Last month saw numerous bouts of low moods, a heightened sense of insecurities and a large sense of loneliness. This isn’t the first time I have felt this way.
So when I noticed this in week one,
I stayed silent.
‘Let me go through this myself’ I said.
By week 2, I was operating in a mode that wouldn’t draw too much attention to what was going on inside of me. I was absently present most days. There in body but absent in everything else. And other days I was extremely present in action and behavior but mentally absent.
By week 3, I was having breakdowns at work. I made sure no one would see them but that didn’t change the fact that HR grew concerned about me.
‘Hi team, not sure if you’ve noticed but Sarah seems off. Is she ok?’
When a member of my team told me this question was asked, I felt so disappointed with myself.
I am the light! They should see God in me and not this awful thing called d……
At this point shame crept in.
So I stayed silent.
I hadn’t posted on Instagram for a few days which to some isn’t a big deal but considering I upload daily affirmations during the working week, it was kind of a big deal for me. But what was so strange is I actually didn’t realise I hadn’t posted until a few days had past. The norms of my day to day felt so distant to me.
At almost every obstacle before me, I accepted the outcome whether defeat or victory. I felt powerless over my days and ultimately powerless over my mind.
But so much was expected of me that I didn’t know who to talk to.
So I stayed silent.
By week 4, I made a decision that week 4 had to be different. Firstly I was going away for my cousins wedding and I had 10 whole days of being far far far away from home.
So I woke up the beginning of that week looking forward to escaping. But escaping doesn’t remove the problem and I knew that. But it didn’t change the fact that I knew being away with family and by myself would help me. And I was right.
Week 5 – I was able to take one step back and really evaluate why and how I got to this place. Instead of escaping my problems, I confronted them. I wasn’t bound by 101 responsibilities, calls and a to do list that never ended. I had time to clear my mind, time to really have conversations with myself but most importantly identify where things were going wrong.
I suffered in silence because I felt like I was letting God down. I didn’t ever allow time for silence from work, ministry, family and life. I kept going even when I felt stretched beyond my capacity. Instead of asking God for wisdom on how, and even clarity on if I should or shouldn’t be doing certain things, I focused on what I thought my leaders would be happy with, manager, colleagues you name it. Then eventually, I couldn’t take it any longer. I was so concerned about the assignment, that I neglected the one who it was assigned to. Me.
God doesn’t give us responsibilities so that we will neglect ourselves.
His plan is never for us to be so consumed that we abandon our well-being. So when we do, it may not happen straight away, but eventually things will crumble if you don’t nip it in the bud before it is too late. And in order to do this, you have got to stop, take a moment and ask the giver of your assignment, God, for help and if like me, you felt so far away that prayer felt hard, seek wise help.
As a Christian, I have come to terms with the fact that mental health IS IMPORTANT to God. God knows the battlefield in the mind even before we do. And that is why He wants us to take care of our mind.
So 4,846 miles away from home, I decided it is time to get help.
Even in making the decision, I felt lighter. My prayer life was revived and peace just took over my mind and soul.
Sharing this was only hard because I can get so caught up with how people see me that I fear that any sign of imperfection will be read as weakness. But guess what, my driving factor can no longer be anyone other than the one who sent me. And Yours shouldn’t be either.
Don’t be afraid to talk. Be it a trusted adviser, pastor, friend of professional counsel. Talk. And also don’t be afraid to ask. If you notice someone dear to you is in a fragile place, it is ok to check in on them. They may not share but they will never forget that you cared enough to ask.
Week 6- Wholesome.