My Struggle

When I was growing up I always assumed that doing the right thing could merit you a perfect life. Bliss was totally achievable if you were just willing to follow the guidelines.

So, that's what I did: I followed the rules. I graduated from high school in the top 15% of my class. I was accepted to the only college I applied to. I packed up and moved out. I succeeded in all my courses and managed to maintain a 4.0 GPA (though political science nearly ruined that joy-ride). And then my sophomore year of college everything changed.
the college years
(that's me, second from left)
All of the sudden, fears crippled me. I couldn't function. Couldn't drive, couldn't walk around campus, I couldn't even look out the window. I spent a week closed in my dorm room with the curtains tightly shut, sobbing for hours.

I caught a ride with someone from my hometown the next weekend to see my family. My family and I went to a high school basketball game and I lost it. The crowds of people, the yelling, the ball dribbling... it was too much for my mind to handle and I sobbed in the bleachers, burying my face into my mom's sweater to drown the noise and the faces out.

By Monday we had decided I was coming home: permanently.

We drove back to school to pack everything up, and explain to all my friends what was happening. I was devastated, embarrassed, and terrified. My Mom led me through campus while I kept my eyes shut, too afraid that something I would see would mess with my head and cause me to create overwhelming fears that I would have to battle for days upon days.

Once settled in at home, I was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. And I spent months fighting against my self for normalcy. Medicines, art therapy, and cognitive behavioral specialists all helped me in my battle. I made a very, very slow progression from being able to walk from the upstairs to the downstairs alone, to be able to walk ahead an aisle in the grocery store while my Mom kept a short distance, to be able to drive with a passenger without asking questions, to being able to hold a baby, to driving alone, and then finally to a place where I could finally self-assure. I lost myself during this time. I wasn't an individual, I was in a symbiotic relationship with whoever my closest supporter was. I NEEDED them in order to survive.

Although I had the greatest support system, the only reason I truly healed was because of my faith in Jesus Christ. My hope rested in knowing that He had plans for me, to give me a hope and a future- even when my own body and mind was trying to rob me of it.

Sometimes God takes things away from us in order to get our attention, to get us to listen to him.

Then, He brought a physical representation of that hope- in the form of my friend Ashley. We were brought together, two people in the darkest time of their lives, armed with flashlights to help one another. Ashley gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Zoey Alice.
zoey and me
With the birth of that baby girl came a rebirth of me. Ashley and Zoey made me a fighter. They reminded me of what I wanted for myself, all the dreams that OCD had stolen from me. And slowly, I got even better. Pretty much normal again (though some may object to that :)

Ashley went back to work after her maternity summer, and I became their nanny while beginning to tackle the whole college thing again.

I continued to nanny for several families over the course of the next four years. I graduated from college and completed an internship at a crisis pregnancy center, doing what God had been preparing me for the entire time. Listening to people's heartaches, offering them advice and friendship, and proving to them that they can't handle everything- but Christ can.

This was how I figured out that I simply love people. It took a whole lot of calamities, and a whole lot of desperation- but bliss was always there. The whole time. Because my bliss was found in Christ, it just took a lot of heartache for me to realize.