I am a bit nervous to write this post, as I know it will leave me feeling completely vulnerable before all of you. But I know that there is a greater purpose in me sharing my heart with you, maybe the words and my story will resonate with some of you and encourage you that you to are not alone in this. Sorry in advance if this gets a bit much, or morbid, but I know I need to get this off my chest.
Phew! Okay, deep breath, here I go!
“I am a raging sea trapped inside of a tear drop”
The last few months have been absolutely crazy, in every sense of the word. I feel like I have been riding out the roughest of storms, and it seems like it’s never ending. I know that with everything that has been going on, my mind and my heart haven’t really been friends of late. So, there is a definite disconnect, which in turn triggers off my anxiety and panic attacks. Subconsciously my anxiety builds without me even realizing it at times, as I switch on to autopilot mode as a means of going forward and staying afloat. Which in turns increases my stress levels and my anxiety stays trapped in my body and then pours out when I least expect it to. And when it does, I feel overwhelmed , and ensnared by it. Almost as if it’s crushing me under its breath.
I hate anxiety! I hate that it sneakily traps you, lies to you, leaves you feeling overwhelmed , mentally and emotionally exhausted , fearful, weak, lonely, and feeling not quite like yourself. My anxiety levels have been at its absolute worst this past year, and it’s been an ongoing unrelenting battle. I just want to be done with it. But, I know I need to work through it, process it, go through all of my anxious thoughts and do something practical as a means of sifting it out of my system.
Anxiety has a way of sneaking in during busy seasons, when we feel tired, stressed and just caught up trying to juggle family-life-work. Then just like a seed, it roots itself in our minds and in our hearts and causes us to feel fearful, doubtful, and hopeless.
For me I know my anxiety builds up before big deadlines, and before productions. Normally, I bounce back and sort myself out. But this year has been different, the last few months have been nuts and I haven’t had a chance to bounce back. I have been going, going , going, going , going and going. But, that “going” can only go so far until it all catches up with you, and you know you need to sift through it all and pick up all the pieces again.
I have had a few break downs in the last month or so, that have left me feeling very helpless and alone. I have been trying to hide behind a smiling face, when in actual fact I have felt completely numb. I think I hide things like this from others, because I never want to feel like a burden or like I am being a “Debbie Downer.” But I guess in the last two weeks the mask fell off, which was an emotional and mental relief of sorts. That’s the thing with the unveiling, unmasking process, you somehow feel this relief when you lay bare with all of your mess. Beauty begins to arise out of our brokenness.
“She stood in the storm, and when the wind did not blow her away, she adjusted her sails”
I have always said to myself for as long as I first encountered anxiety, that I would not let anxiety define me as a person going forward. I am hell bent on overcoming it, and working through it rather than letting it control my every move and thought. I don’t want my son growing up feeling and sensing anxiety in our home, nor do I want him growing up anxious fearing the worst at every turn. Every time my anxiety creeps up on me, and starts to consume me, I know I need to take a step back, and process it logically and then outwork it practically. Not always easy. Yet, I am committed to riding it out until it is completely out of my system. I do not want anxiety to stop me from living a big and bold life, nor do I want it to steal from me emotionally or mentally, nor do I want it to negatively impact my family.
I had to address a new fear that rooted itself in the back of my heart, and that was the fear of Malakai having another seizure and the fear of something bad happening to him that I could not control. When I first saw Malakai have his seizure to holding him while he was unconscious, I couldn’t help but fear the worse. As I was calling out his name in those moments and he wasn’t responding, I kept thinking ; “What if he doesn’t come back Cass?” I let those fearful thoughts stay hidden in my heart and kept a brave face and kept on going.
We moved Malakai back into our room, as a means of monitoring him in his sleep incase he had another seizure. Which meant I wasn’t sleeping because I would wake up with every little movement or moan from Malakai. I would wake up during the night feeling fearful and anxious. I didn’t realize this had become a thing until recently.
My body started giving up on me, all the stress was manifesting through my body and I found myself constantly sick and tired. Which in turn made me feel emotionally unstable, like I couldn’t hold it all together and I all I could do was cry most days. Then some days I wouldn’t even recognize who I was anymore, I felt so lost , confused and overwhelmed.
That’s when I knew that I had to break in order to rebuild. In the breaking I had to really question and seek those fearful anxious thoughts that were consuming me and I knew I had to address it. It’s never easy or comfortable sitting with your broken self knowing you have to face fears that feel very real to you. But I decided long ago that I would be an overcomer, a warrior no matter the season or circumstance and rise. I want my courage, my honesty, my faith in God to always speak loud and clear .
“The waves and wind still know His name”
In the darkest of storms and seasons, one thing will always remain true for me and that is that God is my anchor. He holds me, He guides me, He lovingly walks me through the toughest of trials, and He leads me to victory. Every day is a new day, every day is a chance to take steps closer towards overcoming this, and that is what I intend on doing. Every fearful anxious thought I fight back with faith. My faith and hope in God will never waver. If anything it encourages me to be courageous and to fight every day until I get my breakthrough in this area. I find great comfort in truly knowing that in my brokenness and weakness I can be strong in God. I can lean into Him, I can rest in Him, I can let Him birth something new inside of my heart, something beautiful.
This wasn’t easy to write, as I didn’t want it to sound like “shame poor Cass”. But I knew through writing it out and by me being open, real, honest about it all that it would not only help me find healing and restoration but that it would encourage others who are going through similar seasons. I find that as a writer, as an encourager, that with me pouring my heart out with all sincerity that our hope would rise together as we walk through this victoriously!
That is my hope, that is my prayer for all of us going through similar seasons.