Thursday, December 27, 2018

Into the Deep

I deal with pain and all kinds of frustrating symptoms since I had my tubal ligation surgery last January. Someday we hope to have it reversed but that’s expensive and very rarely covered by insurance so for now I just do my best to cope. All of my symptoms are a nuisance but the worst by far are the pain, and then the depression and anxiety that seem to go hand-in-hand.

I have a mild cramping feeling at all times. That just never goes away. If I lift anything heavier than 20-ish pounds, I feel intense pain and my lower abdomen immediately swells up and looks pregnant. There are days I never sit down because it just hurts too bad. I stand, walk, lie down, kneel in a chair, but never sit.

On those days that the pain is the worst, I find myself in a fog of anxiety and depression. I feel so down, so low, so stuck. I feel so panicked. I feel like I will never escape the pain, like I can’t bear the idea of another 40-60 years spent living like this, like I will surely either die from this or die trying to have it reversed. I am afraid to leave my house, afraid to try something new, afraid to keep doing what I’ve been doing. I am keenly aware that my symptoms have gotten worse and worse—regardless of how well I eat, how gentle I am with my body, how much I try to do to naturally mange it all—and I feel panicked at the prospect of my current symptoms becoming even worse as time goes on. I feel helpless and hopeless and miserable.

Even as I reread those words I just don’t feel like they come even close to conveying the sense of desperation I feel on my worst days.  

When I first requested a review copy of Into the Deep, my symptoms were minimal. Maybe minimal isn’t the word I would have used then, I suppose, but it’s definitely the word I would use now. I like reading other people’s stories, hearing about the ways God is moving in other people’s lives, and this book sounded like a good one. But it never showed up. Reviews were due and I still hadn’t received my copy so another was sent out… and that one didn’t show up either.

Weeks went by and my symptoms became unbearable. And then, on a particularly miserable day, the book showed up. It showed up with two other books I was excited about but I immediately dove into it any ways, simply because it sounded good. And y’all, it turned out to be delivered by God instead of USPS. It didn’t get lost. It didn’t get held up. It was held in the palm of his hand until it was the exact perfect time for him to slip it into our mailbox.

Lauren Gaskill has Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. Interestingly enough, one of Ryan’s family members has this very same connective tissue disease. In fact, one of our children had some unexplained health issues a few years ago and EDs became a concern since we knew it existed elsewhere in his family. The concern for that has passed now but I know quite a bit about EDs because of it and I was quite sensitive to Lauren Gaskill’s plight. Along with all the pain she faces on a daily basis, she also struggles with depression and anxiety. Oh, and she uses ocean/drowning metaphors much like yours truly.

I can’t even begin to explain how precious this book was to me in such a hard time in my life. I think it would be a good read any ways, but especially powerful for someone suffering from depression, anxiety, and/or chronic pain. I just can’t recommend it enough!

*I received a free copy of this book through Reading with Audra in exchange for an honest review.   

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