Saturday, July 2, 2016

Lessons from today's anxiety

This afternoon I was floundering in a sea anxiety. I've had depression/anxiety for long enough now that I'm a lot better at identifying when I'm feeling actual anxiety or sadness that needs to be taken care of in a normal way, and when it's emotion brought on by whatever hormonal/chemical/psychological imbalance that is ppd. This afternoon's episode was definitely the second type. One warning sign for me is I'll find myself irrationally impatient with my kids. Entirely unable to roll with their toddler quirks. It's a weakness I have confidence can be overcome, but let's be honest, I'm not there yet. Thankfully Chris was around to help take some of the parenting pressure off of me. His help enabled me to have the mental faculties to really learn from today's anxiety episode.

I was hoping, when I realized what was happening, that the rush of irrational anxiety was brought on because baby was coming asap. That maybe my body was sending out all kinds of "get ready for labor" hormones and that's why I felt so terrible. Baby hasn't come yet, nor do we seem to be immediately heading in that direction, so I'll have to wait and see if that hypothesis will hold true.

But regardless, my emotions peaked, and for about 20 minutes or so, I just sat and felt the feelings. Some of the time I held on to the couch, turned so I could hug the back cushion for support. I felt like I was shaking, though I'm not sure it would have been noticeable to someone else. And I felt worry, distress, frustration, inadeqacy, weariness, uncertainty, all banging around in me. None of those feelings had a clear focus, like, "I'm worried about x, y and z" which is another clear sign for me that it's a hormonal episode, not a rational one. It was just a general cacophony of those emotions nobody enjoys feeling. A blech-y mess of feels that I'd probably never choose if the choice were mine.

And almost imperceptibly, the episode faded out. I helped my children again, changed a stinky diaper, even made dinner for the family. And I felt like me again. Still tired, still very pregant, but somehow, still moving forward and meeting the challenges of the evening.

The ability to survive such episodes without seeking to block them out, without trying to numb the discomfort, comes only through the enabling power of the atonement of Jesus Christ. The power to keep moving forward afterwards and do what has to be done in daily life is the enabling power of the atonement of Jesus Christ. The incresed acceptance and peace that I feel about the future comes because of the enabling power of the atonement of Jesus Christ.

This is a gift that He extends to everyone. In Isaiah, the Lord asks, "is my hand shortened at all that it cannot redeem, or have I no power to deliver?" And the answer, "Behold, at my rebuke I dry up the sea, I make their rivers a wilderness and their fish to stink because the waters are dried up, and they die because of thirst. I clothe the heavens with blackness, and I make sackcloth their covering." (Is. 50: 2-3)

Trust in that hand. It is not shortened. Trust in that power. It is not diminished. If ppd has taught me anything, it's taught me to trust more in that hand and power. I invite you to join me on that journey. Come, and we'll keep moving towards more perfect trust and faith and hope and together.


  1. You are such a light of hope!! You might not feel that way or see it but please know how many times I read your words and gain light!! Love you!

  2. You're my favoritest big sister in the whole wide wooled!

  3. A sweet witness. Sure do love you, girl.