I am trusting you guys with this very private information because I know I'm not the only one. I'm writing about my personal pain in hopes that it might make some of you feel less alone or less like a anomaly or maybe even less like a crummy person/Christian/whatever.
I braved up to share this because I believe it's time we stopped making people who battle mental issues feel like they have to hide their pain. This is true for those who battle mild or major, frequent or occasional struggles from all ends of a laundry list of mental health issues.
Also, I wanted to stand up by saying that we need to stop making it worse by blaming the person who's battling. We do this by:
- telling them it's because they... (are doing too much, have too much on their plate, don't get enough rest), and/or
- telling them that if they "just trust in God more it will go away."
And because of this, most of us who could probably use someone to lean on choose instead to keep our struggles quiet. We suffer alone because we fear not being understood.
I am guilty of being the kind of friend who tries to help by solving the problem. I have more than once tried to help people see the bright side, tried to look around to see what the cause is, tried to push out scripture like I was writing a prescription for aspirin. I am so sorry to those I wounded with my good intentions. It's hard to understand when other people are fighting a problem that seems so easy to fix- like depression (just cheer up! count your blessings!) or anxiety (calm down! stop being an overachiever!) or eating disorders (just eat! you look fine!). But when you're in the middle of it , it's just not that easy. Sometimes, the kinder thing to do is not try to fix, and just try to love.
I'm even more guilty of being the girl who struggles and hides it. I fear that you won't be able to take me seriously if you know that today I sat completely still in complete terror of random failure for over an hour. I don't mean to hide or be deceptive- As a matter of fact, I had a delightful breakfast this morning with a dear friend and I felt fantastic. I had a quick conversation with a few friends planning an upcoming event and I was genuinely excited. But this afternoon, when it hit me from out of the blue and I just burst out in fear and was unable to move, I have to admit that when I got a text from a friend needing to borrow something, I just said "no problem, come on over and get it." Because I didn't want to deal with the fallout of saying "I'm sorry, I am in the middle of a panic attack and I think that I am going to die in a couple of minutes." And I knew it would pass. It always does. And it did (kinda). But then I felt like a fraud for not being real.
So, I decided at the end of my fear-fest to PUNCH FEAR IN THE FACE. I started a Facebook post which got too long, so I moved over here to do this properly- to suck it up buttercup, and speak up and be super real and tell my story. And by this, I hope to say to my friends who have been nodding their heads up and down the whole time you've been reading this rant that you are not alone. I get it. This is super hard. It stinks, but the truth is that Jesus loves us. I don't want to put words in His mouth, but I am pretty sure he doesn't see us as "terrible Christians."
Love to all of you.
Being broken is not something to be ashamed of. We're all broken in some way.There is work we can do to try to fix it it (therapies, friends, meds when necessary), and there is absolutely value in trusting that God will help us and seeking comfort in prayer and reading of the Word (and I believe we can trust that God will show up!), but it still is hard, and sometimes the fix doesn't come fast. And sometimes a fix to our brokenness doesn't come at all- but that doesn't mean we're doing something wrong. We are still loved fiercely by our God who hears our prayers. Just ask Paul. Ask Job. Ask me.
Love to all of you.
ps: another confession: I am afraid that by saying this, people are not going to believe me when I say I'm fine. I hope that we can move past that, friends. I really do.