Archive for the ‘anxiety’ Tag

Change

Change is not something I do well. My old ‘routine’, or to put it more aptly my personal agenda was like wearing a comfortable, favorite pair of old shoes or blue jeans. But, even a new pair of shoes or blue jeans has to be broken in until softer and loose enough to easily slip on.

But change is what my past year has been like since making some tough decisions in my life, good or bad. And when those changes come with a new name, address, relocation and relationships and all that goes with it there comes with it a time to stop and rethink priorities, goals for the future, and focus on what is immediate and most important; things that must be dealt with here and now.

There have been many who wondered, questioned or just stood by and prayed while I and my husband went through a divorce this last summer, and a broken marriage after fifty-two years together. The serious mental illness and suicide attempts my husband suffered through 2017 and  2018  became more than I could handle physically, mentally and emotionally. I had to make a decision that was not only very difficult, but I knew things would never be the same for us again. When I filed for divorce and we put our house and properties we owned jointly up for sale other things followed that made it harder to bear as the months went by. My husband became unpredictable, with varied mood swings and personality changes that shocked everyone who knew him, and frightened those of us who once loved him; our two daughters, our grandchildren, family and friends, and myself included.

When he started buying up and carrying around guns, deliberately threatening the lives of others and demonstrating a delusional, hallucinating mind and personality that conjured up stories we knew were not true, driving around with reckless abandonment, and pursuing women on internet match sites I knew I could not stay married to a man I hardly knew anymore.  I had to put my life and future at the forefront, find a new place to live and put my trust in an unfailing God who I knew would never leave, or forsake me. I knew God would walk with me through the shadow of dispelling darkness and despair I felt engulfed in, though at times I wondered if I would ever find my way through it. But, I was not alone. I had the support and prayers of friends and family, who knew the struggle I was going through.

During the months following he committed a serious crime, and the felony landed him in jail. He faced court hearings, convictions, a possible prison sentence, and numerous months of mental and psychic evaluations. For months I was angry, deeply hurt and resentful of all that he had put me through. But, deep down I knew he was a very sick man, that something had claimed his mind and soul causing his problems or contributing to all that he’d done. The many medications he took were adjusted and one by one each possible diagnosis came back unconfirmed. Things would never be the same for him. As for me, I was determined to grow through the experience and become the person God was shaping me to be. But, I knew I would need to make changes in my own personal agenda and reset my priorities. There would be no comfortable routine.

In Philippians 3:13 & 14 the apostle Paul speaks of his own experience; “Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” NIV I hung onto that hope that God was working in my life and I believed He would do a work in my husband’s life as well, that one day he would be healed and made whole again.

There will always be many unanswered questions as to why and how one could change so much that no one recognized him anymore. After the divorce and the sale of our home I set out on my own to relocate, buy another house in another state, and took a long break from blogging and social media sites. I have now taken back my maiden name of Mannhalter and though it is becoming once again more familiar and comfortable like my old sneakers and blue jeans when signing my name I will remember forever the fifty-two years I had with the once wonderful, giving, loving man I married when I was Joyce E. Johnson.

Joyce E. Mannhalter (October 2018)

 

Posted October 12, 2018 by Joyce in blogging, Faith, My Writings

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Road to recovery…and beyond

“Lord, don’t let him die. Give him the will to live, for you.”

This was my prayer as I stood by my husband’s bedside in the hospital that night. I was in shock. Why, Lord? Why did he do this to himself? Why did he think he had no other way? Where was his faith that you would help him overcome the illness of deep depression and anxiety he suffered with? Didn’t he believe we would find answers, get some help? But, his condition only grew worse with little hope of ever getting the help needed.

There comes a time in our lives when a personal crisis hits us so hard that the sudden impact knocks us off our track, and a dark force comes against us rearing its ugly head and we feel backed into a corner.

My husband suffers with anxiety and depression that manifested itself this last summer. Whether or not there were clues we could have seen coming in time to ward off two suicide attempts on his life within two months it was not apparent until almost too late. There was little comfort that in both attempts he was unsuccessful, the first from an overdose of medications and the second one when he cut his wrists. He lived through each because of the power of prayer from our friends and family, and because God was not letting him go.  This kind of crisis was something new, foreign to us both. We sought the help from doctors and professionals, made appointments, ran tests and did everything to find the cause or answers to why he suffered from something he’d never experienced before. I watched him helplessly spiral down into despair and hopelessness as I cried out to God with desperation and help for him to have the will to live, and to overcome the horrible, inflicting disease of mental illness.

Throughout his time spent in three different hospitals he was on a 24 hour round the clock watch and care through August, and into Sept., 2017. When he was discharged from a second psychiatric facility we had numerous follow-up appointments and more tests to set up, and he was put on several medications to help ward off the anxiety and depression, improve his sleep deprivation problem, and stabilize his blood pressure.

As we have worked to get back to a ‘new normal’ we take one step at a time, one day at a time. What we are most thankful for is the grace and mercy of a forgiving, loving God who understands our hurts, our pain, cries with us, and watches over us 24/7 each day and night. We’ve been on a journey I never expected to take, but we are taking it together.

His father and grandparents also suffered with mental illness, which has made this harder to bear as studies have shown it to be an inherited disease. But, no matter what brought this all on God allowed it to use for His glory, that we would believe in the impossible as we sought a miracle. God gives us life. and every day is a gift, another opportunity to make it better than the day before. We choose to not waste them on worry or being anxious over things we have no control because we know who holds our tomorrows.

As God’s children, we hold that promise of hope, the power of Christ’s shed blood and redemption for our sins. And, by the virtue and power granted us through the Holy Spirit, we are a new creature in Him. Each day is a new day. And today belongs to us now.

In I Peter 5:7 & 10, it says, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Vs. 10, “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”

______________

Joyce E. Johnson (2017)

Posted October 4, 2017 by Joyce in Faith, My Writings

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A new page

A moment gone, I’ll not look back

what is too painful, I cannot forget,

but life grants us another day,

a new season, a renewing gift of time.

 I can only hope and pray

we count each worthy, one step forward,

 and wish them to stay,

but only with God’s help

will we make strides together,

while writing a new page of our lives

   one we’ll wish to be remembered.

______________

Joyce E. Johnson (2017)

Posted September 14, 2017 by Joyce in My Writings, Poems, poetry

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God gave me a rose

I needed just a sign

that God turned not away

disappointed in His child

for what we could not hide,

or dwell on what went wrong.

We would choose to now move forward

not look back on Why or How,

or think upon the long

days of waiting you’d come around

as we stood by in silent sadness;

yet hanging onto hope

that you’d make it through the days

 and your life we prayed to keep,

while God standing watch over you amidst your fear.

 He returned to you your life,

and assured us that in spite of what he did allow

He’s not yet through with you, and here.

He never really left, but gave us just some space.

 How precious every moment, every day of our lives,

like the rose, the sign I needed

  to know He’s always there, and with us day and night.

_________________

Joyce E. Johnson (2017)

 

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