Update On My House Arrest

article-2027933-0D7D81D200000578-916_233x240

The setting is nursing school and the main character is a hypochondriac with anxiety and OCD. We will call her Courtney, because that is her name. In nursing school you learn about most disease processes, and as a person riddled with worry anyway, I undoubtedly had every disease we studied (with the exception of prostate, testicular, fontanel malformations, and maybe cleft lip/palate….yep, the rest were fair game). This hypochondriasis was not unique to me alone. My best friend was convinced she had AIDS without any symptoms or exposure. But this isn’t a blog about her so let’s move on.  During third semester (give or take, this is my story) I became convinced I had lymphoma. The symptoms, albeit vague, were there and my lymph nodes were, in fact, enlarged. No big deal, I’ll just go to the Dr and let them tell me how utterly ridiculous I am and I will then find something else to worry about. The kink in my plan started when the Dr agreed with my diagnosis and thought that my theory was actually likely! After a plethora of labs were drawn and a biopsy was done to find the culprit of my symptoms, I was told, “We will let you know the results in 2 weeks.” Two….WEEKS.  As the days grew longer it consumed my every thought to the point that, not only did I have lymphoma, but I was dying. Part of me knew this was ludicrous (not to be confused with Ludacris). But those thoughts set up camp in my brain just to make sure that any rational thoughts on the subject were redirected back to Crazy Town.

So one night I remember going into the bathroom to wash my face. I don’t remember being sad or upset but when I looked in the mirror, I had this crushing thought. This overwhelming dread and fear that I was dying. Newly married, in nursing school, never having kids.  As the tears began to flow, I became angry that my life was over before it even started. I literally kneeled on the floor, in the dirty bathroom (the military housing was super old and never actually looked or felt clean), with the water still running (sorry Mother Earth, I do better now at conserving water), and I sobbed. Like the ugly Kim Kardashian cry (My bad, I will never reference them again, forgive me). I prayed, “God, WHY?!?”

And as instantly as this cockamamie debacle started, it stopped. I was jolted to my senses and God said to me (not audibly but just as evident), “Don’t you trust me?”  I couldn’t move. I felt a peace that I hadn’t felt in months and I felt so silly for letting something consume my every thought that wasn’t even reality (spoiler alert, I did not have lymphoma). “Don’t you trust me?”

When you are in the middle of the battle, real or perceived, you think it will never end. When I cried day after day that God would give me a baby (that would stay in my womb)….He did. When my first born only slept through (up to) one hour at a time for the first year with no naps and a need for constant movement, I tried to accept my fate. This is it, I will never sleep again. But I did. When a heartache from a broken marriage consumed me and I just knew that not even God could fix this one. He did, and made it better. When a family member was so lost in the throes of mental anguish for TEN YEARS and I thought she was gone forever. Her mind was restored. When I fell into the deepest pit because I was a prisoner in my own home (read my other posts for our family’s autism journey)…I see light at the end of the tunnel.

This Saturday, we have a babysitter coming for the first time in a year and 2 months. This Saturday, I will be in the same room with my husband in the dead middle of the day, without my kids. And not only can I go to the bathroom by myself without meltdowns and fear and panic, but I can go freely from one room to the next without a single scream. This Saturday my son will not see me and will not even know where I am. With a hesitancy and an inkling of a tear, he proudly said, “I’m ready. I can do this.” This may not seem like much to you. But to our family, this victory is monumental.

I say all of this because I talk too much….Oh and also to say this… Mark 4:40 says, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” Still after being pulled from the rubble so many times? Still after turning devastation into beauty? Still after He has proved His grace time and again….”Don’t you trust me?”

I don’t know what will happen on Saturday. Honestly, I don’t care. The progress we have seen is so huge that I am ecstatic knowing there’s hope. There is a way out of that pit. No matter how deep or how far you’ve fallen. “Don’t you trust me?”…..

What Now???

I have always wanted to blog…start a blog…be a blogger (is ‘blog’ a noun or a verb)?  All I ever hear is how incredibly cathartic it is.  Catharsis just reminds me of all my college psychology classes, shout out to Mr Freud.  But here I am.  A dear diary for grownups. While I don’t have anything life altering to write about, I do need all the therapeutic catharsis I can get.  I just moved 1400 miles across the country for better opportunities. Leaving behind family, a career that I loved and was passionate about, friends, a church, a support system, and perhaps my identity. I am grateful for the new adventure, really I am. I am grateful for the beautifully quirky farmhouse with the huge yard and the short distance to the beach. For the opportunity to stay at home with my kids and homeschool and run around in our pajamas and play cops and robbers with the perfect jail underneath the cute nook under the stairs.  For the church that we found on the first try, because finding a new church is much like dating. Sometimes half way through the service, you think,”what kind of tom foolery did I just get myself into” and try to figure out an exit strategy.  For a husband that is brilliant and works hard and has been making me proud for 15 years (give or take, marriage is hard ya’ll). For two kids that I so desperately prayed for. I can not imagine two kids that were more wanted than those two curly headed, blue eyed boys. The years I couldn’t sleep for the visceral pain that was caused by the thought that I might not be a mom.  I see all of these things and realize that for ALL of this I prayed. So why is this so hard?  What I did not take into consideration is life.  When I dreamed of my children, my free time was filled with us making precious memories by crafting at the huge kitchen table while my homemade lasagna was baking in the oven. I didn’t know that my son would have autism and any kind of organized crafts would be laughable and a guarantee that someone would have copious amounts of glue in their hair and glitter would be shot up a nostril.  And that lasagna? It is glorious! Seriously, my lasagna is amazing. But I also didn’t know that my son wouldn’t eat most things because of his sensory issues or that dear husband would have ulcerative colitis which is a crap shoot (pun intended) on what his poor tummy can handle, and usually results in him eating a sandwich instead.  I never dreamed that my son would go through a period where he had to see me or his dad at all times. At all times… No bathroom breaks, changing clothes, or even getting something to drink from the kitchen without a major meltdown.  No playing with friends, going to school, sleeping in his own bed. My constant shadow. Without work or friends or date nights or adult conversation,  I have no break. No time to breathe. No time to hear myself think.  Added to depression and anxiety that have reared their ugliness at the most inopportune times (another shout out to my mom’s side of the gene pool). Some days it’s literally hard to breathe. The panic that is waiting in my chest before I even get out of bed is overwhelming at best. So here I am. Trying to figure it all out, with God of course. Documenting the victories so that I can remember and be grateful. Sorting out the noise in my head.  I know that this too shall pass. And when it does, I want to look back at it fondly.  I want to see all that God has done and what He has brought me through.  This is my journey and my prayer is that I journey well.