Have you ever had one of those days? Days that depression and anxiety seemed to loom over your head, settling over your heart like a cloud that won't lift? It can be hard to talk about this stuff honestly because a) we don't want to be a downer, b) we don't want to admit we're struggling and c) oftentimes those around us don't really want to hear it or we think they don't.
I was thinking of this today while I struggled. Publicly, I would only admit I needed a big hug. Privately, to a couple of close friends that texted me, I admitted that it felt like the wheels were coming off the train.....and it scared me.
I have struggled with depression a few times in the past ten or so years, usually following a difficult season of life or a traumatic event. At first I talked about it pretty openly, but after awhile, when it comes back, you think "Good grief. I'm tired of it. I'm sure everyone else is too. They're going to think I am totally weird. Or weak . (yes, that has happened to me and it makes it hard to share ever again) Honestly, I'm TIRED OF BEING REAL AND VULNERABLE."
And so we pretend.
The problem, as I am coming to see it, is that when we hide it from others we are often times living in denial with ourselves as well. And the truth is that I've been living in a bit of denial for the past two years.
And none of us gets well, moves forward, or heals fully while living in denial. And all of us, whether we will admit it or not, need healing from the hurts and disappointments of life.
One of my favorite verses on the topic of mental and emotional health comes from Psalm 51:6:, "Behold, you delight in truth in the inmost being and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart." You might understand it a little better if I were to remind you of the words of Jesus, "If you abide in my word, you are my disciples, and you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free." (John 8:31-32)
Healing and growth all starts with telling the truth. First of all to ourselves, which might just be the most difficult step.
And so, in hopes that it will encourage you to be truthful "in your inmost being" as well, I'll admit .......
- I am broken. There are places in my soul that the pain of life has left splintered, shattered and fearful. Even though I wish it were not so, I will not hide this anymore. Hiding and pretending only prolongs the pain.
- I cannot fix myself. I am tired of pretending I can. This is a lie from Satan himself!
- I have more questions than I have answers. Yeah, it's an uncomfortable place to be.
- I only have one answer - Jesus loves me and will never leave me. I'm gonna hold on to that and it might be all I have some days.
- I will not pretend any longer. I will resist the temptation to creatively rearrange how I choose to present myself and my life in order to to make myself seem more together, more complete, more healed, more popular, or more wise than I truly am. In other words, I'm not going to lie anymore....
- I need Jesus and I need you. We were not meant to walk alone. I can't do it by myself. Gloriously, neither can you. We were meant to walk together. Somehow, even the love of our broken selves manage to help heal one another. It's a miracle I am thankful for.
- I will seek help. I won't quit and give up. I won't let embarassment or pride get in my way. I will take care of myself, even when I feel weak for needing it.
I've rarely felt as bad as I have this week and in particular the last couple of nights and today. I felt hopeless, fearful, and completely undone - as if those deep places of brokenness were threatening to overwhelm me. I hate how this feels. I want to be whole. But I want to be real.
So tonight I'm telling the truth. What's true about you? How can I pray for you?
PS - If you have never struggled you might not understand all of what I've written - be thankful and ask God to help you be compassionate and loving anyway to those around you that have......