I’m Not Crazy
Day 2 of Calm My Anxious Heart, Lord
“For my days pass away like smoke, and my bones burn like a furnace. My heart is struck down like grass and has withered; I forget to eat my bread. Because of my loud groaning my bones cling to my flesh.” (Psalm 102:3-5, ESV)
“The waters closed in over me to take my life; the deep surrounded me; weeds were wrapped about my head at the roots of the mountains. I went down to the land whose bars closed upon me forever; yet you brought up my life from the pit, O Lord my God.” (Jonah 2:5-7, ESV)
You aren’t crazy. No, really, you aren’t losing your mind; it just feels like it. I’ve often described an anxiety/panic attack as being like having a whirlwind of thoughts, and I’m desperately trying to reach out and grab one, but they’re all moving too fast. So yes, I can understand how you might think you were crazy. You may have read the Scripture for today and thought it was a strange choice, but I have a feeling that if you struggle with anxiety, these passages made perfect sense. It was passages like these that first made me feel known and represented in the Bible. For so long, I thought I was completely alone in my struggles and that no one could possibly understand what I was dealing with mentally or emotionally. When I was at my lowest, I read these words and thought, “Yes! That’s it! That is what it feels like in my head.” This was one of the first truths I learned that combatted the lies anxiety fed me. I am not alone. You are not alone.
The interesting thing is that our brains were actually programmed to use anxiety as a response mechanism. Our brain is supposed to produce anxiety as a gentle nudge to do the right thing, get our work done, or warn us about something. This reaction in our brain kicks us into fight-or-flight mode, where we will either fight to protect ourselves or run from the danger ahead. Your brain is simply overproducing this response. Essentially, you are living in fight-or-flight mode. As we discussed in yesterday’s devotional, an anxiety disorder is a legitimate disfunction of the brain. Maybe it’s just me, but knowing that the issues in my head have a medical explanation gives me a little peace.
I believe that the number one reason anxiety can make you feel crazy is because no one talks about it. Now, it is becoming less of a taboo to speak openly about mental health struggles, but it is still something we tend to avoid discussing with the people we are close to. I am all for the benefits and connections social media can bring, but it is truly no joke that when you are only seeing the good parts of other people’s lives, it makes you feel isolated. When no one is being fully honest, it can make you feel like you’re the only one who is struggling. This is simply not true. I know for a fact that if you peel back the mask of social media, you will find anxieties, pain, addictions, illness, heartbreak, and brokenness. Maybe the reason you think no one you know is struggling is because they aren’t being honest with you either.
My challenge to you today is to be authentic. Talk honestly about your struggles and encourage others to be honest too. Even if it sounds crazy coming out of your mouth or people label you as crazy, speak up. From experience, you will find more compassion and more understanding from like-minded believers than you expect. You are not broken. You are not crazy. You are known and loved by the Creator. You are going to be okay.