’. People are always the ‘perfect’ size, have the ‘perfect’ life, and always seem to have the ‘perfect’ smile plastered across their face. Well folks, that’s not most people’s reality. Yes, we are made perfect in Christ, but for some of us our brains have trouble processing that. Yes, we pray, we have faith, and we hope. And if we’re listening, our answer is to get help.
So if you’re reading this, and it sounds familiar, know that it’s going to be okay. Know that God can give you the peace you need, and that He wants you to be at your best. And that you may need a therapist and/or psychiatrist. And it’s perfectly okay.
Until next time…