Wednesday, February 6, 2019

My Journey Over the Last 5 Years

Let me tell you a story about a girl, who in the summer of 2014 headed off to college with so many aspirations and dreams. A girl who was so excited about her future and what was ahead even though it was terrifying all at the same time. A girl who was driven, hopeful, and committed to the next chapter whatever that looked like. This girl had just recently moved from Maryland to Texas and felt like her heart had been ripped in two. She knew that moving and this chapter in college was her next step, but she was afraid. Picking up her big girl pants, she tackled this new chapter as expected. Her first freshman semester wasn't quite how she expected. Her roommate situation wasn't ideal, and she was eating cafeteria food daily. From the outside looking in, all looked fine, but from the inside looking out, her body was in turmoil. Fast forward to the end of her semester, she was moving out of the dorm for emotional reasons and planning to commute the next semester. Even then, she hopeful that the next few months would be better while she was living with the people closest to her and truly her only "friends" in Texas. In December, she had planned a trip to see her high school sweetheart in California and was thrilled. It had been months since they'd seen each other and they were planning to spend New Years in San Fransisco. The minute she stepped off the plane, this wave of emotions hit her, and anxiety set in. Suddenly, she was experiencing feelings she had never had before, and she was terrified! Everything seemed dark and she couldn't think clearly. She called her mom and tried to express to her what was going on but this was all new and her mom was confused. She tried explaining to her boyfriend but he too was extremely confused. Abi felt her emotional walls of protection coming up just as her trip was starting. She felt like she was drowning in her head and was barely alive. Arriving back in Texas after her trip, she felt like her world came to a crumbling halt.  Over the next 6 months she battled horrible anxiety and depression, and her stomach started causing issues.   Every time she ate she would run to the bathroom within 5 minutes because the food she ate was literally running through her. She was 5'8 and 115 pounds and within weeks she was down to 100 pounds… mere skin and bones.  Her parents  were so worried about her and suggested seeking medical help.  She had blood tests run and everything came back negative.  We were all spinning in confusion.  How did she go from a vibrant and healthy teenager, to one filled with anxiety and serious gut issues.  A  functional wellness doctor suggested cutting out gluten.  


The following year, Abi was at a new school beginning her sophomore year. She had no close friends yet, she was depressed, horribly anxious and so nervous for what this year would hold after the last. Again, her roommate situation wasn't ideal and things didn't quite pan out the way they were supposed to. Suicidal thoughts flooded her head and truthfully she didn't see the point in continuing to move on if this was what life would look like. She felt alone, sad, confused, and so hurt. How could a God who loved her put her through what felt like hell on earth?  Again she sought medical help for depression and anxiety.   It was at this point that she told her boyfriend Zach that they couldn't be together anymore. She didn't love herself, so how in the world could she love another human being?  She started on medication, which lasted a short 6 weeks due to the side effects, and she experienced terrible withdrawals. She distinctively remembers one day walking across the campus of Texas A&M crying and talking to her mom. Her mom prayed with her and tried to help her move through the withdrawal symptoms. Her body was shaking uncontrollably and she was scared. It was yet another attempt at a solution that didn’t work.  Feeling even more anxious and depressed, she sought the guidance of an intercessory prayer counselor who helped her to start trying to identify the triggers and work through things. This was definitely a turning point of relief. Things weren't all better but she was moving out of the horribly dark tunnel she had been in for so long. She and Zach were back together and beginning to work through all of the hurt and pain that had been caused from the break. From that point forward, Abi knew if her heart that if they got back together they weren't breaking up again. She trusted the Lord's direction and starting pursuing Zach again, and he graciously received her, wounds, brokenness and all. 

Junior year started and Abi was doing better. She had seen a holistic doctor, was living with her dearest college friends and beginning to learn how to handle the cards she had been dealt. She wasn't sure if she'd ever be able to live a happy non-anxious life, but she had accepted that and decided to live her life to the fullest, regardless of how she felt on the inside. She had seen great progress from where she was but was no where near whole and healthy. Junior year the weight loss struggle began to occur again and she had no idea what was causing it. She had been gluten free for a year and a half and already struggled with what to eat. Her mom mentioned the idea of possibly eliminating dairy, as soon as she did that she saw a drastic difference in her stomach issues. She now had no gluten or dairy in her diet. She felt a little better but truthfully every-time she ate she was sick on the couch for an hour or so. She lived everyday with stomach pain, even though she wasn't loosing weight.  Junior year came and went and Abi was doing leaps and bounds better. She started senior year with only a semester left and a lot was happening. She was engaged, graduating, getting married and then her fiancé was leaving to deploy. Juggling the emotions of all this, she was naturally anxious, but her mom encouraged her daily not to focus on the forrest but instead on the tree right in front of her...graduation and the wedding..  Trying not to focus on the deployment right after the wedding, she embraced what was right in front of her and chose joy in the midst of some pretty difficult days ahead!

 Little did she know as she headed into 2018, this year of change and uncertainty would be the catalyst of what was the most amazing year of restoration and healing for her life...It came with a lot of heartache, but God used that for such good.
Watch this video to see the end of the story... 



                   

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