Anger & Grace

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I like to say that I’ve made peace with God and with my illnesses.  And that’s mostly true. Mostly. But mostly still means there are days or seasons where I find myself without that peace.  Where instead. . . I find myself quite angry.

Angry that this is the lot I was dealt, angry that no matter what I do good, or right, no matter how many good days I string together, there is still a dark and broken part of me that lingers.  Angry that no matter how I eat or exercise or pray or talk or medicate . . .occasionally the twisty night rises up in me again, and I doubt myself, my purpose, my friends. . .and my God.

Being honest about my illness, means being honest about the small victories and the ways that I’ve made progress and the hope that I’ve found, and it also means being honest about some of the sideways realities of that illness.

Like Anger.

Depression and anxiety make me angry.

When I think about what my life could have been, what I could have done, what I could have accomplished. . . when I think about how its forced me to miss out – on events, on daily happiness, on friendships.  Well – some days “angry” doesn’t go quite far enough.

(I’m reading this and it sounds very whiny, even to me. )

And yet – it’s the complete truth for how I can spiral into a storm of rage, feeling that my life is quite unfair, that God slighted me by assigning me this illness, and that everything has gone wrong because of it.

  • Without my anxiety I could have gone farther in my career. Which would have meant a more secure financial outlook for my family.  Which might have meant better college opportunities for my children, a better life for my grandchildren. Which might have. .. which might have. . . .
  • Without my depression I would have more energy.  Energy for spending time with my kids, for working out more, for house projects, for life.  Which would have meant happier kids, a healthier and more capable body, a house that is more in line with what I had hoped, a husband who has enjoyed life with a better wife.

Its quite easy actually, to fall into the trap of anger.

It’s a bit of a process.  But it’s a fast and ridiculous process of spiraling down to where I’m angry at everyone and everything.  Including God.

I found my way here lately.  There are a variety of reasons that might have caused this particular dive, but they really are less important than the result.

So. Ridiculously.  Angry.

In the midst of this angry season, in the part where I’m making lists of all the ways that my life has turned out “wrong”, I queued up the most recent sermon from our church to listen to before small group. . .and apparently our church started a new series.  That made me want to scream.  I’m not entirely sure where the series is going, so this is not an commentary on the series as a whole – but the first sermon mentioned Paul’s “thorn” and how he called out to God but God didn’t remove it.  The sermon talked about how we are a Wonder – each of us, individually – despite our issues and problems and disappointments. . . we are a Wonder.

And really, in the midst of my already boiling anger – instead of being reassured, I just got angrier. I honestly tuned out most of the rest of the sermon as my inner dialogue took over.

I’m not a Wonder.  I’m a Bloody Mess.  And God made me this way, and WHY IN THE WORLD would He do that?  And THIS IS ALL HIS FAULT. 

My mind was churning with thoughts that were practically toddler-esque.

And right this second, I can’t tell you that I’m feeling much better.

Because if it’s a fast and furious process to get angry about my mental illness. . . its followed by a slow and tortuous process of digging my way out.

Of reminding myself that grace has covered me a million times before, and that it will cover me again.

That I can be angry at God – for my illness, for not healing me, for making me walk through this again and again.  And that He is a big God, and He can handle it.  He can handle my anger, my questions, my moments of wavering faith.

And that He will find me again, He will meet me in the anger and cover me with grace.  It will still be a slow process to come out of the darkness, and it won’t be easy or straight.  But He will be there with me.  With sufficient grace to see me through to the other side.

I wish that it was a tidal wave of grace to flood my mind and soul and carry me quickly back to my peaceful place.  I promise my husband and family wish the same.

I wish that it was healing and beauty and light.  And so far. . . it isn’t.  I’m better than I was – so much better,  but not healed.

But it is enough.  Sufficient grace for me, in the moment, for today.

And it will see me through until tomorrow, where He will be, with new and sufficient grace for tomorrow as well.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” –   2 Corinthians 12:9

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