I have pretty much taken the last year off from my blog to wallow in self-pity, be angry at God, be generally depressed, and to move my heart, soul, and body from London to Seattle.
When I moved to London, I was so sure God was calling me there. I just knew He had big plans for me, and He did! I grew so much spritually and emotionally. Thanks to the NHS I was able to learn about benzodiazepines and successfully break their hold over me while learning to deal with my anxiety better. Then there was the friendships that will forever stay with me, these being the hardest to let go of in my daily life.
It was so hard to say goodbye to my life there in North Finchley, and the transition to Seattle was rough for the entire family. It was as if we had won the lottery, lived off our winnings, and then told a few years later it wasn’t really us who had won and we had to give it all back. Bye, bye…
*Queue Crying Buckets*
Moving to Seattle never felt like I was moving home. The city has changed so much it still feels quite foreign to me at times. It has taken me a full six months to adjust and it is time to reflect on what I have learned. Allow me to share some of what I have learned in the last few months.
“He who began a good work in you
will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
I was incredibly worried moving back to Seattle would mean the end of any chance of my having a ministry. …I know, I know…. Looking back on it the idea is silly, but the enemy really played on my fears. Unknowingly, I somehow internalised this as a truth. I began to believe that I was useless to the kingdom of God, that I was some how defective and God could never use someone as sinful as I was.
I felt I was powerless within my circumstances, that life was something that happened to me, but could never fully participate in. We quite literally were at the mercy of the the British government. As immigrants in a foreign land, we were beholden to the political whims of some very rich and powerful people. Our voice was non-existent. We were merely an numbers of inconvenience.
Our visa was a three-year renewable visa. After five years we could apply for Leave To Remain and apply to become citizens. When we left in 2012 this was our five year plan. After two years the political climate changed against immigrants and the rules were changed AND backdated to 2011. There was still hope, there is always hope… This type of change had no merit, no real standing, surely it would be changed… Surely they would see the idiocy!!!
…Obviously it wasn’t to be. In fact the political climate moved so quick against immigrants that the UK voted to leave the European Union.
I’ve spent the last year wallowing in self-pity, grieving the loss of my life in London, and angry at politicians and, to some extent, God for allowing this to happen. Moving is one of the hardest things to go through in life. It takes a minimum of 6 months to recover from, and is especially hard for people like me who suffer from bipolar disorder. Not only did I have to plan to move my family around the world, I also had to plan for a dip in my mood.
How to Plan For A Break Down
A year ago we had a lovely midwinter break with our dear Egyptian friends to their home country. I decided on that trip to just enjoy the remaining six months we had left in the UK. I ate and drank my way through all of Egypt and then came home to London and continued to enjoy my friends and my country before moving back to Seattle. The last six months were incredible, and it certainly cemented my love of London and the friendships I had made.
1. Let Yourself Sink
Once we settled in to our house in North Seattle, I let myself wallow in self pity for a few months. Its ok to be depressed, sometimes you just have to let yourself embrace that part of your cycle. I’ve always believed that I had to “fight” depression, that stability could be achieved if I tried hard enough. One thing I learned from getting off the benzo’s was to listen to my body. So thats exactly what I did. I allowed myself six-months (August to March) to wallow in depression. I even gained 15 pounds!
Don’t just be depressed, you need to have a plan. For me it was six months, October to March. I knew I needed time, and I gave myself the leeway to let myself rest and recover. Yet I didn’t completely let go. I made a home and focused on my family, I even painted a little bit. Four months into the depression I joined a gym and committed myself to going three days a week. In between, I slept a lot.
Currently I am recovering myself, picking myself up out of my depression, and trying to reevaluate my life…. i.e. Getting Back To God! I realised during the last few months that I had allowed the enemy to assault me with certain untruths:
– I had sinned beyond what God could use which made me useless to God
– God didn’t want me to be happy.
The enemy is crafty and he knew which buttons to push to keep me down. During my “Down Time” (thats what we’ll call this) I did manage to watch some youtube videos of some of my favourite Christian speakers which helped me tremendously gain perspective in the middle of it all. Lisa Bevere helped me most of all, (Seriously, I love her!)
“The attacks on your life have much more to do with who you might be in the future than who you have been in the past. The enemy fears you becoming who God has made you to be.”
Lisa Bevere (Desperation Youth Conference 2015)
2. Play to Your Strengths
I am a highly creative person who loves physical activity, and I can be incredibly organised. I love decorating for holidays, painting, friendships, taking walks. When my mood dips, I try to manage it by letting go of all but the essential responsibilities and embracing the things I am good at.
For Halloween I dresses as Maleficent and helped out with my daughter’s school Carnival. I think scared some children, but it was a great way for me to play to my strengths. I decorated and put on a lovely Christmas for the family, even painting a portrait for my MIL of her beloved dog.
As the winter started and the holiday’s ended, I found myself struggling to cope with my worsening depression and to find purpose in life. January and February are notoriously tough months, made even tougher by the Seattle rain and no mid-term break in February, a lovely break we had enjoyed in the UK. I had to pull deep into myself to move forward. I joined the gym and committed to 3 days a week, and I began to walk the neighbours dog while he was at work. I let the house collapse in on itself a bit and shopped Goodwill to accommodate my increasing waistline! Sometimes you literally have to let it go!
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”