My blog originally was livingtransparentfaith.blogspot.com , but it was in the name of my school email which I no longer have, so this is my solution. :)
In my last post I was in the beginning of an incredible "storm" in my life. Although I am still in the midst of it, I've come a long way and just want to share my story with you...
I grew up in church. Every time the doors to Northside Baptist were open, I was there (and currently still am :)) I gave my life to Jesus Christ at the age of 7 years old, and followed through with baptism. I know people are skeptical of making that decision so young, but I know from the bottom of my heart that I honestly did believe I was a sinner in need of a Savior.
Currently, I attend the exact same church. Growing up, my parents were my Sunday school teachers, my dad a deacon, everyone knew us in the church. I still interact with the lovely women who had me in nursery when I was little, and instructed me in kid's church choir...
I have 3 siblings, all younger than me. I love them with all of my heart. My parents are absolutely incredible. I have always been in "accelerated/honors" courses. Never got in trouble, had great friends, teachers loved me.
I'm telling you all of this because, from the outside, to others; I had my life all together.
To others, I was the smart girl that could sing good, had a picture perfect family, and loved Jesus and proclaimed Him with all of my heart.
Middle school hit... Still in advanced courses, in honor choir, boyfriend/best friend who I'm still with today, sang in my church's praise team...
Still from the outside, looked like just a young girl with a so called "perfect" life.
Now, I did struggle, I lost best friends, rumors were spread about me, I was picked on by some people, and persecuted for being passionate about Jesus. These things were definitely negative, but I held tight to the word of The Lord and didn't let them affect me that much.
The last few months of my 8th grade year, I was out of school for 3 weeks because I was "sick". I've now come to terms that it wasn't a virus, but something more serious, which I will explain later in this post. I became so scared to go to bed at night, and I didn't know why. I went to a Christian counselor several times, my parents even installed an alarm. I eventually buried the struggle deep down in my heart.
I had my first serious anxiety attack during band/dance camp the summer of my 8th grade year. I've always had anxiety, but never experienced an attack this serious. Vision blurred, dizzy, heart racing...
Freshman year starts, of course I had the jitters/anxiety that all freshman experience. That October (2015), I was in and out of school for a solid month. Didn't know what it was, just couldn't get out of bed and my whole body hurt. Then one night, I was sitting on the couch with my mom and grandma, and I literally sobbed like never before. Out of no where.
It was that moment, that I stopped fighting it.
My mom immediately made an appointment with my pediatrician and she referred me to a psychiatrist. I was put on a month long waiting list. But we needed answers then. I couldn't keep missing school. So, another psychiatrist was contacted, another waiting list. So we made another appointment with my Dr. and my mom put her foot down. My Dr. then explained that a local hospital has a program for adolescents that are struggling with depression and anxiety. The program is 4 weeks long, and students are put on temporary home bound. This FREAKED. ME. OUT.
I could not get even more behind on school work, that's ADDED ANXIETY!!
But I was tired of feeling stuck, so I guested one day. Needless to say, the program was not for me.
Now, we're in mid November (2015). No answers. I was even told by a physician that "what I was experiencing is normal and should blow over". Talk about offended, I was.
My grandma, and mom, started struggling with anxiety and depression at a young age. It's hereditary.
In the beginning of December (2015), I started having severe stomach pain. I went to the ER and the X-Ray didn't show anything abnormal, but was told it could be an ovarian cyst... And to schedule an appointment with a doctor that can diagnose and possibly treat, if that's what it was. So, I went. And in fact, the ultrasound showed where many cysts were, and I was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Which my mother also has... Shocker.
Through all of this I'm still stuck with no answers regarding my mental state. My mom then decides to take matters into her own hands. She contacted her psychiatrist who saw her at my age. He wasn't accepting new patients, but luckily, he squeezed me in because of the familial connection. PRAISE JESUS, we're getting somewhere!!! I see him, and HALLELUJAH I wasn't turned down because my "problems weren't serious, because I wasn't experiencing suicidal/self harmful thoughts". He took me seriously!! I was started on medicines. Praise. There is such a stigma to mental health in society, especially for Christians, I've been told, and still am told that "if I'm struggling with clinical anxiety and depression, my relationship with Jesus must be off".
God created doctors and gave them knowledge for a reason!! It is okay to need help!
So I was started on medicine and after a few weeks, I was still struggling, so he upped my dosage. More weeks... still struggling.
I had to recover, or at least START to.
I could no longer attend public school. After first semester exams, I became homeschooled. Luckily, my friends, FCA leadership, Impact Leadership, and many other close peers that went to school with me, prayed over me, and still continue to. So, after a while of homeschooling, which I love, I went back to my psychiatrist. I was still struggling. (Early 2016)
Y'all, before this I had NO IDEA how serious mental disorders are. If you break your arm, you fix it... So, if you are struggling with mental illness, you treat it the same!! These things are serious!! And one can NEVER understand until they go through it themselves, or are close to someone who has. I honestly don't know how people go through this without Jesus. Because through all of this, HE IS THE ONLY CONSTANT. If I didn't constantly repeat to my self the bible verse that states that "my body is a sacred temple, that belongs to Jesus", not me, I would have done some major damage.
I couldn't remember what I used to feel like...
A different medicine. New treatment. Same problem.
My psychiatrist started me on the same medicines my mom takes, and that has been recently, so we're still seeing how it is for me. I actually had my first medicine check yesterday. Since starting this, I've improved, but am still no where near 100%. Luckily, an anti-depressant hasn't taken its full affect until 2 months in, so hopefully when I reach that point I will have made significant progress.
I've written my story to show how being transparent, having transparent faith, ESPECIALLY DURING A STORM, is so important. Because I was comfortable in sharing my situation, so many good things happened... I found that many people I know struggle with similar things, people have reached out in prayer... Negative also comes, I mean even some of my own family members still belittle my situation and don't believe in the weight that mental illness holds.
Having Jesus to hold onto now, in this situation, has lead me to learn so much more about who Jesus is. There is so much power in the name of Jesus. Simply saying His name in the midst of chaos, often brings peace. If you don't know Him, I encourage you to reach out to someone who does, because as humans, we can't do life on our own. We are born with a void in our hearts that only Jesus can fill. Earthly things may bring temporary satisfaction, but ONLY JESUS brings ETERNAL SATISFACTION.
So, if you don't know Jesus, get to know Him. He's my best friend.
And if you're going through a storm, I encourage you to be transparent. In your faith, and your situation. Like I said, we can't do life alone, so be real with Jesus, and people around you. It'll make the storm much more bearable, I promise. And if you're struggling with mental illness, or know someone who is... It's okay to get help! Ignorance to mental illness is so prevalent, so if you're reading this and have experienced someone belittling your battle, know that when you're transparent, contentment in yourself and your situation becomes so much easier.
I completely disagree with the saying "God doesn't give you more than you can handle". Why? Because He gives us these storms so we can turn to Him. We CAN'T handle life on our own, that's why Jesus came down to this Earth to die for us, save us, and give us the opportunity to have a relationship with Him.
Get to know Jesus. Give your storms to Jesus. Be transparent with yourself and others.
This is me being completely transparent and content in my story and faith, because Jesus gave this to me not to keep it to myself.
"I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well."
- Psalm 139:14