Battling Demons. 


This is a tender and raw topic. It’s a topic I’m passionate to the point of being fiery about. I have alluded to the fact that I battled anxiety throughout pregnancy. Battle doesn’t seem strong enough language. I locked horns with anxiety. Anxiety is a struggle that I constantly face, but the hormones in pregnancy take it to another level. There is so much I want and need to say on this topic. 

Firstly, this post is not meant to in any way victimize myself. Many, MANY people struggle with anxiety. Many suffer with crippling fear worse than I have ever imagined. I really mean for this post to both educate, and to offer all the empathy and love that I can to those in the pit. You are not alone. You are not crazy. You are not the only one. The other reason I need to write about this is to encourage others to get help. There is no shame, only strength, giant strength, in seeking the proper help. 

Throughout my pregnancy with Keller, OCD symptoms haunted me. Before losing our son I would quickly tell anyone that facing this OCD was easily the hardest thing I have ever done. In some ways, it still is. I was plagued with unrelenting and unrealistic fears. The fears were absolutely disabling. These nonsensical fears would fester and grow in my mind. The more the fears would scare me, the stronger they would become. The stronger they would become, the more I believed them to be likely. The more I believed them to be likely, the more they became impending. Any thoughts given to these fears would feed them. When I say unrealistic and nonsensical, I truly mean it. Contrastly, when I say the fears became very real and very powerful, I truly mean it. If you have been in this fight, I pray my words offer comforting solidarity. If you have not, I pray these words both educate you on the legitimacy and difficult of those battling mental demons, as well as fill you with empathy. 

The Lord provides. I know this as absolute truth. However, telling someone in full on war with anxiety to just lean harder on the Lord, can often make them feel both inadequate, and make them doubt if they indeed have faith at all. Leaning into Jesus and trusting in his perfect power has been the biggest player in breaking out from the darkness into the light. BUT – as I said before, the Lord provides. The Lord provided me with an incredible licensed psychologist. She has devoted her life to helping guide others through the murky black waters of mental illness. Thank you Lord for providing this lifeboat. The Lord provides with medication that helps balance a brain in imbalance and distress. Thank you Lord for providing this lifeboat. The Lord provided in books written by those who have dedicated their life’s work to learning about our brain. Thank you Lord for this lifeboat. The Lord provided in science based meditation and mindfulness exercises that train your mind to stay in the present rather than diving down the tormenting rabbithole of anxiety. Thank you Lord for this lifeboat. The Lord provided through family and friends who had once been drowning in the waves of suffocating OCD and offered a promise of light. Thank you Lord for this lifeboat. The Lord provided through a husband who stood fast by my side while his wife was dealing with bizarre and terrifying fears and said,”I’m not going anywhere. I’m here.” Thank you Lord for this lifeboat. The Lord provided through friends who would quite literally just sit with me for the whole day when I felt to scared to be alone. (Oh praise the Lord for those who served me in this way. Praise God for you!) Thank you Lord for this lifeboat. The Lord provided by placing scripture and hymns in my heart shouting, “Greater is the one living inside of me, than he who is living in the world.” Thank you Lord for this lifeboat. The Lord provided by revealing Truth. Truth is that He is absolutely greater. Truth is I can TRUST that my fears are indeed not real and no amount of me trying to sort them out will help. Thank you Lord for this lifeboat. 

I battled hard throughout pregnancy. I battled even harder in the days of raging postpartum hormones coupled with losing our son. Panic attacks plagued me, and fear quite literally made my skin feel electric. Living life in absolute terror is a living hell. I mean that so sincerely. I still battle, but the Lord’s light has broken through the darkness. Some days are darker than others. I have settled into the fact that that is ok. The Lord is still there and truths He has given me are indeed still true. 

If you are gasping for air as anxiety and fear suffocate you, please, let the Lord send you a lifeboat, and get help. If you don’t know where to get started, contact me and I will work with you to find the help you need. Please know that you are not “crazy”, and you are very much not alone. 

If you know someone gasping for air as fear and anxiety suffocate them, love them. Even when you cannot relate at all, listen to them, and please do not minimize their struggle. Lead them towards those who do understand. Storm Heaven’s gates praying for them. Sit with them for a whole day(s) when they are too scared to be alone. Above all, love them with the loyal and sacrificial love of Jesus. 

Here is a song the Lord placed in our hearts in the days leading up to Keller’s birth. This song has brought us immense comfort. I pray it does the same for you. 

Greater

Bring your tired

And bring your shame

Bring your guilt

And bring your pain

Don’t you know that’s not your name

You will always be much more to me


Every day I wrestle with the voices

That keep telling me I’m not right

But that’s alright


‘Cause I hear a voice and He calls me redeemed

When others say I’ll never be enough

And greater is the One living inside of me

Than he who is living in the world

In the world

In the world

And greater is the One living inside of me

Than he who is living in the world


Bring your doubts

And bring your fears

Bring your hurt

And bring your tears

There’ll be no condemnation here

You are holy, righteous and redeemed


Every time I fall

There’ll be those who will call me

A mistake

Well that’s okay


‘Cause I hear a voice and He calls me redeemed

When others say I’ll never be enough

And greater is the One living inside of me

Than he who is living in the world

In the world

In the world

And greater is the One living inside of me

Than he who is living in the world


There’ll be days I lose the battle

Grace says that it doesn’t matter

‘Cause the cross already won the war

He’s Greater, He’s Greater


I am learning to run freely

Understanding just how He sees me

And it makes me love Him more and more

He’s Greater, He’s Greater

(Lyrics by MercyMe)

Resources that helped me battle OCD and Anxiety:

The Worry Cure by Tim L. Leahy

Brain Lock by Jeffrey M. Schwartz

Headspace App (Mindfulness training)

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4 comments

  1. lindarowlett · August 31, 2016

    Thank you Bella for sharing about your battle with anxiety. There are so many who struggle silently. Your words will be used to encourage them to not feel alone and to get the help they need. Praising God for your love, your example and your courage.

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  2. Toni · August 31, 2016

    Bella very well worded and true. Even those who may not have this struggle I imagine have a family member or friend who does, so writings like yours from Christians are much needed. We need to be there and not just listen to one conversation and then ignore but remember and think of the person reaching out and staying in contact helping. Thank you for sharing.

    Like

  3. Tiffani · September 2, 2016

    Bella you are so strong. Being someone who battles anxiety and OCD as well, I’m incredibly encouraged by the strength you found in the Lord. Thank God we have Him as our rock and shield to protect us and fight the battles within ourselves. Keep resting in the Lord as He slays the darkness within. Love you sweet friend ❤

    Like

  4. Stella Soulet · December 8, 2016

    Great word! Thanks for sharing, Bella. I fight anxiety too (and depression), and we don’t need to make it all worse by adding shame–GOD LOVES US, He cares about Everything that Concerns us, and He’ll provide for all our needs (solutions for every problem which arises); we just need to lean into Him. God bless you and your family Abundantly!!

    Like

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