Tuesday, July 24, 2012

the past 9 months (but who's counting)

"In your anger, do not sin" (Eph 4:26) - I don't think the bible says to not be angry, rather to not sin in it and to "not be quick to anger" (James 1:19). For the last 10 months, it's been really hard to consider blogging. I didn't want to blog about the hard realities we were facing, so then I had trouble blogging about fun things or good or silly times, it just felt phony, like I wasn't being real about everything. So I vetoed blogging about anything, not ready to face blogging about our trial.

We decided to have a second child last summer, we both wanted a second child, and I felt that God gave me that desire at that particular time (before the summer I was either against it or on the fence til that point). Didn't take much and we were expecting baby #2. ;).

In September, I would have been 8 weeks along, Quinn had a very minor vehicle accident, but what resulted from that, in his mind, has changed our lives. Quinn has always had OCD tendencies, double checking, perfectionism, control. With that small traffic accident, a minor worry, sparked a huge loss of control in his mind. He started worrying about what could come of it, 'what ifs' took hold and Quinn started realizing how much he had to lose if he ever did something so wrong that could take him away, from what meant most to him: his family.  Not that he ever would with that minor traffic occurrence, but Quinn's mind took over and started worrying endlessly about it. He reasoned with me and a couple other people, hoping reassurances would ease his worry. Weeks went by and nothing came of it, as expected by me anyway. But by then Quinn's mind was in a constant state of fear and worry. Bad thoughts plagued him. Mid- October, we told our bible study group to pray for us, this hard stuff was really encompassing our life. We did have some good times, but for Quinn, he would have to work really hard just to try to have a good time. We try to keep life as normal as possible for Caden. My pregnancy went really well, despite everything that was required of me, by the grace of God.
By the end of October things were getting really tough and we asked our Pastor for help. He suggested a counselor. We met with him once a week.  At the end of Nov, it got really hard for Quinn, his mind just pounded him with worry that was so much to bear, he took over a week off work and had counseling several times in that week to help him get back on his feet. Quinn went back to work. I would be on the phone with Quinn every drive to reassure him his driving was ok. We continued with counseling, our counselor was trying to get to the root cause of Quinn's pain. He didn't pronounce Quinn with OCD at the time, but mentioned the tendencies were there. In hindsight, courtesy of the counselor, I realized how much I should have recognized in our dating relationship. Why I was blinded by love, only God knows and I believe was part of His purpose and plan. Some of our counseling sessions were hard to take.
In mid-Feb, Quinn stopped driving, the driving was what made up most of his bad thoughts, what ifs related to accidents. So if he stopped driving for a period of time, he thought they might cease, our counselor saw it as ok to do as well. So, Caden and I would drive with Quinn to work and go pick him up at end of day. The bad thoughts didn't stop, they just changed, now it was 'what-ifs' about people. Our Pastor recommended seeing a psychiatrist, he gave us a name of one he knew had helped one of his family members in similar circumstances. We saw our family dr for a referral, in the mean time, she put Quinn on anti-depressant, Quinn wasn't depressed, but she thought this might ease his anxiety some. We didnt hear from the psychiatrist. At the end of February, one day at work, Quinn asked his Dad to meet him for lunch, he was having a hard time at work with what he was dealing with. At lunch, Quinn was so distraught and in such a bad state, Quinn's Dad took action. Quinn's Mom had heard of a Dr at Victoria Hospital that might be good. He took Quinn to the hospital, I met them there. Quinn had to go through emergency, but the dr was upstairs so we would get to see him that day. Quinn explained everything, thinking this would result in him having to be admitted to psych ward (you can imagine with how psych wards appear on tv, what kind of worries this brought him). After Quinn explained, the dr was quick to pinpoint OCD. It was nothing more than Intrusive Thoughts, a part of OCD. Dr said, Quinn your fine, you don't want those thoughts, but your mind is set to send them to you, obsessively, so the thoughts seem real. Also, something to do with serotonin levels in the brain. Which invokes a lot of fear, anxiety and compulsions. He took Quinn off the other meds prescribed by our family dr and put him on stuff more specific to the disorder. With increase in dosages over several months. A few weeks later we felt we should continue counseling, weekly. Leading up to Grace' birth, Quinn's Dad quit his job (not on account of Quinn, to look for something else), so that allowed him to be around to pick Quinn up from work, and I would still drive in the morning. I knew it would be tough after Grace' birth, nothing could prepare us for it, we had to trust God...
Grace was born and Quinn took a week off, which was a good week - when Quinn is at home, he is much more settled, less things come up that can cause obsessive thoughts. The week he went back to work was hard. Quinn calls me for reassurances throughout the day, sometimes i was on the phone totals of 2 hours thru Quinns workday and with having a newborn and a toddler, time is the last thing I had. Some of my own choices during the first few weeks, led me to not getting as much rest as I should have, not getting to know Grace very well. Very slow and long recovery from childbirth. These last 2.5 months since Grace' birth have been bittersweet, Grace is such a sweet addition to our family, but the timing has tested us by no compare to any other time in our relationship or my entire life.

Quinn might soon be going off his medication on recommendation from our counsellor (with the Dr's direction), he believes it's more of a crutch, as is the label 'OCD' (did u know some areas of the world, they don't have all these labels of mind issues, it comes down to what experiences have brought you to this point and working through them). The brain is a complex fragile organ and the mind likewise. Quinn is working on re-programming his mind, setting up a belief system as a solid foundation he can build from. We are still a long ways from freedom, but I'm starting to see life on the other side. It's been very challenging for me to accept long-term 'illness' - if you will. I've learned a lot about the mind, and am much more aware of how much people in this world deal with, it might not be true when people tell you they are 'fine' or 'good'. People require a lot of gentleness. God has taught me a lot through all of this and there is much more He wants me to know about Him and His people. I struggle a lot with empathy, my selfish heart battles for itself, a lot.

A month ago we started going through a 9 week study with our church's youth pastor and his wife. We're actually guinea pigs, as he wants to potentially put this program in our church. Anyway, its revealed a lot about me, my current struggles, bitterness, anger, resentment. It also opens up wounds from your childhood, life experiences that make up who I am today. It reveals who God is, how God can bring healing to our lives. It's intense, but overall it promises to bring healing to our lives and a better understanding of how to work through what may come up in life, if we are committed.
We've had a lot of people praying for us over the course of 10 months and God has revealed so much to us in this time, we've seen Him in many different ways, life is not coincidental. God is definitely in the valley and walking ahead of us, this is not beyond Him.

Daily praying and Bible reading make a lot of difference. Today I read these passages:
“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. (Ephesians 4:26, 27 NIV84)
Going through trial, has made me see how it can either be used for God's glory or evil. I have too often given leverage or a foothold to the devil.

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32 NIV84)
Amen. Kindness and compassion come hard in the midst of OCD challenges, my simple mind thinks anger, judging and blame would be more effective than being gentle. Where do I get off? There are 4 fingers pointing back at my response to circumstance.
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. (Proverbs 15:1 NIV84)
Why do I think at times responding harshly to Quinn's ask for help will produce good? When I respond harshly, Quinn is hurt, and I just become more angry, and embittered. Quinn didn't ask for this stuff and although he's trying to overcome, it's not as easy as it sounds. The psych dr told us, we can't expect to overcome for a year since beginning treatment. (that's a lot of time for me to be refined by fire)...
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith–of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. (1 Peter 1:6, 7 NIV84)

Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. (Psalm 37:5, 6 NIV84)
I have to commit even the hard moments to God. The good moments too, it's all a part of His call on my life to bring glory to Him.

Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil. (Psalm 37:8 NIV84)
Yep, I'm often quick to anger. Why should my anger result in 'wrath of Lyla' to those closest to me. I need to turn the tide. Since Grace was born, it's been the hardest time for me, I am more often angry at Quinn than loving. I sometimes think, 'i should just hug Quinn', but then my defences get in the way.
Back in the fall, I prayed these issues Quinn was facing wouldn't affect our relationship. Well, it did, and how it affected my response is of my own accord. Choices I made, but God can redeem my mistakes for good. Showing Christlike love to Quinn and others is my goal...
One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:28-31 NIV84)

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