"I recently saw an interview with an NBA player who had suddenly left the court and the game as the result of an extreme anxiety attack. He went through two years of healing before deciding to make his story public in the hopes of helping others. Then two weeks ago the suicide of a pastor in California brought widespread attention to the issue of depression. Seeing the coverage brought me back to a particularly troubling time in my life as a teen and to a poem that I wrote in the midst when I had no answer for the struggle.
Clutching, grasping trying to find that everlasting peace of mind.
Thinking, groping always hoping there to find
That everlasting peace of mind.
Giving, taking, flying free. Never catching you or me.
In one ear; out the other, there to find always another
Of that kind of [n]everlasting peace of mind.
My struggle was significantly resolved when I was shown that my help and my hope was not found in my performance but in my perception. Prior I assumed that one would lead to the other, but it only resulted in increased striving and anxiety. Then one day I was introduced to God through Psalm 139 who knows absolutely everything about me, including my greatest fears and failures. I was told that He through His Son would totally accept and approve of me. In Christ I was made at peace with God and I learned that I could then live in peace before God, with myself and with others.
There are many reasons that people struggle so intensely. Anxiety and depression are very real, and they can become very debilitating, but there is hope and help. Please don’t fight the battle alone. Get connected with others, and if you or anyone else is struggling, the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-TALK (8255) is a potentially life-saving resource.
(written 9/4/18 for Sherman County eNews Spiritual Matters)