Guest Blogger: Amye Mathews
Who said life is easy? It's a fictitious perception we have based on the fairy tale we were told while growing up.... if you go to school and make good grades, you'll get into a good college and walk out with a good job making good money, find a soulmate, get married, buy a house and live the American dream. You're supposed to treat people like you want to be treated and all will be well. Ummm, but that's not how it really works. The Bible promises us we shall have tribulations. Life can be hard. As the old folks say, keep on living. Life is filled with highs and lows, good times and bad times. Sometimes you will do the right thing and treat people well and bad things will still happen. We have to choose our happy and enjoy the journey along the way.
I was living a pretty decent middle class life. I had done well in high school, went to college, graduated with an undergrad, then went back to school for a masters. I was single, no children, taking multiple trips and vacations several times a year. I owned a condo and car. Even though I wasn't making the money I thought I would with two degrees, I was still doing pretty well for myself. That is, until I was working for a company as a department of 1, uno. I have a great work ethic so of course I'd go to work every day and give it my all. As most women, I acted like Wonder Woman and tried to keep pushing my way through. Some days I wouldn't take a lunch or stay late, whatever I needed to do to get the job done. I didn't realize it at the time, but the wheels were falling off. My train was slowly derailing. I was under a lot of pressure with a company merger in full force. My role was a major part of a smooth transition. Anxiety became more and more of a struggle. It started with shortness of breath and chest pains. At the time, I wasn't even aware it was anxiety. The pressure continued to build until I found it necessary to leave work and focus on my health. At first things were smooth. I was able to maintain. Then after several months, my savings started to dry up. With two degrees and years of experience, it was still challenging to find work. Staying in the house while feeling like I was no longer a productive member of society begin to weigh on me mentally. I was eventually diagnosed with hyperthyroidism and Graves disease. My appetite drifted, I started losing weight and depression (which I also didn't realize at the time) was setting in. Things got so bad I ultimately had to go stay with family for almost a year. I was very hard on myself. This came from expectations I had on me while growing up and later keeping on myself. I wanted to do well and not let anyone down. I didn't want to be seen as a failure. I wanted to continue to maintain my lifestyle and keep living what I bought into as the American dream. All the pressures and expectations had become too much. Some days I didn't want to get out of bed. The anxiety had gotten so bad at one point, my mind constantly raced. I would take sleeping pills, but I couldn't sleep at night. In the day time, I would be so exhausted from lack of sleep I would be fatigued. I was a walking zombie. This became a pattern for months. Life as I'd known it the first 30 plus years of my life was no more. I just knew my life was over. At one point I told God if you aren't going to heal me, just take me.
But God! I am so grateful I had family and friends that cared about me. They would send me encouraging words and texts. Some came to visit me. I was literally in the fight of my life. I'd previously read Fervent by Priscilla Shirer and every attack she discussed in the book was now my reality. I ended up going to the doctor and talking to a counselor. I had to get medicine to help me sleep and get my thyroid under control. I started journaling, writing down scripture and affirmations. I had to encourage myself in the Lord. Although some days were hard, I didn't lose faith. Self care became very important. I had to get back to the things I loved, things that made me who I am like sitting by water, going to the beach, getting my hair and nails done, taking bubble baths, walking, getting fresh air and sunlight, lighting candles and taking vitamins. I continued to read the Word, meditate on scriptures like Philippians that remind us to be anxious for nothing...let your requests be made known unto God, worship, listen to songs like Marvin Winans (I Seen You work in others and I want You to work in me), and listen to sermons from anointing men and women of God, dance, and laugh. I relied on childhood memories like the story of the Little Engine that Could and tell myself I think I can, I think I can.
Fast forward a year. God delivered me! I was created with a purpose. Everything I need, God already gave me. I got another job and begin to rebuild my life. My goal is to surround myself with positive people and continue to look to the hills. I have to remind myself to let faith be bigger than my fears. My goal is to take life one day at a time, sometimes minute by minute. I remind myself daily that I AM RESILIENT!
........ Amye Mathews