Last summer I went on a mission trip to an undisclosed location and had the single most horrifying day of my life. I honestly do want to share it one day, but it's not the focus of today. I tell you of this horror so you can walk with me in the months following.
Once I *finally got home I had hoards of friends and family call, email, text, visit for support. I am so thankful to each and everyone of you for your kind words and time through that trial. No way could I have made it without you.
In saying that I had several people suggest to me I should start seeking the help of a psychologist. At first I absolutely refused. My initial thoughts were that I would be perceived as crazy...or that I'm giving up on God helping me through this. But after weeks and weeks of absolutely no sleep, I gave in. Since that time I've learned to not just be okay with going to my appointments, but I LOVE seeing my doctor.
The road has still been rough. I get down often because I'm not where I thought I could be. I'm not as strong mentally, emotionally, or spiritually as I once assumed I was. And she has uncovered so many more demons that I ever wanted to fight. However, I know every moment of the pain is just the stripping away from years of negativity from myself.
Since I faced an extreme circumstance, I assumed that it was the only thing my doctor would find that was "wrong" with me. Instead I've had to face past relationships, deep fears, and generational curses all within the confines of her office. It wasn't long after I started seeing my doctor that she diagnosed me with PTSD. That hit me kind of hard, because I thought it was only for military personnel. How did I have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder? But when she sat me down a couple months ago and said, "Avery, does anyone in your family suffer from depression?" I began to worry.
"Not that I know of...why??"
"I think you have depression."
That hit me like a lightning bolt. What? Depression? Me? I have the perfect parents, the perfect upbringing, the perfect boyfriend. My job isn't THAT stressful. I've built a career, paid off my own vehicle, bought a house. I have investments. I've been on some neat excursions. I love the little things in life. How do I have depression?
My dear friend, who is also a pastor I might add, went to dinner with me shortly thereafter. I was having a hard time dealing with this verdict, and I said, "Carter, how crazy am I? I might have depression." He assured me it was more common that I thought; that it is not something I can control. It's a condition people get just like diabetes or heart disease.
Then a month or so later I told Cash's sister-in-law about this and told her, "Jeanne, I can't bring myself to take medicine. I feel like that's giving up on God." She helped me understand that it's not giving up on God...just like taking medicine for the flu was not giving up on God. Friends like these two sure have made the road easier and less worrisome.
I will tell you I've yet to begin medicine since it hasn't been confirmed that I am for sure dealing with depression or just having to go through a lot of turmoil and change right now. Either way it's led to a lot of soul searching and understanding for me. And it's made me think about what I can change..or have changed...
For starters, my mom told me awhile back that she's seen such a difference in me since I've been home. She pointed out that my church and faith didn't perpetuate from me like it once did. I wish I could say that broke my heart when she said that. But at the time it didn't.
I was never angry with God for what happened. I knew he saved me in that circumstance for a reason. However, I did just want to run away...run from my job, from my friends, from my home. I wanted a fresh start and surely pouted that I wasn't with Cash everyday.
It took a lot of recovery for me to be okay with right now. Many times I still get upset, and most of you know that I am constantly wishing to be in West Texas. But to just be...I'm trying to get back to that in the life I have now.
So that leads me to things I hope I can learn to change as I continue to grow from this experience.
First and foremost I miss my relationship with God in the sense it was before I left. I miss my daily devotionals, getting ready while jamming to "Washed by the Water", standing by a student's desk and silently but relentlessly praying for them. A student once wrote me a letter sharing with me that my undying faith gave her the courage to be a better Christian. That sweet message never left me; and I pray I'm coming back to the woman of God I was then.
Next I just want to find a good, healthy schedule full of choices that lead to working out and eating right. I've been talking a lot lately about starting to lift vigorously again, and I know the diet needs to be much healthier. I fully believe that having a healthier mind starts with having a healthier body.
Last (for now) I'm really concentrating on being okay with me. I think as women we struggle with this but hate to admit it. My psychologist explained to me one day that there is a fine line between pity and envy. Afterwards I began thinking about this and have noticed it so much in day to day life. I've tried to control those emotions within myself, but I think it's even more than controlling it.
A blogger friend of mine had a devotional today talking about not measuring ourselves against each other. It only leads to pride or doubt. How true! I feel like the more I compare myself or my relationship to other people's, the more I get down. For instance, I complain to Cash that since aren't engaged yet after a year we must not be as in love as other couples. Yes, I realize that sounds crazy once I verbalize it. But don't we all have points in our lives that we compare to others...and then get depressed about it although in the end it wasn't worth it and was a little absurd? Well, I do. And I've really got to control that and just be okay with myself..exactly how I am and exactly where I am at.