Dear Sweet Mom Battling Anxiety,
Are you burdened by the overwhelming weight of worry? Do worry and fear steal the joy from your days? You might not even remember how you got here - how it crossed the line from normal cares and concerns into the demon of anxiety you live with.
It's awful, isn't it?
I always thought - in those times of my deepest struggles - that I'd rather face anything, truly, anything other than anxiety or depression.
It's so, so lonely. No one gets it.
People "get it" when it's a "real" struggle. When you're sick, they bring you dinner. If someone dies, they write you a card.
But no one understands - even if they might want to - what it's like to be choked by worry, the burden of imaginary traumas. How it ruins "perfect" days. How it disrupts your sleep. How it keeps on pestering you, even when you reason and argue with it.
Anxiety is every evil piled into one, a crushing burden of imagined losses and feared-for traumas. It makes every actual struggle worse, because not only do you carry today's load, you carry tomorrow's, with a thousand extra nightmares.
And it's physical, too, isn't it? Not only is your mind racing, but you probably feel sick. No appetite. Nothing tastes right. You're constantly tired.
I know what it feels like.
I know it hops around from reason to reason, but the sickness in your stomach remains. There's always something. Your kids one week, your health and marriage the next.
I know it feels hopeless.
Remember those sunny, peaceful days of a few years ago? They'll come again.
I know you feel like a failure.
Remember all those things you accomplished, back when you "had it all together"? You'll do them again. I promise.
I know it seems like everyone's disappointed in you, or mad at you, or judging you. They're not. They don't think of you nearly as much as you imagine, and when they do, they just love you. They want to help.
I know it seems like God isn't here. Like He isn't helping.
I felt that way, too. I've spent many nights crumpled on the floor, soggy toilet paper for tissues, wondering what had become of my life, begging God to intervene.
I know you want that, too. Dear sweet mom, I hurt for you.
But there is hope. And it will come soon.
It might come for you like it came for me. It might be a kind, fatherly doctor, who instead of telling you you're dying of all the horrible things you think you have, will diagnose you with anxiety. You might be just as embarrassed as I am.
But it all might help.
It might come like a smiling, warm counselor, who listens, and reminds you that everyone has something. That God will use even this for your good.
It might come like a fresh wind of change in your life - a new friendship, a new move, a new hobby or pastime you're really good at.
Hang in there, sweet friend. Find someone who loves you dearly, with a wise heart. Listen to his or her words.
Don't argue, don't whine, don't make excuses. Hear what they're saying, and beg the Lord for the strength to implement their wisdom. And if you've done all that and it still feels hopeless, hang on.
The Lord is mighty to save. He will quiet you with his love...Though weeping may remain for a night, joy comes in the morning. (Zephaniah, Lamentations)
Dear Father, I pray for those today battling the lonely sickness of the mind. Pierce the darkness with your truth. Come quickly to save. Use all of this for your glory, and our good. You are our Loving Father, and we look to you for our joy and peace. Restore what's broken.