I have an anxiety disorder.
It leaves me with a predisposition towards depression.
This means that stress effects me more than the “average” individual. When this stress adds up it becomes multiple anxieties (worries or fears of unknown), and then depression.
I haven’t experienced a bout of diagnosed ‘Major Depression’ since 2007. At that time I took antidepressants and received counseling. I’m not ashamed.
Throughout my life before, during, and since then I have managed my stress level through exercise, dieting, prayer and meditation; but every once in a while the stress breaks through, creates anxiety, and leads me down a dark and lonely path.
Just now, lying in bed with my eyes closed, the edges of my mattress felt miles away from me. Alone, under a small blanket, my body lay void of any human contact either real or imagined.
It’s difficult to talk about, but if I don’t give a name to my fears then they are allowed to roam my consciousness unbridled.
I’m anxious about the past.
Have I made too many mistakes? Have I expressed my love freely and without an agenda? Have I done everything I could to make the people around me feel cared about?
I’m anxious about the future.
What will I do? Where will I go? How will I get there? Who will be with me?
I’m anxious about the present.
Am I living a life worth living? What can I do now to show I’ve learned from my past? What can I do now to prepare me for the future?
While these are good questions to evaluate your life with, for someone with an anxiety disorder they quickly consume your life and put unnecessary fear into it.
I am aware that my fears are illogical. I know that worrying will not calm my fears. I understand that my fears are out of my control.
And while I lay in my darkened room, on a continent-wide mattress, I gain a new appreciation for the man Jesus meets in Mark 9.
“I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief.”
Faith and doubt always coexist.
If there were always ‘no shadow of a doubt’ then we would not be talking about faith, we would be talking about fact.
And the FACT is that Jesus did unbelievable things. The only way for us to comprehend them is through his graceful Spirit.
Even belief is a gift of grace.
The fact that I face is that my neurotransmitters fire improperly. I will never overcome this fact through any amount of readings, pep-talks, or information on the subject. Even the combination of drugs and therapy only gave me the clarity to see what I really needed.
The only thing that will allow me to overcome the problem I face is unwavering, unconditional love from the Holy Spirit, carried to me through other people.
I can manage low levels of stress, but I cannot overcome doubts; no matter how hard I pray, how much of the Bible I commit to memory, or how many times I attend service. Nothing I do will remove my doubts; and as someone who considers himself a part of the Church, I wonder how many non-Church members have been hurt by the demand for an elimination of doubts?
If that is you and you want to believe, join me in praying this prayer tonight, “Lord, help me with my unbelief. Amen.”