By Nicole Hilton, August 17th, 2020
Faith is feeling abandoned, but reaching up anyway.
I don’t think I’ve talked about it before on this blog, but I have a sleeping disorder. It started in 2018, when, for a whole week, I literally couldn’t sleep. I ended up in the psychiatric hospital and became a zombie, living in a perpetual death-like state where I couldn’t even muster the strength to close my jaw or blink. This was among the most horrific things I’ve been through, along with being in a padded cell for four days, breaking my back, and my childhood trauma. It created a new fear in me that outstrips all others—the fear of not sleeping.
They finally found some sleeping meds that worked—after 8 days without sleep. But, a year later in 2019, I overdosed on them when I tried to commit suicide for the third time. I was in a coma for a couple of days in the ICU, and after I woke up I ended up in the psychiatric hospital again (for the 11th time…). They had to change my sleeping meds, and finally (after a lot of stress and worry), we found the meds I’m currently on.
But this year, those meds stopped working by themselves—and I had to take Ambien to sleep. Then I got used to the Ambien—it didn’t put me under immediately any more, though I still need it. Much as I try, I can’t get off of these meds (for now). I’ve had a couple more 5 to 6 day stints of sleeplessness—one recently where I had all this subconscious fear push me to be constantly rocking back and forth or walking up and down stairs, for days at a time. I have ended up in the ER around four times in the past two months out of desperation for sleep. To be so exhausted you feel like you’re about to internally combust from lack of rest, but not be able to rest is the most unbearable thing in the world.
So, I’m facing this Goliath. I’ve had to face it every night when I lay down in bed. I have to do my best to keep from falling into the cycle of worry that I won’t sleep, which just creates, further, a lack of sleep.
In this constant struggle with quieting my fears every day, I’ve been hearing about dreams people have been having—dreams about an economic collapse that is purportedly going to happen in September.
Now, I’ve had too much experience with dreams and visions to write these off. All the signs I’ve been seeing are too coincidental to be a coincidence. And if these so-called “prophecies” are true, I’ve been worrying…what am I going to do without my meds? The prospect of going 8, 10, 20 days without sleep has been looming ahead of me like a black hole, sucking away any joy I feel in the present.
My mom says, don’t worry, have faith. The usual. And it never had any effect on me. I’d just try to put my worries out of my mind, or rationalize them. Surely the supply of medications won’t stop?
But tonight (and this is why I’m writing), I had a small glimpse of faith in my heart, something that started to transform my fear. I felt it deep down in my soul. This deep knowing said: I’ve been through the worst before, and I’ve made it. God is aware of me, and He is in the intimate details of my life. The day of miracles is not passed. I have mustered up a mustard seed’s worth of faith even during the most horrible suffering known to man-kind. And I can do it again if that is what’s required. During my greatest trials, I have had the faith required, and I have met God. The CORE of me—who my SPIRIT is—will NOT change. And no amount of suffering can change that.
I’m far from living and breathing this—having these truths become a part of me to the point where I’m fearless. Can you imagine walking through life completely fearless? Certain parts of me have experienced this for a few days to weeks at a time. I wonder, though…why can’t I feel that way now? Regardless of how far I have to go on this road to recovery, I had to write and acknowledge: I had a particle of faith tonight. And that’s the kind of faith that moves mountains.
So what are your fears? What threatens your peace? And how do you exercise faith to overcome that?
September 9th, 2020
I have an update. It’s been slowly growing, like a little sapling inside of me…but I no longer have this overwhelming sense of doom when I think of an economic collapse or my meds being taken away.
What helped that seed of faith to grow were, of course, the basics. I’m studying the scriptures everyday, I’m praying morning and night and any other time I want to feel connected, I’m receiving blessings (from a priesthood holder from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), and I’ve been going to Institute, which is like a Sunday School class during the middle of the week.
All of my sloppy attempts at learning have somehow congealed together to create the ah-ha moment I had today: faith isn’t the foolish path. It’s the wise one. And I need more faith. And this faith…it must be a choice! As soon as I realized that, it was like my core personality (the one who is always positive and spiritual and funny all of the time) met me halfway, and said, You’re getting there! You’re learning what I had to learn. And this new knowledge? It’s actually sweet. You can settle into it. To be a person of faith doesn’t mean you are going to be suffering day in and day out. It means you are going to have your feet planted on solid ground and hope in your heart no matter what happens to you. And what you suffer will actually be LESS, not more, than you would have without the faith.
These realizations are HUGE for someone who has been a victim of abuse from the dark side. We survivors have been groomed to believe that having faith in God is fruitless. But I—and my Core—are here to tell you: it’s not fruitless. It’s where the safety and hope are. It’s where the ability to weather the storm lies. It’s where God is, just waiting with outstretched arms. It all begins with faith.