I know what it's like to feel like you're invisible.
To feel like when people do see you, it's only to criticize or make fun of you.
To be told, "I say these things because we're friends. You know I'm just kidding." And to choose to believe the lie, because the thought of making new friends literally makes you ill.
I know how it feels to truly believe that no one would miss you if you left, or just chose to end your life.
I remember being told to take antidepressants and a semester off school to "fix" me. The university psychologist spoke to me for 10 minutes. 10 MINUTES.
I remember stopping the drugs cold turkey because they made me feel numb, and it was easier to fake happy than forget what it felt like to feel any other emotion.
I remember telling myself I had to hide how I felt from everyone to avoid being judged or put into the hospital. From then on, I was fine - great even! Everything was good, I had no struggles, and life was lattes and rainbows.
I remember being a newly married woman unable to explain my feelings to my husband because I held that much fear of judgement - I need to make it clear that this had NOTHING to do with him. It was all in me, in my mind. He never gave up on me, through any of this.
I know how it feels to be afraid of being pregnant, and then feeling like a horrible mother when I had a miscarriage and lost that baby. I was convinced before it even happened that it was my fault, but I hid my feelings again to protect everyone else.
I remember the instant fear when I discovered I was pregnant again 18 months later. I was bullied by my doctor, had multiple panic attacks throughout my pregnancy, and was constantly told about the horrible things that *could* happen to my baby. I could taste the fear in my constant heartburn.
I remember feeling not enough from the beginning of my son's life. I spent 38 hours trying to be induced, when I do not believe it was necessary and I did EVERYTHING right but ended up having a C-section.
I remember the absolute terror that held me as we drove home from the hospital. I had a week with my husband and mother to help me, and then the same day they both left me on my own with this helpless little human. I had no faith in myself, and constantly had thoughts of him somehow falling down our steps, or the couch, or out of bed, or so many other terrible scenarios. I was paralyzed with fear and just cried constantly.
I remember realizing I needed help. I couldn't sleep, I couldn't relax, I couldn't do things for myself because I was so afraid that if I wasn't constantly caring for my son something awful would happen and I would never forgive myself.
I remember my epiphany that I was absolutely co-dependent, along with being diagnosed with major depression and anxiety. My counselor seemed confused during my first appointment because I spoke about the depths of my struggles but appeared to be 100% functional.
I know how it feels to be afraid to hope. To hope for change. To hope for help. To be afraid of the hard work ahead. But oh, my friends, I know what it is to have that Hope realized. To feel the weight of all your fears and insecurities and everyone else's expectations of you as it melts away.
I am learning what it is to know that my God cares for me, even when I can't care for myself. He also cares about my son so much more than I ever can imagine. His reasons for what has happened to me may not be entirely clear to me in this life, but one thing is for certain...
We walk through trials so that we can hold others' hands through theirs. Our experiences are never the exact same, but we're never never never the only one dealing with a struggle at any given time. The scars I carry, which may never completely heal, allow me to encourage others who are in the deepest, darkness, most painful parts of it. To show them there is Hope, there is light and there is love in this world.
Please don't be fooled though - I'm fighting my anxiety every.single.day. My depression makes appearances, but my anxious heart just won't quit. Through Christ I learn every day that I can trust in Him, even when I don't have the answers, or when I don't like the answers I get. There are reasons for all the things that happen to us, and for me, I choose to trust that even if I can't figure it out now, someday I will be able to look back and understand. I made some decisions in college that I still regret to this day, but I know now if I hadn't made them at the time, I probably wouldn't be around today.
More than anything, I know what it feels like to believe God doesn't want you or love you, and thankfully every day I am reminded that these thoughts are entirely false. He loves me, He has always wanted me, and I believe the same for each of you.
Submitted by: Chelsea
Chelsea is the owner and operator of Hooked in Hope. She crochets custom pieces all the while sharing her journey of recovery from devastating anxiety and depression. You can find her on social media here: On Facebook or Instagram.
Thank you Chelsea for trusting me with such a vulnerable piece of yourself. I struggle almost on a daily basis with anxiety and understand firsthand the difficulty it can present in almost every facet of your life. I was diagnosed with severe post partum depression after the birth of my first son and needed medication to get through that time in my life. I felt so out of control and unfit to even be his mother.
I wish I could reach out and give you a hug right now because I know the pain and sadness can be too much sometimes. You are loved and you have, like you said, a great Hope in Him! I pray nothing but peace over your life!
I am so happy we connected and found one another.
Love and lemons,