I’m Bailey, one of the Goby team members. One of the greatest honors I have is that I am Toby and Mika’s daughter, the founders of Goby. My married last name is Garner but I’ll always be Bailey Slough at heart so it’s pretty fun that I get to be apart of “Meet the Sloughs” this month on the blog. Y’all met my mom last week on the podcast and on the blog – is she not the best? She’s a legit superstar in my eyes and if you have a spouse or partner who struggles with their mental health, her words will be super important for you to hear/read.
I just turned 35 not long ago and my husband and I have three young kids. As we raise these wild kiddos, I often reflect on my own childhood. My dad began struggling with panic and axiety when I was young- 6 or 7 years old. And when I think of growing up and the things I remember about my Dad I remember things like..
-shooting hoops with him outside in the driveway
-watching him baptize friends and family at our church
-fishing with him at a friend’s pond
-riding four wheelers with him on our property
-eating homemade donuts he decided to make on christmas morning
-listening to him preach and hoping he didn’t call me out in front of everyone for consistently whispering to my friends sitting next to me
But you know what I don’t remember from when I was young?
My Dad having panic attacks.
Honestly, I don’t remember my dad struggling at all. It wasn’t until I got older that I learned about his ongoing battle with anxiety. I was young and I think that had something to do with it. But also, I know it was because my Dad fought to get healthy and he never gave up. Not only that, he had my mom who was constantly supporting him. Mom filled the gaps when Dad was having hard days.
As I got older, I would hear him talk from stage about his mental wellness journey. I never felt shame and embarassment, I always felt proud. I was proud of him for being a man of God who wasn’t afraid to share the hard things. Honestly, watching him be a “me too” kind of guy made me want to be a “me too” kind of girl.
I would hear him share about the 40 I Ams and how worship music calmed his mind and you know what? To this day, those are two things I turn to first when the lies begin to speak louder than the truth.
And guess what? When I am in a downward spiral of unhealthy thoughts who do you think I call? My Dad. Because I know he understands. Who can read me like an open book even when I am trying to hide my own pain and feelings of overwhelm? My Dad. Because he has been there too.
If I could heal my Dad of his anxiety, I totally would. But also, I believe whole heartedly that God has used the hard things in my Dad’s life to connect his heart with mine in ways it may not have happened otherwise. He has taught me so much about what a real relationship with God looks like. From watching my Dad’s life, I have learned how to run towards God in the middle of my problems instead of wondering where He is.
So a few things I leave with you today that Dad has taught me…
You are never the only one.
It’s going to be okay.
Don’t run from your pain, tell someone about it.
God will never leave you.
I am beyond honored to get to share the message of Goby alongside my family. I have watched the impact it’s made on my own kids and I’m grateful to have the opportunity to help others along the way.
Whether you’re a parent or you have a parent who struggles, I hope our story encourages you along your journey. Keep swimming, my friend.
PS! Here are a few of my favorite tools– I think you will like them just as much as I do!