Choosing Your Battles
Since our youngest daughter was born, we've been faced with many battles. For too long I chose to fight those battles alone. My life was being controlled by fear, anxiety, and a constant feeling of overwhelm.
It took me 6 months to realize that maybe I needed some help and I talked to my doctor who promptly placed me on an anti-depressant. At first this seemed to help but slowly the fear, anxiety, and overwhelm began to take over again.
When she was 20 months old I finally decided it was time to talk to a counselor. My first experience in counseling unfortunately wasn't extremely positive. Thanks to the COVID pandemic, no in person sessions were taking place and instead were being completed over the phone. I got the impression that I wasn't much of a priority when I could hear the counselor heating up food in the microwave in the background. Needless to say that was the only session I completed with her.
Around this same time, I was in the middle of a significant weight loss. I was down 40 pounds in a matter of 4 months and felt really good about myself. Our daughter was also doing really well at this point and had not had anything major medically since December. I very wrongly assumed that I was handling everything fine and didn't need my anti-depressant anymore. I made the horrible decision of stopping my medication cold turkey. Please do not make this same mistake. This could have turned out really bad for me. You should always seek the guidance of your doctor when you think you’re ready to wean off your anti-depressants. I did have my doctor re-prescribe my anti-depressants shortly after this.
Needless to say, our daughter had a major seizure at the end of August which landed her in the hospital for a few days. Seizures continued to increase over the next several months and on top of it we were informed that it would be in her best interest to undergo another surgery to repair a hole in the base of her skull that was allowing brain tissue to penetrate into her nasal passage.
Talk about a major blow! I felt as though I was in a constant free fall at this point and decided it was time to give therapy another try. I began sessions with the new counselor in December 2020 and thankfully it was a much better experience. We continue to work together to this day and she has helped me so much along this journey. However, I still felt something was missing.
After a major medical setback in December of 2019, when I wasn’t sure our daughter would survive, I started to really doubt my faith in God. How could a supposedly loving God put us through so much heartache and keep letting these things happen to our baby girl? I just could not understand why we were chosen to live this life. I wanted the life I had envisioned for myself, for my children. I wanted to still be able to work, to take a vacation, to feel comfortable just going out for an evening with my husband or friends.
The angrier I became with God and the more I doubted my faith, the worse I felt. Around Easter of 2021 I decided I couldn’t continue living like I was. I sat down with my journal and realized the thing I was missing was God, my faith. Since this time I’ve been working hard to restore my faith because I now believe that God wants to fight for us. I am meant to trust God, listen to his plans for me, and let him solve my problems vs constant fear and anxiety while trying to deal with these battles on my own.
Continually working on my relationship with God, working with the counselor, and taking my anti-depressants have been the key combination to help fight the seemingly endless battles of having a medically complex child. It is still my hope to eventually wean off of the anti-depressants, but in the meantime I’m thankful to have this little bit of help along my journey.
This next part is for you. Please do not feel like you have to fight your battles alone. If you are feeling overwhelmed with depression or anxiety do not feel ashamed to reach out for help. Seek a counselor if needed. Take meds if you need to. Reach out to your people and lean into them. God did not intend us to do this life alone.
“You shall not need to fight in this battle; take your positions, stand still, and see the deliverance of the Lord” (2 Chronicles 20:17).
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24-25)