The honest truth is, I’m floundering. I’m flailing through waves and gasping for breath, like I’ve been treading water for weeks, months even, and the storm ensues. I’m tired. I want a life preserver. Better yet, I want the coast guard to drop down from their helicopter and scoop me up on that rope thing and carry me back to where that warmth lives. But I don’t want to tell you that. Because then I’m weak. I’m weak and I’m flawed, and maybe that means I’m failing at something? I don’t really know, but that’s what it feels like. And if I’m weak and flawed and failing, then surely you will judge me. Surely you will think all of the things about me that I wouldn’t want. So no, I won’t tell you that. I’ll tell you that everyone has rough patches but that there are good things there if you dig through them long enough, and deep enough, and you’ll find the glittering jewels of worth you desire. Because lately, the moments I spend pondering the existence of these particular gems, have been exponential and also exhausting. I’m not — not telling you this because I want you to feel sorry for me, I don’t. This is very truly part of my journey, not a part I very much care for, but an element no doubt. A part that will lead to another part, all tangled up into something I might someday understand. So please don’t feel sorry for this, feel hopeful, because our truth is what makes us human… but I won’t tell you that.
I wrote that about two months ago while I was drowning under the waves of what I came to realize was anxiety. This wasn’t something I had never experienced, in fact, I have experienced anxiety after both of my other two children, as well as before I even had children. It’s been something that has bounced in and out of my life for as long as I can remember. So I tried something different after having Marigold in hopes of combatting anxiety; I had my placenta encapsulated. So here’s the thing… you aren’t sitting down at the table for a nice placenta steak with a side of fava beans; it’s dehydrated, ground, and put into capsules that you swallow like a pill. All I had to do was bring an ice chest to the hospital and let them know I wanted to keep it. They kept it on ice for me, and my husband brought it home that afternoon. Then a nice women came to my house while we were all still at the hospital, prepared the placenta and left it to dehydrate overnight (and left my kitchen cleaner than it was before she got there). The next morning she came back and finished the job. When we got home that afternoon, I had a jar of 101 placenta capsules waiting for me. I took three a day for the first week and a half, and I couldn’t believe it. Absolutely zero blues. Nothing. If anything I felt happy, energetic, calm, and just overall amazing.
However, the capsules only lasted so long, and apparently my hormones weren’t back on track yet when I stopped taking them. Anxiety is a strange thing. It creeps up behind you without notice, grabbing hold with a strong and unrelenting grip, and unless you’ve felt it, you just can’t comprehend it, because often times it makes no sense at all. But there I was, being crushed by that weight, my breath catching, my stomach aching, my head unable to make sense of it. Until suddenly, I realized what was happening… anxiety. Being able to recognize it, give it a name, to know you’re not crumbling; it makes it more manageable… not immune, but also not hopeless. And so now on the days it comes rolling in like grey thunder clouds, threatening to clap that deep and ominous groan in my head, that rumbling of unrest in my stomach, I know that it will pass. Even when I have to feel straight through the eye of the storm, I know that there will be blue skies on the other end.
Again, I’m not telling you this because I’m fishing for some kind of pity, in fact I pray that response doesn’t cross your mind. I’m telling you this because everyone struggles with something. It is very truly what makes us human, what makes us alive. It’s our adversities that give way to our compassion, our empathy for others. For love and grace, and all of the things Jesus offers us in light of his own suffering. So know that you are not alone, that there is light in the darkness by way of dancing shadows, and that letting your struggles be known out amongst the world, is the most frightening and freeing way to be alive.
image by Evelyn Barkey