Sunday, February 15, 2009

My Secret

I hope I'm not writing this blog without reason. I am about to reveal a secret I've kept from most people since I was 12 years old. Only a few people know of this secret... some of the closest people to me are even unaware. Not because I don't think I can tell them... but because they just won't understand. Now I am sharing it with the world - or at least the 6 people who read my blog - in hopes that maybe someone will read this who has the same secret and know they are not alone.

For the past 9 years, I have suffered from Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Honestly, if you've never experienced it - or never known anyone suffering from it - you probably just laughed at me. It does sound pretty foolish at first.

If you are unaware of what GAD is, Wikipedia says: Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is an anxiety disorder that is characterized by excessive, uncontrollable and often irrational worry about everyday things that is disproportionate to the actual source of worry. This excessive worry often interferes with daily functioning, as individuals suffering GAD typically catastrophise, anticipate disaster, and are overly concerned about everyday matters such as health issues, money, death, family problems, friend problems or work difficulties. They often exhibit a variety of physical symptoms, including fatigue, fidgeting, headaches, nausea, muscle tension, muscle aches, difficulty swallowing, trembling, twitching, irritability, sweating,insomnia, and hot flashes. These symptoms must be consistent and on-going, persisting at least 6 months, for a formal diagnosis of GAD to be introduced.

What GAD is NOT, however, is something that can go away with willpower. GAD, similar to depression, is just as physical as it is mental and emotional. Trust me, if I could stop this by just "not worrying", then it would have been over and done with by the time I was 13. My main focus of anxiety tends to be my health. When I was younger, it was much more broad. I worried about my parents dying, about being a victim of a terrorist act, even about the rapture. These are not things that a 12-year-old should be concerned with. Now, it usually starts with a symptom that gets completely blown out of proportion. I feel dizzy or tired, and I think that I automatically have a terminal illness, like a brain tumor or cancer. Lately, I have been extremely dizzy... which causes me to panic... which causes me to feel even more dizzy. It's a vicious cycle. It interferes with my daily life. In high school, I had to stay out of school for 2 weeks because I literally could not function. A couple of years ago, I stayed out of work for 10 days for the same reason. I have only had 4 or 5 times in my life where it got so bad it turned into a panic disorder like that, and I can tell I'm fighting it off right now. It could be because the trip back to GA was so stressful, along with having a sinus infection and getting ready to tell my husband goodbye for 7 months... but many times GAD gets really bad for no reason at all.

When this happens, I can't help but get furious with God. Mainly, because I will pray and pray and pray, and I don't see any immediate results. He isn't taking away the physical symptoms, and He isn't taking away the fear. There are countless verses in the Bible that tell us not to fear, but I wish it was that easy. I just rely on my mom and family in times like this to pray for me, because my prayer seems to be so ineffective and my relationship with God so detached. Maybe I'm doing this wrong. Obviously, there is something the Lord wants me to learn from this, but I feel so weak and helpless when I'm in this state. Worthless. Hopeless.

Go here:

This is one of the best websites I've found to explain GAD.

Other than that, I don't really know why I wrote this blog, except if you have any words of encouragement, I'd love to hear them. If you suffer from the same thing, know you're not alone.

A constant state of fear is not a way to live. That's not living. This is not living. I know there's a way to break this curse. There has to be. Pray that I find it.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

We made it alive!

Thank GOD we made it! California to Georgia... 2200 miles and 33 hours. It took us 3 days. It was a lot worse than the trip there for me. The weather sucked. SUCKED. And if you know me, you know that bad weather and airplanes are my 2 biggest fears. The first day was rain. That, along with driving on the sides of mountains in 4000 ft of elevation... well, I just wasn't exactly thrilled. We made it from San Diego, CA to El Paso, TX. I hate driving miles and miles with no town in site, and that was the case for most of it. Arizona, New Mexico, and west Texas... well... there are just no signs of life. The next day, we were outrunning this storm that's crossing the country. We were ahead of the rain, but the wind was around 30mph, and since we were in the desert for half of Texas, it kept creating these dust storms that were kind of scary to drive through... not to mention blowing our little car around. It finally got better and we started seeing civilization around Abeline, which is in the middle of Texas. We stopped in Shreveport, LA for the night, and the next day set out for the last 14 hour stretch. The only problem is, I got sick. I guess the lack of sleep mixed with eating horribly and anxiety got to me. I was exhausted. I made Chase stop in another hotel in Mississippi, and we stayed there a few hours while he let me nap. I woke up feeling a little better, and we tried again. FINALLY we made it home to Albany, GA at 12:30 last night, and I have NEVER been happier to be home! My nerves were completely shot, and I'm still trying to get over the trip. But, on the up-side, I did get some pretty cool photos out of it. Here are a few of my faves.

This is the beach at Camp Pendleton in CA. There was a storm off to the west, so it made some interesting shots. We were waiting on some of Chase's buddies. They were going of the same interstate for part of the way, so I was fortunate enough to get some shots while we waited:

Then here are a few faves from mostly Cali & Arizona:

All I can do is praise the Lord that we made it safe. And that it'll be at least another 7 months before I have to make that trip again!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

God is so good.

Once again, the Lord revealed Himself to me just a little bit more after I cried out to Him. Read the post before this one, then read the devotional that was in my inbox this morning:

You Shall Know
Walk with Me. I will teach you. Listen to Me and I will speak. Continue to meet Me, in spite of all opposition and every obstacle, in spite of the days when you may hear no voice, and there may come no intimate heart-to-heart telling.

As you persist in this, and make a life-habit of it, in many marvelous ways I will reveal My will to you. You shall have more sure knowing of both the present and the future. But that will be only the reward of the regular coming to meet Me.

Life is a school. There are many teachers. Not to everyone do I come personally. Believe literally that the problems and difficulties of your lives can be explained by Me more clearly and effectually than by any other.

Thank you, Lord, for continuing to stick by me, even through my stupidity.

Sorry, guys. It's been a while.


I haven't really posted anything with any substance in a couple of weeks, so I thought I'd update all of y'all (see, I'm ready to get back to GA!) on what's going on in my life. Chase is deploying at the beginning of March. His 2 week pre-deployment leave begins this Saturday at 7am. During his leave, we are moving me and my belongings back to Georgia. I'm going back to my hometown to live with my family because a) I've only been out here in Cali 3 months, and that's not long enough to have any sort of foundation. I don't have any friends or family out here. The only reason I am out here at all is because Chase is here. And b) I am going to need so much support from family and friends during these 7 months. I'm going to need them to keep me occupied and show me the love that I won't be getting while Chase is overseas. So, I've been busy with the last few days of my job out here, packing, getting all of the deployment stuff set up, etc. It has been stressful, to say the least.

To be honest, in the back of my mind I knew this deployment was coming... I guess it just never occured to me that it is just around the corner. I thought I'd handle it ok, especially since I've been incredibly homesick since I've moved out here. I mean, I'm getting to go home to all of my loved ones. I've missed my family so much, as well as my best friends Whitney and Lindsey. Lindsey and I haven't been apart from each other for more than 2 weeks since the 4th grade up until this past October. However, Chase and I had to go to a mandatory deployment readiness class for married Marines and their spouses, and it just made everything so real. I've basically been an emotional wreck ever since. Poor Chase, barely a day goes by that I haven't burst into tears. It's not that I mean to, trust me. In fact, I'm desperately trying to be strong for him. Of course he feels like it's his fault; like he's doing this to me. I'm ok until we lie down to go to sleep, or until he hugs me, and then I lose it. I guess I feel like I can let my guard down in those situations. Either way, I just didn't expect the deployment to affect me this much beforehand. It's still a month away. And these upcoming two weeks are going to be wonderful. I'll be with family, friends, and Chase back at home. That rarely happens. But 7 months is a long time, and as the Bible verse says, "What God has joined..." You know the deal. It's really true that after you enter into the covenant of marriage, God transforms your soul into one. I feel incomplete when we're apart, and that's how I should feel. Not the puppy-love type of incomplete. It has nothing to do with infatuation. After 4 and a half years, I'd say we've outgrown the "honeymoon phase". Anyways, I am getting off-topic. These next 7 months are going to be the most bittersweet times of my life, I think. I'm just praying for strength, and I'm asking you to pray too. Especially for Chase. He's going to be the one in an unfamiliar place, with no family and only his work buddies. He's going to be the one feeling like he's hurting me. I'm asking for the Lord to give him courage, peace, assurance, and, most of all, safety. I'll be claiming Psalm 91 over Chase everyday that he's gone.

On another note, I've also felt lacking in my spiritual walk. In Bible study, we talked about how right after a spiritual high - where you feel extremely close to God - there is almost guaranteed to be a spiritual low. I feel like I'm slipping into that low. Chase and I have skipped church the past 2 Sundays, I don't pray as often as I did, and my quiet time and time in the Word have had this detached feeling. I hate it. I hate feeling far from God. I know it's my fault. I haven't fallen into an ocean of sin (any more than I already was), but I just don't feel that relationship that I felt. I know that God is still reaching out to me, it is just hard to remind myself of that often since I don't feel it. I need to feel God's peace now more than ever, and I have just been slacking. Now I'm kicking myself for it. Maybe this is just the Enemy. I read my friend Amber's blog, and she said that when you start hearing too many "you's" in your head accusing you of things, you can be certain that is no one but Satan. For example, "You are unworthy. You are the reason things are going wrong in your life. God isn't drawing near, and it's because of you." They're all lies. I know I need to pick myself up before i sink even lower in this. The beauty of God's grace is that He knows you are going to slip up, yet He loves you and gently pushes you along through those low times. We looked over some verses in Bible study discussing this: Romans 7:14-25.

14 So the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. 15 I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. 16 But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. 17 So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.
18 And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. 19 I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. 20 But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.

But, Paul goes on to say:

24 Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? 25 Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Praise the Lord! I mean, honestly, if Paul - a guy who wrote the majority of the New Testament - screws up and admits it, it's inevitable that we are going to screw up. It is the sinful nature in us. As soon as we realize this, and stop having a woe-is-me attitude each time we get in a spiritual slump, the sooner we can get back on track with the Father and continue to allow Him to use us to do His Will... which is why we are alive in the first place, right?

Man, I am preaching to myself! I bet I sound schizophrenic. Anyhow, I feel better now that I've gotten all of that off of my chest. I was so uptight and stressed that I felt like I couldn't even put anything into words that made sense. Now I think I can go to bed. For those of you who have stuck with me thus far, thank you, and please remember Chase and me in your prayers the rest of this year. We've got a bumpy road ahead! Also, pray for our trip back home to GA. It's a 3 day journey, so pray for safety and sanity! Thank y'all for all your support.