I will be 60 this August and have been fighting depression, fear & anxiety since I can remember. I have been a Christian since 1993 and Spirit filled since 1997. Once I was saved, I thought I was healed of this and for awhile it felt like I was, but now I know I wasn't.
A brief history ... my father was a cold, distant, unaffectionate, critical man who had nothing but harsh words for me, even until his death in 2005. I didn't weep over his death, I was sorry he died without Jesus! I felt relief that this tormentor was gone from my life for good. I DID grieve for the relationship that we COULD have had.
My mom is a Christian and we have a good relationship, but not a deep one. I still have to be the 'good daughter' around her or I'll be unacceptable and a disappointment to her. My parents both had really horrible childhoods too so I am sure it made them the people they are/were,
Both my parents and both my siblings suffer from depression, anxiety, panic attacks, etc. So there is a heredity component to this. My brother and I chose to follow my dad's therapy and drink our way through life. My sister has just 'toughed it out' like my mother. I haven't had alcohol since 1996, but it's a constant battle to avoid it because when I drank was the only time I felt 'normal' and didn't stress about life.
My husband of 24 years and I are both retired from the military so we both moved a lot. I had a son, now 29, who had ADHD which put us through hell and back when he was a child. He is now functioning, has a job, has a girlfriend but is emotionally like me, distant and cold. I learned that well from my parents and passed it on. My husband was also a single parent when we married and his boy had ADD. We eventually sent him to live with his natural mother because things got so bad. Sorry this is so long.
In 2005, we moved to Indiana where my husband grew up and we live on the family farm. It's nice to be in the country but it is very isolated and lonely. I have one friend who still lives 1500 miles away where we used to live near my mom. Now my mom is 84 and has no family living close to her. I worry about her a lot.
My marriage is stale, boring, dull and lifeless. No affection, or love or closeness. We go through the motions, attend our church, talk about nothing deep or about things we feel. My husband recently had a heart attack while driving long haul and through God's direct intervention, he was saved and his heart repaired. He is well enough now to start driving long haul again which, although the money is good and we sure need it, I will be alone again here in the Indiana country. I believe I will be very tempted to start drinking again.
I have been on xanax for several years to help me sleep but I find I am taking it more often and during the day because I am so stressed, so depressed, so self condemning ... which leads to despair and hopelessness. I have lost interest in most everything. I am always angry and snappy, sarcastic and bitter because of carrying around so much hurt, rejection, abandonment and betrayal issues. Most days I wish I didn’t have to live with MYSELF!
I have done all I know to do ... healthy eating since 2001, tons of supplements, exercise difficult since I'm always so tired, drugs, prayer, therapy, journaling, reading my Bible, worship & praise ... even doing programs like yours is hard for me because my first thoughts are always WHY BOTHER, IT WON'T MATTER, WHO CARES, etc.
I WANT to believe something will work but I'm losing the strength, mentally, emotionally and physically, to DO anything about it. I believe the root of this is the rejection and abandonment issues from the childhood i.e., if you want to be loved & accepted, you must be good and obedient!! Imagine how that has hindered my relationship with Jesus!
I feel like a trapped animal, alone in a dark cage, no one to talk to, no one to help, no one to understand, affirm, confirm and comfort me. Oh I do 'put on a happy face' especially at church, but inside I am DYING a slow death.
Reply from Sound-Mind.org (Part 1)
Thank you so much for sharing your story here. Through sharing your story, I believe you will be touching the hearts of other readers who are suffering right along with you. As alone as you feel, I assure you that you’re not.
Our parents, being the first teachers in our lives, do their best to teach us what they know and although most of it is meant for good, it doesn't always turn out that way. From the time we are born we are learning - our brains are "programmed" with information that we receive from our most influential caretakers. Unfortunately, many of us have been unintentionally "programmed" to see the world, ourselves and situations through a distorted lense. Our parents or caretakers unknowingly pass down their bad habits of thinking. This is why genetics often play a role in the anxiety and depression that many people have.
Once we understand anxiety and depression and how it has manifested itself in our lives, we are then responsible for doing the work to turn it around. We do this by challenging our thoughts and making them obedient to the Truth. Our brain has a job...and that is to believe whatever we tell it. So if we are accepting lies for truth, we then feel the effects in our body's and emotions. As Christians, it is one thing to know what the Bible says and believe it, yet another to actually apply it to our lives. Belief always begins with the choice to believe, but many people stop here. Transformation begins when we begin to replace our misbeliefs with truths and act on them.
2 Corinthians 10: 5 says "We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."
This really is about you battling your own thoughts. Thoughts that have been allowed to stay because you have accepted them. Regardless of our lives and the hand we were dealt, we all have the power to choose how we perceive it all. It truly is about breaking the bad habit of misbelief in your life and nobody can do this for you - this is something you have to work at yourself and it's definitely hard work.
There is a great workbook that helped me in my own journey called Learning to Tell Myself the Truth by William Backus, Ph.D
This workbook is a 6 week guide to freedom from anger, anxiety, depression and perfectionism. Written by a Christian Psychologist, it actively teaches us how to overcome our misbeliefs with truth.
Another book that is also helpful is Battlefield of the Mind: Winning the Battle in Your Mind by Joyce Meyer Remember, these books can be found at your local library as well!
Exercise, diet, therapy, journaling and reading your bible are all fantastic things that help bring health and recovery to your mind and body. But if you are not dealing with your thought life first, then all these other things won't be as effective as they could be in your life. I really want to encourage you to work on replacing your negative thinking with truth thinking. This is done through repetition and has to be done until this new way of thinking takes over by habit. This is about creating a new habit of thinking based on truth but you must be persistent - more persistent than your old negative misbeliefs.
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