Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Jeremiah the Prophet: On Anxiety and Depression

Jeremiah, by Michelangelo, 1512
Looking for information on a medication, I happened upon an article on Web MD about Web confessing, in which people confess things or talk about their lives anonymously on the Internet. The title questioned whether it was a guilty pleasure or healthy habit. Maybe you don't have time to read it? Let me just report that studies show it is beneficial to unload your heart and mind, but of course you have to use discretion to protect yourself and your family.

Even though this is an anonymous blog on which I share pictures sparingly, I do often delete things I regret writing. But feeds? They exist forever, thus the need for anonymity or reserve to the point of producing text that is sterile, or sadly, too much like this: "Look at my great life...no messy heaviness around here! Aren't you jealous and don't you wish you were me?"

Not surprisingly, I've been discouraged lately. I haven't been writing, and hours of research on curriculum cut my devotional time considerably. Depression and anxiety seeped into my daily life before I realized what hit me.

If you have someone near by to talk things over with, that helps, but busy moms relocated from original home states don't always have that advantage. It's harder to make friends once you are swamped with child-rearing, but holding on to old ones is somewhat easier when they live nearby.

We had multiple issues with the kids and other worries, and then the arm-break in one child and the tree-climbing accident in another resulted in more stress. Not to mention, when you take children to the ER, they are trained to ask the child immediately what happened, before asking the parent, so as to uncover any possible child abuse. Taking two children to the ER within two weeks of one another? You'd better have a good story. Maybe you aren't so paranoid about such things, but I feel guilty the second they ask me what happened, even though it's never negligence or abuse.

Yesterday I was so overcome by anxiety that I made the dreaded appointment at the clinic to be seen next week for anxiety and depression. (And migraine follow-up...the Topamax flopped and I'm out of ideas).

I couldn't relax thinking of when the next accident would happen, or the next crisis, similar to the way you feel when you get in your car after a minor accident. When my five year old did a forward roll, I imagined her breaking her neck and being in a wheelchair for life. I pleaded...please no somersaults until you get training in gymnastics...because what if she doesn't tuck her head as I instructed? (Ridiculous, I know, but husband knew someone who used bad technique and did end up paralyzed after a forward roll. Last week she did a handstand that ended in a unintentional flip, and the landing was scary.)

Stick to cartwheels and round-offs, I pleaded.

One child is on concussion "brain rest" right now, but when we start hopefully soon, school will change and be difficult this year, with all four formally taught at once. And with learning-disability materials abounding, most lessons will be teacher-directed. Who will keep up with laundry and cooking and cleaning?

Then yellow-jacket wasps, the venom of which Paul is allergic to, built a nest outside the playroom window. When husband sprayed it outside with the gun-like wasp spray, it drove many inside from some tiny hole or opening, and in a panic, I used wasp spray in the playroom to kill them in a hurry before they overtook the house and stung Paul multiple times. That would be too much venom even for an EPI PEN, I suspected.

You aren't supposed to use wasp spray indoors, but I didn't realize it until I read it after: "Never use indoors". Now I'm paranoid about the spray on the ceiling fan and the bits that dropped on the carpet underneath, even though husband washed it at least from the carpet. How long is it toxic for? Should I just take down the ceiling fan to discard it or try to clean it on top of all my other duties? The kids aren't comfortable in the playroom anymore, and it's one of the largest rooms in our house; we need it. I keep thinking about the effects on our nervous systems, and did it get on other things too, even though it's not an aerosol?

Stop the insanity!

I did just that last night by starting Jeremiah. It reminded me so much of God's faithfulness, power, and mercy. Isn't that what's missing from our lives when we cut devotional time too short? A sense of awe about our Creator? We lose a sense of God's provision, his mercy, his sufficiency, and most importantly, his love for us! Worry and depression seep in and choke us, and all the while the answers were right there in Scripture.

Be still and know that I am God.

We forget over and over again, and that's why we can never be done reading the Bible.

Do you remember Jeremiah? He ministered to Judah during 627 - 586 B.C., urging God's people to turn from their sins and go back to God.

Jeremiah was a miserable failure according to the world's standards; for 40 years he served as God's servant, but nobody listened. He was consistent and passionate, to no avail. He was poor and suffered severe deprivation to prophesy as God instructed. He suffered prison and a cistern, and he was taken to Egypt against his will. All rejected him, including neighbors, family, the false prophets and priests, his audience, and the kings.

Wow! And I thought I had a difficulties.

But what did God think about Jeremiah? Only that he was one of the most successful men in all history, because he was one of the most faithful and obedient.

I am still going to talk to a doctor about depression and anxiety, but I know that isn't the whole answer--not now, not ever. We can have no problem that isn't answered in Scripture.

And in the end, it doesn't matter how successful the world regards us, so why are we pressuring ourselves so? Is a somersault gone wrong ever the end of the world, or like Jeremiah's struggles, might it be part of God's plan, and something we can trust Him through?

We need only please an audience of one.

Just one. 

Jeremiah 1:4-10 

The Call of Jeremiah

The word of the Lord came to me, saying,
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
    before you were born I set you apart;
    I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.
“Alas, Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.”
But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord.
Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I have put my words in your mouth. 10 See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.”
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8 comments:

Tesha Papik said...

I want to leave a really long comment to encourage you but things are crazy here;/ so I will just let you know I am praying for you for now! Praying!!!!

Christine said...

Thank you for your love and support, Tesha! I sure appreciate you. :)

multicolouredsmartypants.com said...

My thoughts are with you and I read this about ten minutes after I finished praying for you. You're staying on my prayer list for the foreseeable future. I can so relate to these sentiments. Jeremiah is a wonderful example of God using the weak things of the world. Praying for you.
Sandy x

Christine said...

Thank you, Sandi. I really covet your prayers. Thank you for your love and understanding, my friend!

Lisa said...

You already know that you're in my daily prayers, my friend.
((Hugs))

Terri H said...

I am just here catching up after a long break from blog reading. I will pray for your family now. Thanks so much for sharing your struggles and your encouragement from the Lord. God is using you in mighty ways!

Christine said...

Lisa and Terri, it is so good to hear from you both! I hope you had a good summer Terri, and that slowly things are getting a little easier, Lisa. Love to you and your families!

Terri H said...

Summer was good, but too fast! As we dive into a new Sonlight core (C) and do some P3/4, I love hearing about your Sonlight learning adventures. We love Sonlight!