This is first in a series of posts, looking at a journey from depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts to a state of wholeness and wellness.. It is written for you, the reader, who believes God is still there, yet is stumbling in the dark, wondering where the path is to light, joy and that well-nourished life.
That day in the office, I remember sitting at my desk, crying, facing the wall, wondering how much longer I could stand coming to work in this dark place.I didn’t want to leave the safety of my little office because I might meet HER. You know, the archenemy that I had in my life.
Didn’t God know I could get along with everyone? How did this happen, with this new boss, that she didn’t like me, that she wanted to put me on a work improvement plan? How dare she!
During this work period of my life, with this new boss, I experimented with everything I knew how to do, in order to get along with this new boss.I tried to support her. I was pleasant with her. I wanted to help her, but she wanted no help.
In her previous job, she had no one to collaborate with, so she wasn’t interested in collaborating. It was her way or the highway. I hated conflict and had few conflict resolution skills myself so I began to avoid her like the plague. Needless to say, as a bully, she began to berate me even more and I withdrew more.
I spent a lot of time in the Psalms that year, crying out to God, asking for His rescue. I had no skill set to deal with someone who didn’t like me.
I was the people pleaser extraordinaire. Pride is an interfering factor during a conflict situation. It had to be all her fault, of course.
No, it wasn’t all her, but I was too prideful and turned in on myself at the time to see that. 15 years later, I realized I turned my anger at her inward, instead of finding healthy ways to express it. I didn’t lament with God at the time and all my emotions got stuffed into my body, causing stress, migraines and depression.
It was dark.
Finally, the job became untenable. I was having daily headaches, crying most nights at home. I looked for other similar positions in which to transfer. Nothing was available. I finally found that I could take a one-year leave of absence, with the agreement that I would retire early after that year.
I felt I had no other choice. I found a position with someone who was now working at the state level which was at least related to what I had been doing in my profession. Regardless of the financial cost, I had to make the leap. All I could see was a way OUT.
In hindsight, I now see I had fallen off my own white horse.
I was no longer the knight in shining armor, come to save the day for whoever needed me to do whatever needed to be done. I had always believed my own press releases of how wonderful I was and could get along with anyone.
I am not saying it was all my fault in us not getting along, although for a while I believed it. If I been healthier, I certainly would have been able to stand up for myself in a conflict resolution way. I would have challenged the assumptions that were being made about me, instead of blaming myself for not getting along with HER.
This episode left a huge imprint on my psyche. It took fifteen years to be able to hear someone say, “Nancy, I’d like to meet with you,” and not feel a pit in my stomach, which I realize now is a gut release – my body intelligence. What I also learned from that time period and have been able to rewrite into that part of my story includes:
1) It wasn’t my fault we didn’t get along. There were lots of others who didn’t get along with HER either. Wisdom at that time could have alerted me to the fact that our disagreements weren’t all about me. – mind intelligence
2) By forgiving her, I have been able to free myself of that whole angst. I realized forgiveness had occurred when I could hear someone say “Nancy, I’d like to meet with you” and I didn’t flinch. Forgiveness gave me the emotional intelligence I needed to get healthy.
3) God never left me alone. He was always with me, even when I was crying out through the Scriptures or I didn’t feel Him. I learned how to really lean into Him during that time period. By looking back, seeing His hand releases me from bitterness as well, also part of that emotional intelligence I needed.
The Take Away
What about you? Have you found yourself in a dark place and not known how or when or where it would end?
What did God teach you, especially as you look back at it now?
One of the things about dark times is how out of balance our intelligences can be. What is out of harmony for you today? Are your emotions working overtime? What about your thoughts – running wild? Or does something sit in the pit of your stomach?
I would love to walk the path with you, especially if you’re traveling a darker road right now. We all need traveling companions. Hope we can chat soon.
Nancy Booth loves to walk and talk with mid-life Christian women about their journey to their authentic, well-nourished lives. She encourages them to create space in their lives to look for God’s fingerprints and give themselves permission to discover what they need to live fully present, healthy mind, body and heart. She is a certified life coach and spiritual director as well as enneagram coach. She would love to travel with you on your journey to an authentic, well-nourished life of peace and freedom.