the inside of my brain

Recently, Kim, a blogging friend of mine asked why we live with painful stuff for far too long?

I know why I’ve lived with mine.

Most days, I cannot think about painful things for more than a few minutes, sometimes not even a few seconds, without my brain spiraling down a black hole of despair that threatens to swallow me alive like when the Israelites are swallowed alive for defying the Lord’s chosen, Moses and Aaron.

I know it sounds dramatic, but I’m not even exaggerating.

When I fall into the hole, if it’s a good day, I make my way back up to the surface in a few hours. On not so good days? I can find myself trapped for days, weeks, or even months mostly in the dark, occasionally surfacing for a few hours.

The triggers? They don’t even have to be my stuff. They could be from the news, a blog, a song, a commercial even!

I try so hard to keep the rose colored glasses on for protection, avoid sadness at all cost, my head safely buried in sand, but the world always breaks in. Always. There’s no avoiding the world. I’ve tried.

I show up for work feeling so painfully sad I can’t speak, if I did I know I would come undone, start crying and never be able to stop.

When my mood is good, I cope well with painful things. Unfortunately my mood goes up and down so often it rivals the most intricate and amazing roller coasters engineered.

I’ve been talking myself into being okay for most of my life, you don’t have to talk me into it too.

So when I meet a Christian who has never been depressed, ever and hear him/her say I just need more faith. That just makes me feel worse. I know I lack something, now you just added more to my lacking pile. AND. I just spent the last 8 years of my life thinking I would get better with a miraculous healing when the miracle of modern medicine has been staring me in the face.

I’m sorry. I know it sounds like I’m angry with you, I’m not. I’m not blaming you. A lot of people just don’t understand.

I just thought I should let you know what the inside of my brain looks like, to help you understand a little bit more, to provide a bit of insight, to remind you of what Paul says in Romans:

Romans 12:15
Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.

This is the heavy stuff I think about. [emphasis on heavy]

His… Michelle
Philippians1:20

Linking with Lyli.

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and now for the less cryptic version of a story

Well here I am to inform you of a really big change. I’m leaving Mercy Ships. I’ve been with the ship for a little more than a year now. It’s been the best job I’ve ever had in all my nursing career. But for the last 2 months I’ve been in a serious battle with doubt, anxiety, depression about whether I should be staying for another 2 years? I’ve been saying out loud I want to go home. I’ve been asking God if I should go home? It felt like my prayers were just hitting the metal ceiling of my cabin. As I walked around the ship saying I just want to go home, people started saying maybe you should go home.

Circumstances haven’t helped in this matter. I have some really beloved family members who are sick. I have one uncle who is dying. I have a very close relationship with my sons and I miss them terribly. All things I could live with given time to transition. But then I went into town with two friend and I was assaulted. I wasn’t physically injured but I was still traumatized. In that moment, I believe things took a turn for the worse. That moment is when real depression set in.

I love to blog. Always have. I love that I can be open and honest and transparent on this blog. But how could I write about this side of life in Africa? How could I tell this story without having everyone I love be terrified for my safety? So I just didn’t tell the people I love. I told people around the ship. Some people were sympathetic. Some people thought I was totally overreacting and being ridiculous, discounting my feelings completely. So I stopped talking about it. Anyway, that assault opened the door to an old wound I thought I had dealt with and finished. But I guess I was wrong about that too.

The depression I thought I was handling became noticeable to my supervisors. They told me I have to come home to get help. The ship is not equipped for this sort of thing. The pastoral care is limited to chaplains and they are only equipped for so much.

The bottom line is God was listening and working. I was trying so hard to honor my commitment. I didn’t want to let anyone down, not Mercy Ships, not my friends, not my family, not my supporters, and mostly not God. So He took matters into His own hands and made the supervisors make the decision for me. I feel like a huge burden has been lifted from my heart. I feel heartbroken at the same time.

I’ll be leaving the ship sometime this coming week. Then I’m heading to Pennsylvania to visit my family. Then I’m heading to Gainesville to visit my son. Then I’ll be heading back to south Florida to live again and to seek counseling.

I want to thank all of you for your faithful financial support over the last year. I want to thank you for your prayers too. I would also really like to schedule visits with all of the awesome folks who’ve supported me from other places to meet you face to face and say thank you!

I really thought I was meant to be a long term missionary. But Jesus said to me, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” It’s time for me to sit still for awhile and rest.

When they told me to go home, I was angry at first. I yelled at God. “Why did you do this to me!?” Then He said, “Should you only accept good things from The Lord? Shouldn’t you praise the Lord even in this? The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

So I’m coming home. They told me to take at least a year off. If I want to return after that, I can come for 2 months and see how it goes. I think they made a wise decision. They’ve been very supportive. I know they only want what’s best for me.

Please keep praying for me though because I feel like I let everyone down.

Love… Michelle
Philippians 1:20

Linking with Spiritual Sundays.

Ready For The Transition To Be Complete

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Linking up with Spiritual Sundays

I’ve been in Congo for 44 days. I’ve been back on the ship for 158 days, almost 6 months. I’m ready for the transition to be complete. I’m ready to be smiling and having fun most days. I’m ready to stop being homesick. I’m ready to stop being depressed. I’m ready and yet I’m still here.

I’m still homesick, particularly when I get a text from a boy saying I miss you! I can’t handle the I miss you texts. They break my heart. I’m trying so hard to keep a stiff upper lip, hanging on by a thread, and then the text comes. I dissolve into a flood of tears.

When will this sadness leave? How long will it take? I feel really stuck. I would really like to have a day filled with laughter. One. Whole. Day. Is that too much to ask for?

I can’t even stand my own ramblings. How can I inflict myself on others?

How long God?

His… Michelle
Philippians 1:20