mental health

Breathe

Last month I had a scary couple of weeks. It started one day when my breathing felt a little more difficult than usual and progressed into me laboring for every breath. It would come and go throughout the day, but at it worst, I honestly felt like I was suffocating. I used my inhaler and essential oils to no avail. One night, after having a Mommy/Daughter date with my 10-year-old, I drove home for an hour gasping for air. I was getting ready to head to the emergency room when I asked my husband for a priesthood blessing. He immediately agreed and placed his hands on my head. I quickly fell asleep and awoke the next morning with no symptoms. It was truly a miracle and I’ve never been so grateful for the priesthood.

Then, about a week ago, it all started again. Not as bad as before, but there were definitely times when I found myself desperate for more oxygen, physically positioning myself to take in more air as I strived to take in a deep breath. After only a few days, I asked for another blessing and the same miracle occurred. It’s obviously time to make a doctor’s appointment to see what it’s all about. This isn’t normal nor sustainable.

The thing is, I’m pretty sure this is all stressed-induced. The past year has been the hardest of my life. Two of my children struggled and the whole family felt it. I’ve dealt with depression since I was 16 and I’m sure, though I don’t have anxiety as a formal diagnosis, I experience highter levels of it than most people. Quite honestly, I’m a bit of a mess. Things that are easy for most people feel suffocating to me. Most of the time I feel like I’m drowing, gasping for emotional air. I fight to keep my head above water as I feel pulled under by the stress of my children’s special needs and the day-to-day of running my violin studio, writing, speaking, and taking care of my family.

As I think about how it all feels so overwhelming, I think of so many of you who are fighting battles of your own. You might feel lonely, forgotten or overwhelmed. Maybe your child or spouse has lost their faith and your heart is broken. Perhaps you’re dealing with divorce or death or illness or just so darn tired of having to be the strong one all the time. Just know that I hear you and I’m reaching out. It’s time to breathe.

Right now, for just 60 seconds, breathe. Allow yourself to take a moment for self care and slow down. Close your eyes, take deep breaths, and let your muscles relax. It’s not going to remove your trials or cure your heartache, but it will slow your heart and mind to a pace more accessible by the Spirit.

The Lord can’t reach you if you move too fast. His pace isn’t swift or hasty. He works carefully, placing each piece exactly where it needs to be— if we let Him. So, for just one minute, settle into the tempo of eternity. Remember that He’s got you— if only you’ll slow down enough to breathe it in.