Darkness Is Just An Opportunity To Get A Better View Of The Stars

This weekend has been one for the books.

It’s true that we don’t appreciate the sunrise until after we feel the depth and darkness of the night. We can’t experience that ultimate sigh of relief at the sight of clear skies until we’ve had to sit through the tornadoes and torrential downpours of life.

This weekend was the light that broke through darkness. Seriously…if you’re questioning taking prescription medication for any type of mental illness I highly encourage you to do your research, but if your doctor says it will help you, don’t hesitate or feel any shame about taking it!

I bring that up because this week there was a dosage mix up with a prescription which I’ve been taking for over a year now at a very high dosage. I never thought it did much for me, but I learned differently this past week. I got this medication refilled at a pharmacy in Ann Arbor for the 1st time and the dosage instructions were different than what they were back home. Long story short: I had to cut my very high dosage in half…overnight.

I didn’t think it would be a big deal because I didn’t think the benefits of this particular medication were very great. HAHA I was so, SO wrong.

I was literally a different person this past week. It was as if I had been sprinting, full speed ahead, and then all of the sudden run straight into a cement wall. I fell flat on my face. I was outrageously exhausted (although that isn’t all that unusual, unfortunately). But this exhaustion was more than just physical fatigue and sleepiness – it was deep. It was consuming and numbing and terrifying. It was all I could manage to do to make it to class where I typically ended up sitting silently in a dissociated fog. I kid you not, there are chunks of last week of which I have no recollection because I was so completely out of it.

It was more than just a dreary week though…Depression hit me in full force, coupled by extreme anxiety. If I wasn’t sitting in class completely zoned out, I was either in bed asleep or in bed crying. I had multiple panic attacks every single day. All of the negative body talk and thoughts of self hatred came flooding back. Not only did it feel unbearable to be hearing, thinking, and feeling all of these things – it made me feel as though I had failed.

It was one of those weeks where relapse seemed like the only option and I pushed every single person who tried to reach out to me, as far away as I could get them. I was unreachable, untouchable, and unbearably hopeless and sad.

But you know what? Blessings always come from storms if you’re willing to look hard enough. I held my ground – determined not to let Satan win this war over my heart and mind. I read my bible every morning, forced myself to go to class and eat, and (tried to) show myself compassion and allow myself to rest. I didn’t handle each day perfectly, far from it. But I handled it far better than I did 2 years ago at this time.

But back to the blessings – God is so amazingly good. Friday evening I was able to get to the pharmacy and get all the dosage stuff sorted out. Saturday I was able to jump back up to my higher dosage and…I literally feel like a new human being. I know some people are very critical of medication, especially when it involves mental illness. However, I’ve got to tell you…

As mental illness develops in an individual, it can drastically alter their personality. Taking prescription medication doesn’t change their personality to be fake or unlike the individual themselves, it is simply an aid in returning the chemicals in the brain back to their normal/healthy levels which in turn, helps the individual be MORE like who they truly are.

I have been more ME in the past 2 days than I was at any point this past week. Praise God! But not only that…because of this tough week and the willingness of some beautiful sisters surrounding me, I was finally able to share some of my struggles and challenges that I wasn’t able to or willing to share while they were occurring throughout the week. And the response I received was truly heart warming and just a pure example of God’s grace: they showed me love. There was no judgment, no harsh words, no condemnation…just love. And they eased so many of the fears that I had which initially kept me from reaching out.

I didn’t want to be…
Too much
A burden
Annoying
Needy
Negative/pessimistic
…and the list could go on and on.

I felt compassion where Satan convinced me there would be none. I felt love where Satan tried to tell me it wasn’t possible. And I felt no judgement where Satan promised there was only room for harsh judgment. Not only does God show us endless grace, but if we allow those around us too, sometimes they will as well.

I was social this weekend. I was vulnerable and authentic with lovely sisters who uplifted me and showed me grace. I was able to focus while practicing. I was kind to myself. I treated myself to starbucks. I enjoyed worship and sang at the top of my lungs. I got to see some truly inspiring musicians and kind friends perform. And I licked the spoon after making brownies.

I look ahead at these next few weeks and feel my stomach twist and my heart speed up because all I can see are massive school assignments, deadlines, auditions, rehearsals, commitments, etc. But I know a special lady who often times reminds me: all we have is the 24 hours God lays in front of us. Focus on one day at a time. Do what you can within that day. And the rest will sort itself out.

Amen! Life is good and God is great πŸ™‚

brownies

Licking the spoon after baking is pretty much a physical equivalent of Kicking Satan to the curb.girlsnoght

Just a pile of beautiful sisters. God gave me these ladies (and a few not pictured in this pile haha) for the ups and downs and I am SO grateful to be doing life with them!

strabucks

It was such a happy, miraculous day when they wrote my real, full name on the starbucks cup!!!!

umich

This is my school.Β  I am honored, I am proud, but mostly…I am happy. πŸ™‚

β€œToo often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
― Leo Buscaglia

β€œCourage. Kindness. Friendship. Character. These are the qualities that define us as human beings, and propel us, on occasion, to greatness.”
― R.J. Palacio

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2 thoughts on “Darkness Is Just An Opportunity To Get A Better View Of The Stars

  1. Sarah, I too struggle with depression and anxiety. I recently switched medications because the one I was on didn’t seem to be helping whatsoever. It’s a tough battle to fight when your mind is flooded with those negative thoughts, and this week has been a rough one for me! As a student in ministry I also start to doubt my effectiveness in leading others someday (I want to be a youth pastor) if I can’t get my own life under control. Stumbling upon your post was the BEST thing tonight, thank you for your transparency and encouragement. It was much needed πŸ™‚ blessings! -Kalli

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  2. Hi, Sarah. I know we’ve only met briefly through our mutual friends, but you inspire me with your positive spin on even the worst situations and your strength. I stumbled upon one of your postings a little while back, and now every time you post something, I am immediately drawn to it. You are truly talented in conveying your thoughts, and I am impressed by how well you maintain this blog. That is a feat within itself. I just wanted to let you know that you’re doing a great job, and I hope you keep moving forward with that amazing drive of yours.

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