A few years back, I really decided to take care of myself. I needed to be renewed spiritually, physically, and emotionally so I made it happen. I had taken care of everyone else for so long, completely drained and never had a moment to myself. I sat outside late one night, alone, talking to God. I poured my feelings out without restraint. I thought about the last time I had done something for myself, something just for me. From morning to-night, taking care of kids, husband, family, house, school, cooking, cleaning, and everything else that makes the world go round. I felt guilty if I sat down. I never rested when I felt I needed to. When I felt weak, I pushed harder.
It was only when a doctor sat me down basically knee to knee, and told me the stress would literally kill me if I continued neglecting myself and my health, that I began to have a breakthrough. When I left that appointment, I went home, told my family what the doctor had said, and literally locked myself in my room for a month straight. I barely let anyone in, my food was brought to me and I didn’t take any calls. I made time for my nightly candle-lit bubble bath, read sometimes for hours before bed not only because I always did and was forced to stop but because it made me feel so good. I painted, I wrote, I spent time with myself to get to know myself again. I didn’t know who I was, what I wanted, which direction to go in. I sat sometimes in silence. I listened to music, barely watched television, and found myself a little more each day. I lit candles and incense, I prayed incessantly. It was all intense therapy.
When I finally came out, I felt like a new person. I made decisions, I forgave myself, I gave myself credit, for once and only once it was about me. I understood that if I was falling apart, I couldn’t keep everything together. I never had another drop of alcohol, ( although I only drank socially for special occasions), I never put myself in an unsafe situation again, I cleaned the clutter out of my life. I reevaluated everything I thought I ever knew. I set boundaries, I thought about the future, I wished and dreamed.
I didn’t want to scream anymore, I barely wanted to speak. Any meanness that was in my heart just went away, it felt like my heart was replaced with a whole new one. I forgave, I asked for forgiveness. My eyes that were closed suddenly opened. Everything was different. I started making deliberate decisions, instead of careless mistakes. I felt the warmth of God’s love wrap around me completely. I made promises to myself, I set goals, I made lists, I forced myself to get down as deep as I could go.
I came out of that room different from I went in.
I went in broken and came out better. My heart had softened, my spirit was lighter, and I felt like a person for the first time in a long while. I felt the heaviness lift from my shoulders as I placed my fears and worries at the Lord’s feet.
All the years of trouble and confusion were no more. I was finally looking at the world in a new light. All the time I wasted trying to ‘figure it all out’ when all I needed to do was ‘cast my care.’
It was so amazing what a grip anxiety had over me. When I got home from that doctor’s appointment, the first thing I did was pray. That doctor changed me so dramatically by helping me with the breakthrough I so desperately needed. I never got to tell him ‘thank you’ for changing my life with just that one visit. It’s incredible how he reached me, how he got me to see what I couldn’t, he reminded me that I was worthy of love and care. He knew I was ailing, he could see in my eyes that I was broken and empty. We talked and I got things out that I never wanted to hear out loud, but because I did, I was able to let them go. I left his office feeling like I left the ton of bricks I was carrying behind.
I got home, got in bed, laid on my right side, and began to pray. I asked for strength, I asked for the help I desperately needed. By miracle, it was that very day that God made my anxiety manageable. I’ll always have it, but now death doesn’t feel imminent. Even when I wanted to ‘flip out’ I wasn’t able to. I no longer had that shouting voice, those evil thoughts, I officially stepped out of the ring. I felt immeasurable relief.
Since then, I have always reflected on that month that I ‘locked myself away.’ I’m so glad I was able to take advice and really apply it. I’m the best ‘me’ I’ve ever been and I’m so grateful to that wonderful doctor, who took the time to read my file and who helped me reach a place I just couldn’t find. I stopped hating and blaming myself. I laughed and smiled, and for the first time, I didn’t feel guilty about doing it.
It takes so much courage and restraint to face this thing head on. I’m stronger than I ever thought. I’m more gentle than I ever thought. Despite this gut-wrenching heartache, I am filled with so much love and hope. Compassion comes so naturally to me, but that day, compassion came my way.
Thank you Dr. A, you helped save me ….
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