Chronic and ongoing stress can escalate into burnout, anger, anxiety, and depression. I have seen what it did to others and myself- people stop living, giving up on life, ending their life, and even the lives of others. My stressors were caused by expecting too much of myself, trying to do everything, and becoming hopeless and discouraged whenever I could not complete my tasks or achieve my goals. I often felt feeling ashamed and frustrated for not being able to fulfill my responsibilities and spend enough time with my family and myself. Pursuing a career, being a wife, raising children, and overcoming illnesses placed a severe strain on my life. Not meeting my deadlines or feeling productive made me feel incompetent and like a failure. Of course, I know now that I was gravely overthinking and imagining that things were so much more worst than they were. Burnout eventually set in and depression automatically started seeping into my life. That was just the beginning of my mental health starting to spiral downwards. It takes about two weeks for depression to start eating away at your life. If you are fortunate to realize that your emotional state is deteriorating and get help, Amen, recovery often could be found around the corner.
When despair, hopelessness, and the feeling of mental paralysis overtake you, it can be very difficult to pull yourself out from the pit of darkness and gloom. I have witnessed the behavior and thinking of many ignorant beings who fail to understand this ailment and turn away from family, friends, and loved ones- even shame and scorn them. Some may label people who are burned out or on the verge of breaking, weak, or even cursed. Oh! Is it that they are so flawless and righteous? The strange thing is that when the same thing happens to some of them, they stay quiet and cover it up so that they can fool others and hide their pain. Thus, in turn, they end up losing their minds and souls.
God has blessed me with a built-in mechanism that causes me to run and distance myself from pain and suffering. What I call a blessing some might call a curse- and many times it can appear to be a serious affliction. I am not going to lie. When I ran, I truly ran. It was either physically or mentally- blocking people and actions from my mind so I wouldn’t feel weighed down. I ran to get help or distance myself from the source of the pain to feel relief. There is a downside and upside to this. Fleeing causes you to withdraw from the root of the problem and head to safe waters. But you never do. We cannot run from our problems. Enduring and feeling the pain or emotions help us to slow down, accept our reality, and start healing.
In my earlier years, I would spend periods bearing the pain of anxiety and look towards others for healing. I found that the more I looked to others and not the inner wisdom that God gave me, the longer my stressors remained with me. I blindly followed other people’s advice because of the ridiculous indoctrination that the “heart is deceitful above all things” and I needed to believe what others see in me or discern from the outside. I listened to a lot of foolishness and followed some tainted advice. Today I am a big advocate of encouraging people to acknowledge what they are feeling, thinking for themselves, and walking their path- not following others to fit in. Have you ever heard of the saying, “You need to learn to heal yourself?” It is so true! You can take a horse to the well but you can’t make him drink. You can tell me what you think I need to do but you can’t make me do it! I decide when, how, and why- or why not. How could my heart continue to deceive me if God is within? How could another person tell me what I am feeling and what I truly need?
I had to remember who I was. I had to reclaim my power. I needed to take a pause, face reality and be honest about what I was feeling. I used the wisdom and gifts God gave me to find the tools, persons, and resources that helped me to get back on my feet and start living again but for me this time. I had enough of people-pleasing or caring what others thought about me. Shoots! Whatever they thought was their business, not mine. I praise and thank the Almighty every day for what I experienced because I have been forced to take charge of my peace and happiness. I am the Goddess of my life- yes I said it! No more struggling like I did with fear, despair, shame, and hopelessness? Never again.