Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Lessons from Job: Part One

Shortly after Brent had his life changing surgery and had his health fully restored, I started having anxiety attacks.  Regular, frequent anxiety attacks.  I felt like I was having a heart attack and didn't know how to make it stop.  It was usually triggered by something benign, something that normally would not even phase me.  One day it started because one of my children had lost her jacket at school.  I know, weird.

I couldn't figure out what was going on.  For SIX YEARS, while Brent was sick, I was a rock.  I was the one that constantly held our family together and was incessantly chasing the dark cloud out of the room during that entire time he was ill.  I was the one that kept things going.  Why, NOW, was I falling apart?

After much prodding from a loving aunt, a concerned husband, and a thoughtful mother, I scheduled a session with my Institute teacher who is a licensed family therapist. 

At the first session, he asked what brought me there (to his office).  I explained, "basically, I'm married to Job".. and then I brought him up to date on the last six years.  Brent (ahem JOB) had suffered through being chronically ill, unemployment, under employment, financial reversal, lawsuits, being deceived by employers, being buried in medical bills.  You name it.  He pretty much had had it inflicted upon him and consequently, I was affected to.  I went on to explain that Brent reacted to all this tribulation and trial like Job did too.  He faced everything with so much faith and hope.  He never wavered.  He was long suffering and patient and obedient the whole time. 

But me?  I felt like I had come out of the whole thing somewhat jaded and fearful about what was coming next.  What horrible thing was lurking around the corner next for us?  I told him I felt like I was living my life hopelessly.  I had never stopped reading my scriptures or going to the temple or attending my meetings.  I explained that I was trying to constantly find others who were in a crummier situation than me to serve in an effort to not be self-absorbed.
BUT, I didn't feel like my happy perky self anymore.  I felt cynical and fearful.

I asked him if he could "fix" me.  With a smile he said, "yes".   I think I can help you but I am not going to try to "fix" you.  He went on, "This is going to be FUN". 

"Fun?", I said.

"Yes, fun".  "You are going to learn alot about yourself and what you gained from living with Job."

I asked the therapist, "Do you think I am depressed?". 

"No", he said.  "I think you are depleted".  "You have been giving and giving and giving for so long that you have nothing left in your reserve.  Now that the trial is for all practical purposes over, you CAN fall apart, so you ARE.  For the first time in a long time you have the option of falling apart when things go wrong so you do.  Even things that normally would not bother you are having that affect on you because you have held that natural response in for so long. "

I got goose bumps.

That made so much sense to me!  Of course! 

"The next thing we need to do is help you figure out what FILLS you back up, so that you won't feel depleted anymore".

And thus my journey began...


 

1 "my two cents...":

Sara said...

Good luck with the journey, Shahna! We will be praying for you & your family.