This is a hard thing to say.
People tend to hide the less glamorous aspects of their true selves, I think — things that we might feel scared of, or ashamed of. Things that, when we are suffering under the weight of them, seem like no one else in the world could possibly know the weight or the depth of the darkness. Like depression. Like anxiety. After all, I live a blessed life. Super hot, loving husband, three awesome kids, a job I’m passionate about, decent physical health. I have no right to feel down, to feel worried. These emotions occasionally plague me without reason, and for a long time I was embarrassed to admit that I felt them. I “brave faced” it. I played the part of the happy momma because that is what I thought was expected of me. I didn’t want to seem ungrateful for the wonderful life I had, and I didn’t want people to think I was crazy or broken. And I didn’t want to make any changes because that meant admitting that something really wasn’t right.
But it wasn’t.
Eventually I needed to reach out for help, and it was then that I realized I was absolutely not alone. Talking about it with people I trust sucked the power out of it, made me realize that there are so many others who suffer quietly. Woman after woman after woman told me that they had struggled with similar issues at one point or another during their life, especially after becoming a mother. I believe that the more we speak about it, the less isolated people will feel in their fear and their unmarked sadness, and that the more we share the burden, the lighter it will be for each of us. Don’t be scared or ashamed. It’s hard; I know. But speak! Speak, and the darkness will cower.
I’d been a stay-at-home mom for the last ten years, and while I would make that choice again, I would do a better job taking care of myself during that period of time. I have definitely been isolated, but now, the season is changing. I am remembering life.
The kids are older, and we are meeting families through school and in the neighborhood. I have a part time job with wonderful people who care fiercely about what we do. I have joined a MOPS group, and this whole world of brave, beautiful women who are there to connect has opened up to me. I am amazed how the same we all are. How different, but how the same. In it together.
I could spend time explaining what depression and anxiety feel like, but I don’t want to. (Maybe another day.) Right now I’m just remembering life. Praise God, I feel like me! I feel excited for the next thing, the next trip, the next challenge. Things still scare me, for sure. My job terrifies me, but I do it anyway, and I’m good at it! Traveling scares me. But I do it anyway because there’s this whole big world I haven’t seen, and I don’t want these ugly chains confining me to a small life.
I don’t feel this brave every day. If you don’t feel brave today, remember this: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:6-7) Pray for me, so I remember it tomorrow.
This isn’t really what I set out to write today. But I haven’t written in a long time, and so this is something.
Speak. Reach out. Be blessed.