Last week was low. Well, high and low. High on the anxiety spectrum while feeling swallowed by sadness. On Saturday I started feeling nauseous. This often happens with anxiety and I figured this was the cause.
“What’s wrong?” Man asked.
I glared at him. I hate saying the same thing over and over.
“I’m anxious. I don’t know about what I just am. All the time.”
“Maybe a shower would help,” Man suggested.
This sounded like a pretty good idea so around 5:00 I announced that I was hitting the shower, getting in jammies and calling it a night.
The depression and anxiety symptoms had been so physical that week and as I readied for my shower I became increasingly alarmed by this fact. The previous night I cried in Man’s arms telling him, “there is a huge aching hole in my chest and I just want to stuff you in it!”
While in the shower I prayed an On My Knees And Begging You kind of prayer.
Please! I know I’ve asked this before and for whatever reasons You have been un-moving but I’m pleading with you again to please fix this! Fill that hole in my chest with Your being and push out all of the other crap. Quiet my mind so that I can hear You again and hear Your direction for my life.
As I prayed the chest pain built and the nausea built and then finally I puked.
Oh my lands. Did I just exorcise myself?
I sort of giggled because I was too sick to really give it a har-har.
After my shower, I got into bed and cried myself to sleep. I woke up about 20 minutes later to stomach cramping and gurgling and then I hurled again. I threw up 4 times in a two hour period.
Man sat on the edge of the bed with water and tissues.
“This isn’t anxiety, is it?” I asked him.
I’m telling you this to demonstrate how truly physical anxiety and depression can be. It’s hard to tell if you are sick or just tossing around in nutters-ville. I threw up two more times that night, hitting bile everytime since I’d eaten very little that day and threw up what I had.
My last row of it was near 11 p.m. Man came in to grab his pajamas.
“I guess your not sleeping in here?”
“Do I even get a kiss? Like on the cheek? I’m probably going to die tonight you know.”
“You’re not going to die and I’m not going to kiss you,” he said giving my leg a loving pat.
This week has been much better than last week though still fighting an upset stomach. There’s a yucky gurgling and kicking going on in there… It seems when I’m sick the Crazy kind of quiets itself.
I had a good conversation Monday with my friend, Janice, about All Of It. She was encouraging and understanding and full of ideas and suggestions. We talked some about prayer and I told her, though I have not stopped praying, it’s not as conversational and intimate as it once was.
“Honestly, when I pray now it feels trite. There’s no volley of conversation like there used to be.”
When people “remind” me to pray right now I kind of want to shove a devotional up their ass. Janice wasn’t doing that mind you. She was sort of evaluating my spirit a bit.
“Depression is different,” she said. She noted that depressed people tend to pull away from their relationships including our relationship with Christ.
“Is that where you’re at now?” she asked.
“Pretty much. I love Him. I trust Him but I don’t want to hang out. I’m even a little mad with Him right now.”
She recalled the story in the Bible where there was a crippled man who couldn’t get to Jesus though he wanted to see Him. His friends made a way to lift him out of the house and up through the roof so that he could come out and see Christ. (Why they couldn’t carry him through the front door I don’t know. I mean seriously. The roof, people!)
“Sometimes that is what we need to do for one another,” Janice said. “Sometimes we, as Christians, need to be the ones to lift our friends up in prayer to get them through the roof so they can be touched by Christ. I’m going to do that for you. I’m going to be praying for you.”
And then she prayed for me over the phone. Waterfall of tears. I miss that! I miss someone saying, “I’ll pray for you” and then actually doing it.
Last night I had a dance rehearsal. You all know of my aspirations to be on Dancing With The Stars and of my conflicted hang ups regarding dancing and burning desire to be good at it. I’m trying so hard to get these moves right. Our choreographer for this show is AMAZING and instead of dumbing down her choreography she challenges you to meet the standard of dance she is expecting.
There’s one dance where we do a three point turn. I’m really struggling with it, as are a few others. After witnessing these bumbles she said, “If you are struggling with making a three point turn don’t worry!”
Inwardly I sighed with relief ready for her to give me the alternative move that I could make instead.
“If you are struggling with a three point turn don’t worry. You will learn it,” she said.
Last nights choreography had a couple of spots that she left open for improvisational movement. In other words: dance how you wanna. In those counts I completely froze. I had nothing. Not a shimmy. Not a shake. I watched the ladies around me in unabandoned expression of themselves. I was horrified. Not at them. They looked great and sure and carefree. I was just so afraid of what that would look like for me. What if my moves are unattractive?
“I don’t know what to do…” I sort of whispered to a dancer next to me.
“Just do whatever you do at a club,” she suggested.
“I’ve never gone to a club.” (Not exactly true. I have been called out to the club by many a roommate to pick them up because they were too sloshed to drive home but you know…I was THAT girl.)
“Well, what do you do at a bar?”
“Drink. Well, I guess you could find me barstool dancing.”
For those unfamiliar this is when the top half of your body moves but nothing else because your butt never leaves the barstool. This is very safe because you don’t have to worry about what to do with your hands as they are holding a bevvie and you don’t have to worry about your bottom half because, as stated: stationary.
“You could do that,” she said as she planted her feet to the floor and together and moved her upper half around. “See? No one out there will say, ‘look, she’s barstool dancing.'”
I love that little sprite, whatever her name is! Very kind and understanding. I think some of the dancers get kind of annoyed honestly. I would.
Then there was a part where we are supposed to pose, then turn, then pose. And we can look any direction we want. All of this freedom was a bit much for me. I was literally on the verge of tears. In fact I did cry as soon as I got in my car.
The whole drive home I was in self-analysis mode. What was I afraid of? Failing? Unsightliness? Looking like I didn’t know what I was doing?
Well you don’t know what you’re doing and you look like all of the above when you just stand there like an ass. Here you have been crying and complaining and speculating that your anxiety is due to a lack of freedom and of a loss of choices. The improv spaces in this dance are all about that. Decide a pose, choose a direction and move in freedom.
Then I cried some more because Myself was so right.
Today I was running errands and mulling around my experience and thoughts from last night and I had another revelation. Maybe that’s why God was being so quiet. He’s saying there’s nothing wrong with what I’m feeling. He is a God of freedom and wants that for us. If He tells me what my next move should be that would not be freedom.
Yesterday morning the boys got themselves ready for school because I took our cat to the vet for surgery. They got ready without incident (practically) and with time to spare. This a.m. I’m home and suddenly nobody knows what to do. I have to remind them every step of the way, “shoes, breakfast, homework, lunches,etc.” Growth was suddenly stunted because they knew I would pull them from one step to the next.
My friend Christina had long ago noted that God’s silence in this time was very parental.
“He’s helping you grow.”
“I’m fine at 5 feet, thanks.”
“Maybe He wants you to be 6 feet tall,” she said.
You shut your mouth Christina Aranda!
As I drove and pondered these thoughts I had another realization:
*gasp* There you are! I hear You again!
I used to drive along musing on things while God dropped nuggets of gold like this on me all the time.
But still, what if I choose to do the wrong thing? I can choose to do whatever I want right now. I can be a doula or an artist or a performer or a dancer. I can’t lose as long as I devote it to Him and then He will bless it. Well, heck, if that’s the case I can do all of it!
And then I got very scared. Because that’s big. I retreated into the fear again. Then He gave me one more nugget today:
Talking to Shalah she said, “Michal, I know this is a painful time for you but really it’s exciting! You are in a place where you get to make a choice to do anything. Believe me, I know that’s very scary. I know what it’s like to have a blank slate thrust before you.”
I thought of how true that was. I can know what I want to paint and have a strategy for how I’ll make it happen but when I’m looking at that blank canvas it takes me awhile before I can actually put the brush to it. I don’t know what it is about that first stroke that is so hard for me to make but once I do it the rest is so easy and fun!
I’m by no means done with this journey and I still have not made any decision on my direction for myself. It’s like the dancing: I’m going to need to practice alone in the kitchen a few times, maybe do some poses in the mirror, before I’m ready for show time.