In the early hours of August 3rd 2018, my husband and I sat in the corridors of our local hospital. My anxiety had led to panic attacks, which triggered tremendous fear. It was the safest place for me at the time. I was surrounded by persons who knew what this was all about; it provided reassurance for my other half.
On August 11th, we decided it was probably best for me to take a mini break and return to the Caribbean (home) for a few weeks. My mental health had taken a turn for the worst. The thought of flying made me more anxious. What if I had panic attacks on the flight? It was almost a seven hour flight. One sister looked for the flight, while the other prayed. Mother contemplated as to whether she should book some time off to pay me a visit. I was about to book an appointment with my GP to discuss my mental health, but felt I was running out of time. I had stopped eating and now had a fear of driving. There were numerous ideas floating about; I felt completely lost. In the midst of chaos, something happened.
As I walked down my stairs on the morning of the 11th, a thought came to me, “find a church.” It was as clear as day. I knew it wasn’t my thought. God was not even on my mind. It was a Saturday, were churches opened on a Saturday? Looking back, I believe that this was the moment that Jesus called me.
Jesus loves me
On August 11th, I responded to the call. I met with my spiritual sister and her husband (Reverend) at his home. As he prayed with me, I felt lighter. After not being able to eat, I found myself eating in his home. This wasn’t a regular talk; regular talks would have brought shortlived happiness, this was different. He told me about Jesus’ love for me and His power. I believed Him; my life depended on it. I had given the world a chance and that didn’t turn out so well did it? I needed to give Jesus a chance. On August 11th, I walked away from his home with the belief that Jesus would save me; I slept peacefully for the first time in months.
On August 12th, I attended church for the first time in years. I cried! I was broken, timid and afraid, but I listened and believed every word which was spoken. On that day, I made the decision to let God take full control of my life. I didn’t know the Bible, but I believed in God. On August 12th, I confessed to mother that I needed a Saviour. This was an answered prayer for mother; a wonderful birthday gift.
On August 13th, I resigned from my new role in Adult Services. I had only been there for two days. In all the chaos, I somehow believed that if it was God’s will for me to return, I would return. This was the beginning of me learning to trust God.
On August 13th, I told my husband that I was not returning to work. It was his birthday gift. He wasn’t shocked by the news. He had seen how unhappy I was over the last few months and couldn’t do much about it. I remember him saying, “we will be ok, you’ll find something you love soon.” No questions asked, only his full support.
On August 14th, Shan visited my home. She came to assist with job applications, I was so pleased to see her. My anxiety had made it difficult to remain on my own; her presence was more than enough. We stood in the kitchen area and wept, she said we would get through everything together. Shan had seen how my time in Children Services had broken me, how fear had consumed my life. I had spent four years training for a role which took every bit of me; all the strength I had left.
So on August 14th, we applied for about six different jobs. The same day, my manager emailed, then called to say she was not accepting my resignation letter. This led to me blocking her number! The nerves of this lady, how dare she dismissed my application? We just met. Within a few days of me resigning, I received a number of interviews. I had to make a decision. Do I return to social work or was it time to move on?
On August 17th , I returned to social work. I returned to an old situation, but this time it was different, I had Jesus with me. I took a chance on a man whom I just met. My manager and I sat in a cosy room as we discussed my anxiety. She heard the horror stories in Children Services, but never experienced this type of social work. She provided reassurance and created an action plan with me. She said, “in this job, you will get to kick butt, you will get to fight for the vulnerable.” This was right up my street! You know what, she was right 🙂
Can I say this? I applaud children social workers for their hardwork, commitment and their ability to thrive in stressful situations. There are persons who are made for these roles, persons who have found ways to be emotionally resilient or are well supported to manage these complex yet rewarding roles. I truly appreciate what they do.
After meeting with my manager, my anxiety returned. Most mornings, I stopped at my local petrol station and admired the lady behind the till. She was always happy. I would have happily traded my attire, wages, badge, mobile and laptop in receipt of her smile. I had hit rock bottom. I now smile, because it was here I discovered Jesus.
For the remainder of August, God held my hand. I started to pray more, I needed him every second of the day. Together, we attended meetings, visits and wrote case notes. When I felt fearful, this scripture kept me going.
“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4
Each day, my smile got a tiny bit broader. I became more confident in my work, but there was a shift in my spiritual life. I started seeing the world in a different way.
I felt like God was creating a new life within me. I was puzzled, as I asked random questions about life. How was the world created? How and why did God do this? I remember looking at the sky and trying to make sense of it all. Of course, I couldn’t reveal these thoughts to anyone. Can you just imagine me telling others about this? So I went searching, I opened the Bible and started with Genesis.
Genesis provided the answers to the puzzle of life. In the book of Genesis, I saw that the world was made with extreme love. I saw that God’s primary focus was about Him and his relationship with us. Genesis did save me; I saw God’s love and mercy for humans. I felt his love. Looking back, I am certain I wasn’t losing my mind, but the shift was me seeing the world through spiritual eyes.
On August 31st, I was in awe of God when I received my wages. I felt it didn’t belong to me; if it had not been for the grace of God I would not have made it to the end of the month . On that day, I made it my duty to use my gifts to give back to God and to share with others. I saw the importance of tithing. More importantly, it was the beginning of my journey of faith.
A year later, a lot has happened. In August of 2019, I knew that God had sent me to my job to fullfill his purpose. I was not only there to assist the vulnerable clients, but to support those who were spiritually poor. As I read my final review, I knew I had made the right decision.
A year later, God turned my mourning into dancing as I await the birth of Genesis. I am overwhelmed with joy, as it’s a new beginning for me. I am intrigued as I await to see where he leads me. My life is in his hands and it is the best place to be.
A new life
So here’s to hitting rock bottom and understanding that with Jesus we can always make it to the top. Even if God lets us fall a million times, He will always be our Rock. When we feel like we have hit rock bottom, we just need to look up; God is willing and ready to lift us up. Hitting rock bottom can truly be the foundation where one can build a new life, a life built in Christ.
Today, I pray for anyone who is battling with their mental health. Please know it’s nothing to be ashamed of; we are all susceptible to this. I pray that God will provide for you as he does for me. May God send angels in the form of friends, family, managers or work colleagues to you.
I believe in my heart that Jesus is the greatest healer. He not only healed me of my anxiety, but he continues to save me from the attacks and lies of the enemy. However, I am mindful of those whom he has not yet called; the spiritually poor or those weak in faith.
I pray that God directs you to professionals whom he has given the knowlege, skills and wisdom to assist you during this time. Contact your GP if you need to, there might be some underlying health problem which may be undiagnosed.
My brothers and sisters, please check on that friend who has been inactive on social media for the past few days. In moments of depression or anxiety, all hope and joy is stolen. They may not be able to reach out to you, so call or pay a visit. Your support is truly needed at this time.
As I sign off, I beg of you to pray for me. I may not be able to write as much, instead I’ll share some of my poetry with you. Please let me know what you think, as poems are a bit new for me. Looking forward to being back with you soon. May God be bless and keep you.
Love ANG 🙂