At the worst point of my life, when I was falling apart from anxiety and depression, my eyes would often fly open at 3:00 a.m. It was sudden, terrifying and I was instantly consumed with fear. Going back to sleep was an impossibility as I was flung, head-on, into a massive anxiety attack. Fear of death, fear of losing my family, fear of environmental destruction, fear of what happens after we die, fear that someone would come into my church on a Sunday and massacre everyone there — these images and ideas were racing through my mind. I became so incapacitated by this physical fear that I couldn’t move.
DearGodpleasehelpme, DearGodpleasehelpme, DearGodpleasehelpme, DearGodpleasehelpme, again and again and again I’d say. It was sometimes all I could come up with. Then, I’d move onto the Lord’s Prayer and some Hail Marys. I would try to concentrate on every.single.word so that my mind could focus on something other than a rollercoaster ride of darkness. It wasn’t uncommon for my mother to get up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night and find the lights blazing in my room and me, propped up in bed, reading through my Bible. It was all I could do.
I’ve always had a particular devotion to Mary — a female archetype of love, compassion and humility. However, it wasn’t until I walked through this barren, bleak land of depression that brought me so low that I felt her reassuring maternal presence, just as Jesus himself must have felt her love at his darkest hour. I wasn’t alone. I’m not alone. There is an undercurrent to this tumultuous ocean that has kept me buoyant, that flows under me, through me, within me.
For that, I say….Amen