Recently the government has advised us not to have visitors to our homes during the coronavirus pandemic and I’m adhering to their guidelines as much as I’d love to see my family and friends.
However I have had a couple of unwanted visitors!
Two unwelcome ‘friends’ have crept back into my life. I certainly wasn’t expecting them to show up at this time. I’ve tried to ignore them but they’ve been persistent in pushing their way in.
And their names are anxiety and depression.
Before lockdown my mental health was good, in fact over the last 2 years it’s been strong, but now it feels fragile. I feel a bit side swiped by just how much it’s affected me, physically, mentally and spiritually.
I haven’t redecorated my house, landscaped my garden or learnt a new musical instrument during this time, but respect to those who have.
In fact some days I’ve felt like I’ve stood at the edge of an abyss staring down into darkness and wondering ‘if this is what my life is going to be like then what’s the point of it all?’ All the ‘what ifs’ and ‘maybes’ swirling in my mind have led me to experiencing panic attacks and I struggle to sleep because of this anxiety. But when I look at my life compared to others I feel guilt, shame and failure because I have a roof over my head, food in my fridge and people who love me so what have I got to complain about.
I’m struggling to find the positives in all of this BUT what I’ve found is that I do have hope. Unlike my unwanted guests I’m happy to let hope take up permanent residence in my life. So I’m giving this hope a name :
‘And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace’ – Isaiah 6:9b
I believe that this hope needs to be actioned, played out in a practical way and I’ve found that messaging others, writing cards, sending gifts and making calls has helped me immensely.
On days when I find it tough to concentrate on reading my Bible I have found comfort in listening to worship music and my prayers have definitely been a cry for help during the last few weeks. Those comparisons mentioned earlier may have stolen my joy but I will not let them take my hope.
In an ever-changing world that is currently playing havoc with my mental health, I’m putting my hope in the one who remains the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.
It’s a hope that is anchored in who God is and what He has done for me and not who I am or what I do for myself or others.
‘Hope is being able to see that there is light despite of all the darkness’ – Desmond Tutu
For me, Jesus is the light that shine brightest in my life and I’m believing that He has overcome the darkness that I’m currently experiencing.
Written by Susan Hinton (Hope City Newcastle) as past of the SHE IS Collective Blog Series