I closed my eyes for just a second. I sat in a chair, holding my hands together, and squeezing them tightly without anyone else noticing because I continued to smile. My hands began fidgeting, one massaging another continuously, but again, no-one noticed because my hands were hidden under the table as I continued to smile. I knew everything was going to be just fine, but then again, it wasn’t.
Friends and family laughed, conversed, and then everything became silent. To break the awkward silence, one person looked around and awkwardly asked, “Where is the waiter with our food? Feels like we’ve been waiting for hours.” Everyone else at the table began looking around with no success toward finding the waiter.
I looked at the time on my phone to see that it had only been 20 minutes since we’ve arrived. Everyone was already becoming anxious to eat and leave.
Small talk continually occurred throughout dinner. Within the hour, some ordered dessert and others explained that it was late, and therefore they had to leave. We said our thank you’s and our goodbyes in which I heard them conversing amongst themselves as they began to leave, “Was it really only 1 hour? It felt like an eternity.” To which the other responded “Agreed. Our night could have been spent better being at home.” My heart dropped to the pit of my stomach hearing these words, but no-one could have known it. Deep down inside, I knew that “celebrating me” was a bad idea. I continued to smile and converse with others as we enjoyed our desserts.
As the dinner and desserts were paid for, I began to give my appreciation to everyone for the birthday get-together. But only 1 person responded as the subject was immediately changed, “My birthday is next weekend! We are going to have so much fun,” another person said. Everyone began dancing and laughing as they walked out to their cars. I realized that the “celebration of me” was finally over and everyone was happy about it.
One last “Happy 30th birthday,” was shouted to me by each person before I got in my car and began to drive home.
The 20 minute drive alone was filled with anger and sadness. The thoughts that filled, not just my mind, but my heart and soul, were destroying me little by little. It wasn’t a process that was new… it was as if a well-known friend was visiting me. One that comes and visits when it wants and where it wants.
It began whispering the thoughts into me, “You wasted everyone’s night trying to have them celebrate you. Who are you to be celebrated? You should speed up and flip your car right now. It would be best for everyone. You are not valued — you are a burden. People force them-selves to care for you because something is wrong with you and they know it.”
“Focus,” I told myself as I began singing worship music in the car. Causing myself to feel free, valued, and loved. I wanted this friend of mine to be overpowered by God’s truth. But, it’s never that easy.
I arrived home with a body that felt weak, a heart that beat double, and a mind that had trouble finding rest. I struggled to unlock the door as my friend continued speaking to me, “You can’t do anything right. You can’t even unlock a door. You’re pathetic. Remember the time you tried to teach someone about love and you looked like a fool instead? Remember the time you tried to learn that new skill and again you failed. You’re dumb and you’re weak.”
“Focus” I once again said to myself. I unlocked the door and walked straight to my daughter’s room. She was staying at her father’s house that night and I was going to be home alone all night.
I didn’t shower, I didn’t change my clothes, and I didn’t call anyone because I didn’t want to be a bother. I laid in her bed, hugged her stuffed animals… and I reminded myself of the pain it would have caused her if I had flipped the car.
I cried, and I cried, and I cried. My oxygen was cut low and my body went numb. The pain in my heart was the only thing I could feel.
Suddenly, I heard “Mommy! Are you done? You’ve been in the shower forever!”
I opened my eyes to find myself sitting on the floor of the tub as the water poured down. My body still felt weak and my heart was still in pain. No tears ran down my face, though, and I was still 29 years old. Nothing I experienced was true.
I got out, got dressed, cuddled with my daughter, and picked up my phone to type a message, “We need to cancel my birthday dinner. I’m not feeling well,” and hit “send.”
My friend was gone, I felt at peace, and then I heard the words “It’s time to fight this ‘friend’ of yours. Because it is not your friend, it’s an enemy.”
***Anxiety and depression are real. You’re not crazy, dramatic, or possessed by a demon. This was an experience that I had around the time I began my medication. I missed an opportunity to celebrate my 30th birthday with friends and family who WANTED to celebrate me because of this invisible struggle.***
And to be as openly – honest as possible, I strongly believe that the only reason I am still here today — is because I consumed myself with God’s truth (Bible, music, videos, movies, writings, books) to overpower each time my “friend” came to visit me.
Pray—Connect—Grow. Gods love is GREATER.