When trauma, anxiety, and depression strike 

A year ago…

A year ago, my husband sent me this picture. It was a Monday morning. It was early. It was his first day back in the States after 18 months in Chad, 3 and ½ weeks in London to get eye treatment, and one week back in Chad to pack our house. He had been transferred into a new position in DC because of the eye infection he had developed in Chad. He sent me this picture as I was staying with dear friends in Louisiana. I had flown back from London a week before. I saw the picture and I remember feeling a weight coming off my shoulders. He is back, he is home… we can take a breather again, here in the States.

I want to blog about this later… and I also want to write a book about it at some point. I want to share with you, my dear readers, what I went through during my last 4 months in Chad. 
As the capital was under attack with suicide bombers in June 2015, I was vacationing in the States. A few days later, I started to experience symptoms that will later push me to the end of myself… I experience vicarious trauma (which I was prone to as I was so burnout already from working in Chad, helping with leading 2 churches, finishing my doctorate, and coping with a culture that was so foreign to me), trauma led to anxiety that haunted me 24/7 for 5 months, depression, and depths of despair. I went to a place where everything was stripped away from me… where I couldn’t fend for myself anymore… where I felt like I was going mad. I had sleepless nights, crying spells that wouldn’t stop, constant repetitive thoughts that would torture me, I couldn’t eat anymore and more… I held on to God and to the memory of His sweet presence… but I couldn’t see Him nor feel Him. I felt alone. The truth is that I wasn’t alone but I felt that way.

During that time, I learned that what I was feeling wasn’t aligned with who I was in Him. I could feel depressed, anxious, alone, and at the edge of hell but these were just feelings. Granted, they sucked… I hated them… they were as real as day… but God taught me to experience the difference between who He said I was and how I felt.

I don’t wish to go back to that place but somehow, I am thankful for it. God revealed Himself in such a tangible way during that time. He showed His goodness in my suffering. He made a way. I got out. And now, I know the way out for those going through the same experience. I did not get responses to my questions or my conditions but I got a revelation of HIM and that was enough. HIM was enough to heal me. HIM was enough to bring me through. HIM was enough and is still enough.

If you feel discouraged today because you have been battling depression, anxiety, burnout, or even trauma… I am with you. God is with you. There is a way out. You are going to get out of it and when you are out, you will get other people out!

One day… I’ll write a book. What do you think? and its title will be “He shall add Joy”… I’ll keep you posted.

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5 Comments

  1. Omgoodness! You hit the nail right on the head. I can so related, yes I want to read more about it & yes I need this reminder of how good God is and that he has never left my side. Thank you for you share it does a lot of us good to know that we aren’the alone. We miss you guys dearly, xoxoxox & STAY BLESSED!

  2. What a beautiful example of God’s love and faithfulness. God will use this to help many other. We love you and proud of you!
    Pastors Mike and Crystal Murray

  3. This is exactly what it felt like to live there! I have never experienced such a battle against depression! Not being able to go outside without someone watching, drive a car to work or even be able to go out to eat without getting sick. It was a rough year and I learned so much. Like you I never want to go back there but in retrospect I am so glad I had the experience. I appreciate our new post so much more because of it! Love, prayers and thanks for sharing!

  4. Chad was certainly a tough place for us all! What a learning experience though. Wow. I was told by many that if I could handle Haiti, Chad would be a breeze. Huh. Not quite. Why didn’t we all lean on one another more while there? We should have gotten together once a week to complain, yell, and cry. Maybe that would have helped us to smile and laugh a bit more.
    I, like you Maty, didn’t realize I wasn’t returning when I left. I need to go back! Maybe it is just for closure. I need to say goodbye to some special people. I need to see the crippled man at the Modern Mall one more time. I need to buy peanuts one more time from those wonderful little girls. Maybe it is because Bill is still there. I need to find a home for my bunnies! Somewhere where they won’t be dinner!
    I am so glad you and Travis are beginning anew. God bless you both and I hope to see you all again! Stay strong  Love and hugs to all.

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