It’s the beginning of a fresh new year which means it’s time for me to get back into this whole blogging thing. With it being a new year I want to get a few things off my chest.
If you are close to me then there are certain things you know about me that I don’t necessarily broadcast to the world. I like to share funny videos on my Facebook, talk about how much I love weddings and anyone who has ever been on my social media knows I don’t shy away from talking about the love I have for my sweet fur baby. However, there is one thing that I’ve been keeping to myself that I’m ready to share with everyone. This fact about me is something that is extremely common, yet no one ever wants to talk about it. Today, I am changing that.
The past few months since I made my blog public have been difficult. I started this blog and my mom as well as spiritual mentors of mine told me, “the enemy is going to come after you when you go public with this.” I knew in my heart that was true but was on such a high after my blog debut that I didn’t realize what was happening.
Ever since my senior year of high school I struggled with extreme anxiety. This illness manifested itself in the form of extreme obsessive compulsive behavior (if you’ve ever seen my apartment you can attest to this). After my first semester of college, my anxiety had turned into severe depression. I left the college I was attending and moved home to be in a more stable environment and go through counseling. There were rumors started about me and I lost a lot of friends throughout this process, but I grew closer to God and to my family than I had ever been before. I took a break from school and starting developing new hobbies. I began assisting a wedding planner friend of mine and that developed into one of my most favorite ways to spend my weekends. I began journaling which is how this whole blog thing started. I even began working out and eating healthier. I had good days and bad days, but overall I had everything together.
After being on an anti-depressant and going to weekly therapy sessions for an entire year, I decided that it was time to start my life back up. It was time for me to go back to school and start pushing towards the future since it seemed as though everything was in the past.
I met Jake about the time I stopped taking my medication. I began classes at the college I currently attend that next January. It seemed as though everything was finally going my way. But transferring to a new school halfway through your sophomore year is difficult. I had a hard time making friends. All of my new relationships seemed superficial. A promotion at work increased my responsibilities as well as my stress level. I moved out of my parent’s house but there was still something off. Summer rolled around and I finally decided to share my thoughts I had been journaling with the world but I had not prepared myself spiritually for what was going to happen next. I made by blog public and within a day or two the negative thoughts starting trickling in. I was worried about what others thought of me. I got caught up in the comparison trap on social media. I began questioning if it was such a good idea to post these things. I was constantly stressed out, my grades began to decline and drop, and I was filled with shame and regret of my past. Before I knew it, I had slipped further and further into the depression that I thought was over. I was distant from everyone around me. My grades were horrifyingly low and I told my parents I needed to drop out of school and quit wasting their money. I constantly had somewhere to be and something to do and it made me crazy. I walked around with a raincloud over my head, labeling myself as depressed.
I thought no one really understood.
I wish people could have read what was inside my head. The hardest part about depression is that it doesn’t make sense to those who haven’t experienced it first hand. It is a tool used by Satan himself to create a barrier between God and His people. Everyday I felt less motivated to get up and do something productive. I cried out to God everyday asking for healing but the healing wasn’t coming. I began questioning the goodness of God. Is He punishing me? I seem to be doing everything right so why is He allowing this to happen to me?
I was right where Satan wanted me to be.
I have always felt that there is a greater purpose for me than anything I could plan for myself, but during these few months, I really questioned all of that.
Then one day I decided that things were going to change.
I began attending a women’s bible study at the beginning of the semester at my church led by my mom and our Pastor’s wife. The book we are basing our study around is The Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer. [Sidenote: if you are struggling with depression, anxiety, negative thoughts of any kind, I highly recommend this book.] During the first week of bible study, we opened up a discussion about how the enemy attacks us first and foremost in our minds. I remember thinking to myself, “Wow, this is exactly what I am facing. Satan is attacking me in my mind.” He started with a few thoughts here and there and then before I knew it I was completely consumed with negative thoughts and I hadn’t even noticed! A dear friend of mine, who is also an incredible and empowering life coach, was attending the study that night made the statement that our mindset is a choice. When the negative thoughts come, we can lay down and roll around in them or we can choose to believe what God says about us outlined in His Word.
“The joy of the Lord is my strength.” Nehamiah 8:10
In that very moment, I decided that I was no longer depressed but full of joy. Notice I didn’t say happy. Happiness is an emotion but joy is a mindset that you can receive through the help of Jesus. I refused to be bound or labeled by depression from that day forward. I realized the power that my words and thoughts had over my life.
Everyday I was telling myself I wasn’t good enough or worthy enough and that I was depressed. But not anymore.
Since that day, I get up every morning and tell myself who I REALLY am. I am full of God’s joy and He created me for a purpose! When the enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy we must use the Word of God to combat those negative thoughts. The Bible tells me to take my thoughts captive. If my thought doesn’t match up with Philippians 4:8 then I know that thought is not of God and I shouldn’t dwell on it.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8
If you are walking through a similar season, I want to tell you that you are not alone. I also want to tell you that you can and you WILL overcome with the help of Jesus. You are beautiful, you are loved, and you are enough!
I had a lot of people ask why I wasn’t being so active on my blog after my initial posts so hopefully this will help shed some light on things. With all of this being said, I’m officially back and ready to write some more! I also want to know what you would like me to write about so feel free to contact me!
Thank you so much to everyone who has prayed with and for me and encouraged me through this difficult season of my life. You will never know how much you all mean to me and I love you all dearly.
Much Love, Karley