Some people are scared of spiders. Some are scared of heights, enclosed spaces, clowns...or whatever else you can think of that strike fear into people. (my sister is scared of balloons...yep, balloons!!) Anyway, I have normal fears like everybody else..for me it's spiders and daddy longlegs. However...when it comes to Depression and anxiety, one of the things I am scared of is the telephone. Yep, that's right...I'm a total phoneophobe!
It is actually not the telephone itself, but answering it and not knowing what or who is on the other end. Even on my mobile, when I can see who is calling, I still can't bring myself to answer. I prefer a voicemail to live voices and favour text messages over potential social anxiety episodes. I also have trouble making phone calls. I don't know why, or if anyone else ever has this fear, but it's just something that is part of my illness. My family won't hear from me for weeks sometimes months at a time, and my friends get frustrated with my phone always going to voicemail. I know that whatever it is, is the same reason I try to shut myself away. I know myself well enough now to know that when I start dreading phone calls, or seeing anyone, that I'm headed for a ‘under' episode. I seem to just want to disappear under the radar of people, situations and life in general. I don't really know how to stop it, and I have tried to fight against it by forcing myself into situations and phone calls etc
..but it never ends well. So I have to acknowledge it, let it happen and ride it out.
Luckily for me, I'm an introvert so I never mind being away from people, and ‘riding it out’ is more like a rest than a wrestle.
But unfortunately, that ‘rest...or wrestle’ does come with side order of misunderstanding from the people around me. Those closest to me have learned to accept it rather than try to understand it because even I, at times, do not understand it. I know it's hard on people who rely on me, and that too is hard for me, especially on top of the mental fog that is stopping me living a normal life. It is crushingly frustrating when I'm going about my life at a seemingly good tempo; when things seem like they are getting much better and I'm considering a decrease in medication. Only to be hit full force with a down spell, go back two spaces, do not pass go and have to increase not decrease the meds. But such is life.
These times are a reminder that I need to look after myself a bit better by doing the usual sleep well, eat right, try to exercise etc etc. And soon enough, that down spell will disperse again and I can carry on...hopefully where I left off, assess the damage and debrief the troops.
It is always nice to get back into normal life again, catch up on what I have missed, and to be around people again. My friends and family are a massive support network and I honestly could not get through these times without them...even when I can’t be around them, just knowing they are there at the end of the phone (that I’m scared to use...oh the irony!) and knowing that they are praying for me always gives me strength.
As does my relationship with God. I know He never leaves me; even in my darkest moments, the knowledge that I’m loved beyond measure and that God has a plan for me...even in my messy, non conversational, scared and miserable states, He can, and does use those moments to work together for good. And I don’t know how I would get through the despair and desperation without that promise.
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.”
Romans 8:28 ESV
And so, I am so grateful for the people and the prayers that get me through. I am grateful for the space people give me when I need it, their understanding (or not) and acceptance, and most of all, for my faith and relationship with Jesus. Depression is by no means for the faint hearted!