Breaking Old Habits:  How Depression, Anxiety and Fear Take Hold


I notice it when things are right.  I notice a sadness that lingers.  A darkness that lurks in my soul.  It shouldn’t be there.  I’ve adjusted, moved on, set new goals, and am on the way towards a new life.  When I simply live and quit thinking I find happiness.  I then begin to see.

I begin to see that there were consequences for losing faith, delving into despair and being consumed with life.  I see that others were hurt.  They had to cope and will now have their own thing to deal with.  I notice something.  I notice that I still don’t engage in life like I used to.  I was the one making plans and looking forward to things.  Now I just survive.  I see how others have stepped up.  They don’t want to live with me in seclusion.  They are constantly trying to pull me out.  Come on let’s do this.  They miss the days when it was me instigating everything.  I see the hurt.

I don’t feel like living.  I am, but I am not who I was and perhaps I will never be.  Perhaps I will be someone new.  Someone improved. Perhaps everything is being re-defined and I can’t help but think that is a good thing.  Perhaps everything needed taken away for me to change.  It was.  Everything I loved was taken.  Everything that I counted on to make me feel safe and secure is gone.  Everything has changed and I can’t wrap my mind around it.

Depression, anxiety and fear take hold in our hearts like black tar.  They muck everything up.  It’s impossible to remove.  It just sticks.  We learn to live with it, but when we get a glimpse of what life can be like without it we strive to move forward yet we don’t know how to live without it.  We have to learn how to live without it. How?

Day by day.  Only day by day.

We get up and start our day and keep moving.  We recognize that we might not know how to live without this inner darkness and keep moving forward anyway.  We smile when we don’t feel like it.  We breath.  We plan.  We do.  We engage.  We hope.  We begin to teach ourselves how to live a joyful life trusting God.  We keep going.  We keep doing knowing that one day it won’t be so difficult.  It will be inherent in what we do.

We need to surround ourselves with people who have overcome adversity.  We need friends, family, books, podcasts, radio shows, you name it.  We need an example of how to live and then we need to emulate it—despite how we feel.  Day by day.  Only day by day will we learn to live again.

More change this week.  My heart is racing.  Too many unknowns and if I wasn’t digging myself out of a two year depression this wouldn’t be a big deal.  If I had my old life back this wouldn’t be a big deal, but I don’t.  I want to stay in bed and think.  Think until I feel better, but I could feel my heart race.  It scared me.  So I got up.  I started doing.  Time started to go by and I began to poke holes in the muck.

I am scared.  I don’t feel like I used to, but today I am going to keep moving on.  I am going to make plans and enjoy life.  Even if it’s just going through the motions.  I know that in time I will heal and one day soon I will wake up and the gloom in my heart will be gone and I will be whole.  Day by day.  Only day by day.

Marcy Pedersen

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