Yes – I am back on the blog (Bryanna here). Maybe it was Mariah that sparked the fire when she decided it was time to show our faces again or maybe it was that I need to address the elephant in the room. Although not much has changed in the last few years, it seems much has at the same time.
Life goes fast and before you know it two years have passed and you find yourself wondering where time as gone and how you spent it. May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Some of you have seen on Instagram my openness with admitting that I have struggled with my mental health. After my fourth child in August 2020, I suffered from PPD and never found the help I needed, even though my doctors urged me to take the anti-depressants, pride said “You do that you’re weak. You’re not enough. You’ve failed. What would your family think. What would people think.” I decided that it was something every mom goes through and gets through, so I should be able to “buck up” and plow on. Truth is I reached a breaking point.
My mental health suffered for years and I continued to hide behind my smiles and “fakeness.” Inside I felt like I was drowning and barely grasping for air. The weight of all of life crushing me. Life was sucked from me and the constant “I am great!” “I have it all together” and “I love Jesus, so my life is awesome” attitude I was pretending to have was too much for me to put on. In all honesty, I didn’t have it altogether. I felt like the glue I was supposed to be for the family was not sticking anymore and I was failing at everything. I felt like I really didn’t know who I was. Who God was. What anything was.
Throw in a pandemic with the world gone mad and my life spiraled. I reached a breaking point in the beginning of 2022 and finally blew it. I became vulnerable with my husband and told him I am not really okay. I felt like I was dying on the inside and there was no life left. Passions gone. Love for anything gone. Motivation lost. Joy lost. My physical health was suffering and questions were not answered by medical professionals. Test after test, appointment after appointment and no relief. Just more tests and more appointments (which are still continuing) and thousands of dollars down the drain.
My passion for everything I loved was gone. Most days I wanted to stay in bed, alone, in a dark room, unbothered. Well as a work-from-home mom of four kids, who homeschools, that is not an option. There were bad days, there were dark days, there were days I didn’t even want to wakeup anymore. I wanted out. I cried in my closet. I cried in the shower. I cried on my runs. I cried in the car when alone driving to appointments. I screamed in my closet. I screamed on my runs. I screamed in the car. I begged God to help and felt He heard nothing. Why was I like this? Why was I so weak? Why couldn’t I do it all like that mom on Instagram? She has five, four, six kids…..she has kids and works from home…she homeschools…..she looks so happy.
What was wrong with me – I hated my life. I felt I had failed as a mother, wife, teacher, runner, coach and on and on. I wanted everyone to leave me alone and at the same time I wanted someone to reach out. I wanted someone to understand. I wanted someone to provide hope. Listen. Help.
Those struggling with mental health can feel very alone, even in a world of people, a big family, a busy life. The more I piled on work, kids activities, etc, the more alone I felt. I tried to fill my emptiness and it only added to my stress. I couldn’t juggle it all anymore and soon all the balls dropped.
Today I still struggle. Certain comments set me off, depressive episodes happen. I try not to fake “JOY” anymore, but some days I find that I have. What has helped me the most is realizing the lies I had believed about myself and others. The biggest was “I am not enough! I do not do enough!” Perfectionism was my thorn in myside. Perfectionism and performance based loved are my culprit to depression and mental health struggles. The lies I believed. The triggers.
Perfectionism is a weapon of destruction. Being perfect is not obtainable and striving for it will leave you broken, depleted, disappointed and bitter. Nothing will ever be enough. Performance driven life is the same. Feeling like if you don’t perform a certain way you won’t be accepted, loved, valued. Those were my lies that fueled the voice inside that kept saying “You are not enough.” “You yell too much at your kids.” “You’re not a good mom.” “You don’t spend enough time with them.” “You aren’t teaching them enough.” “They don’t get the nutrition they need.” “Your marriage sucks.” “You aren’t reading your bible enough.” “You haven’t prayed enough.” “You don’t plug in with your family enough.” “Your work performance sucks.” and on and on it goes. Those are still thoughts I have to stop and combat.
If I have learned anything in my months of healing, it is that the biggest enemy you have is the “en in me.” It’s you! Your thoughts and perceptions. The voices you believe. It’s that perfectionism will kill you, but striving for excellence will free you (more on this to come). It’s that hope is always available, because our Heavenly Father loves you, gives us all we need, and has won. He strengthens us and sustains us. This is something I am trying to believe again.
And finally, your walk in life will not be easy. We need to realize that as Christians we are targeted. The enemy roams about waiting to devour and he won’t stop. But there is hope, because we do have the victory and our Heavenly Father will equip us. He doesn’t test us but He will equip us to fight all the fiery darts of the dark one and ace all those tests thrown our way. He prepares a feast in the presence of our enemies; we can flourish in the midst of our battles! Any battle we face, when our eyes are set on Him.
I won’t pretend anymore that my life is all “butterflies and roses” because it is not. I am on a battlefield and will be until the end. It will be a battle to raise my children in the Lord, to heal my mental health, to increase my faith, to sustain my Joy, to stay steadfast, to have healthy relationships, to keep out doubts, to have a great marriage, to shine bright in a dark world, to love those who persecute and belittle me…but when I feast my eyes on Him and give Him my whole life: He leads me. He clothes me. He sustains me.
So don’t lose hope. There is a God that loves you and sees you. A God that weeps when we do and has mercy on His people who are suffering. He will passionately pursue you, even when you feel so far away from Him. He hasn’t stopped loving you. Even in your darkest hour, your darkest day. He doesn’t run from you, it’s us that run from Him. We are enough for Him. We are His special treasure. We are His. It’s not always a quick fix. So don’t think you’ll wake up tomorrow and life will be great or that your life needs to be perfect. Don’t think you have to have it all together. Don’t believe those lies. No one has it altogether….only Jesus. That’s why we need him.
Until Next Time Be Whole and Be fit