Coming Clean...Depression, Anxiety, and Life
Coming clean... I have been through hell and back and tried to hide that from the rest of the world. I felt like in my weakness the fact that I could hold it together as a picture perfect mask for everyone to see showed strength. I felt like people needed to see hope and if they found out the truth about me and my struggles, my family, my marriage, or my hell it would cause them to lose hope or faith in God, in humanity, in life, and love. In case you don't know that's a lot of weight bear! Did anyone ever say I had to do this? No. Did it just become a part of the fabric of my being? Yes. My ability to remain strong publicly and a mess privately became as natural as breathing. Sometimes it was easier than others to hide. Sometimes very successful, sometimes my mess would be completely transparent....especially when you lose a lot of weight over a very short period of time and get extremely ill. There's no hiding that.
My ability to remain strong publicly and a mess privately became as natural as breathing.
The verse "They overcame by the blood of the lamb and the word of their testimony" was almost crippling to me because I felt like my testimony was mine and sharing it meant people could use it and twist it how they wanted to. Dealing with backstabbing people and disappointment had taught me "the more that you share the more that will backfire on you and the closer you let people get to you the more ammunition you give them to blow you up later." It was my story and mine only to protect. A lot of people feed like piranhas on good juicy gossip, they love to watch a person fall or fail (even if they don't say it out loud their insides get excited.) To see a respected Christian make stupid sinful mistakes is almost like a sport they can enjoy for their own entertainment because somehow it makes them feel better about themselves. I refused to give them the satisfaction of knowing anything I have been through. Therefore I would protect my world and I would protect my misery and pain from the gossip and piranhas. I would be told "your story can help so many people" and I would think "it's not my job to help people anymore" I've been burnt too many times trying to help people. They are on their own. In having this thinking I was not only depriving myself of the love, support, and help that comes from friends and family but I was also depriving my insides of freedom. Carrying around this extra weight of "secret" pain became debilitating. Mustering up the pep talk to find a smile was becoming more and more difficult. I had been through this before. I had become fed up and ready to give up on myself and life in general. But when you have created this "world" of pressure for yourself giving up is more failure that you can not handle. So rather than dealing with all the many feelings of anger, resentment, bitterness, hurt, betrayal, lies, confusion, hopelessness, and pain I decided to bury it deeper. Suck it up. Put on a bigger smile, a happier face and create a place that I could freely be this "person" I felt God and people needed me to be and eventually all that other stuff would go away on its own... That didn't work and now I have buried it all so very deep and hard there is no more room to press it down -even worse than the first few times I tried to before. It is now breaking me down in a way I can not describe and I feel like there is freedom in embracing -who I am and what I have been through. I feel that if I can release this burden and image of strength that I have portrayed I can finally breathe. Really breathe. I can stop feeling like a fraud when I pull up to a drive thru, know the cashier and we exchange friendly happy "hellos" when inside I just wish I could hit a brick wall and die. I can stop with the "haha yeah it's all great, I'm so happy" act and this is me saying everything is not great. I'm not ok. I'm not fine this time. When someone says complimentary like "I just love you, you are so great!" I cringe. No I'm not. I'm really not. You just don't know me and if you did you wouldn't think that. The truth is they probably still would love me the same and maybe respect and understand me more if I let them in a little ... Or they may not and they may just go around like the backstabbing, untrustworthy people I have become accustomed to.... Either way carrying it around anymore is not an option ....
I feel that if I can release this burden and image of strength that I have portrayed I can finally breathe. Really breathe.
So this is me coming clean. Most of your assumptions about me and my life and personality are probably not totally accurate-some of it is -some of it is not as it seems ...you may be shocked, you may not care, you may feel like you already know everything I'm about to share. The thing is I'm ok with whatever you feel. I'm not the only one in the world who has fought thru this junk and I will either live or die, but I refuse to die not trying to live.
I will either live or die, but I refuse to die not trying to live.
I seriously battle depression and anxiety. I'm not fully diagnosed, but Drs are thinking I could be dealing with bipolar disorder. I "battle" it all, meaning I fight it. I don't like accepting or admitting it. I never wanted that label of "a weak, sad mess" which is how I saw it or admit to mental health problems. But after years of dealing with this I realize you can not fight an enemy you won't recognize the existence of. This is very, very real and has been a humongous factor in my life for a good long while now. It has been stealing my joy, my time, my laughter, my memories, my life. It has exhausted me. I'm really not a happy, hyper person all the time like people assume. I'm hyper a lot of the time, but not in a happy sort of way. I get down, waaay down. I'm learning to deal with things better, but it's a daily battle and struggle and the people closest to me often have their hands full dealing with me. I have questioned the existence of God. I have questioned his love. I have questioned his faithfulness and his word to be true. I have wondered why I must exist. Why anyone must exist. I have wanted to die many, many times and come closer than I care to admit. "A permanent fix for a temporary problem" I would remind myself.... But still I'd feel what is the point of life. Hopeless completely hopeless, surrounded by a perfect happy life. I feel guilty for feeling like I do. I know many, many people would love my life. I truly don't deserve it and there have been many moments I felt like those same people can have it because it's too much for me to handle and I don't want it. That brings on great shame in knowing the complete gratitude I should have is missing. However the heaviness of maintaining this "life" and myself is no small thing and the amount of pressure I put on myself to "handle things better" and "choose to be happy" and "find my gratitude" is huge and when I fail, and I fail often, I am condemned once again for not feeling like I "should" feel. The "right" way to feel. ......I hate feelings and I don't know why they must exist. They are a nuisance and cause me many problems! Therefore my goal most days is to block out all feelings. Good or bad just stay away! Healthy perspective right?!
When I fail, and I fail often, I am condemned once again for not feeling like I "should" feel... the "right" way to feel.
My marriage of 16 years has been beautiful and great and also absolutely terrible and drug through the pits of hell more so than the average couple who "just can't get along." We have seen our share of failure and pain and we have seen God restore life again. Only by the grace of God and a husband that loves me more than I can understand has it withstood the firestorms we have faced. The big, happy family most people see has been a big miserable awful family a lot of the time, but we have seen the hand of God turn it around more than once. I love Jesus, but have had a hard time loving the "church." Growing up in ministry I have watched my parents sacrifice their lives to help and serve people. Year after year you see them drop everything to help walk someone through whatever mess they got themselves into only to have them turn around, tear down, rip apart and spread lie after lie about the very people who were loving them thru their darkest time. We lived under a microscope where everything we did or didn't do was a reflection on our parents, God and the church. Whether it's was good or bad. True or untrue. Once someone literally left the church because they didn't get full disclosure on my medical issues and mistook me for someone else at a place they disapproved of. Really?! I missed the part where as a ministers daughter and worship leader I was somehow running for president and had to release my medical records, tax history, full schedule, and answer to your every whim of what you want to know about me. What is really the truth about these feelings? "God. Is. Not. People. And People. Are. Not. God." The behavior of man is not a reflection of Gods heart for me or for anyone. Whatever they choose to do and say is between them and God, the same goes for me. God is faithful. He does not betray. He is trustworthy. He is love. He does not back stab. He does not hurt. He does not abandon. He heals. He restores. He convicts, but he does not condemn. I answer to Him. I serve Him. I look to Him. I must keep man and God separate and don't confuse the heart of one as the heart of the other............to be fair there have been a lot of amazing church people that are kind, strong, faithful, and have loved us fiercely no matter what. Those people carry the heart of the Father. Those people know His love and they show it. There are not many of those people.
God is not people and people are not God. I must keep man and God separate and don't confuse the heart of one as the heart of the other.
The other issue in dealing with the church world and the open discussion of depression, anxiety and pain is the mix of Bible truth and physical truth. "By his stripes we were healed" is the Word and yes, depression and anxiety come straight from the pits of hell, but by dismissing the reality of the terrifying "lows" this condition can create we shut down the desperate need for help the people suffering from it must have. We unknowingly ignore the pain and encourage the feeling to cover it up as if it is shameful to be "down." Similarly condemning a cancer patient to skip radiation or a knee injury to skip physical therapy in the name of "not receiving it by faith" is wreck less thinking. When I reached my very end God used medicine to help me survive and get better. Unfortunately some of the dangerous opinions from a "Christian perspective" were said to me, but thankfully not by everyone and combining the Word, prayer, faith, counseling and yes medicine I was able to get my life back instead of die which was what almost happened. Don't be afraid to get help. It's not shameful. It's not weakness. It takes a whole lot more faith and strength to admit it, own it and walk through it than it does to sit there and lose your life in it.
It takes a whole lot more faith and strength to admit it, own it, and walk through it than it does to sit there and lose your life in it.
On a different note....
More things you might not know about me ...
I could live off pizza, shrimp, steak, and Kraft macaroni and cheese the rest of my life. I like funny movies. I hate scary movies. I love laying out in the sun. I despise that it gives you skin cancer and wrinkles. I'm that girl that is fascinated by the stars. I love looking at the moon. I wanted to be a weather girl or a lawyer when I was little- became neither. I really, really like shoes and cheap clothes. Kohls is my favorite. I have had a tonsillectomy, appendectomy, hysterectomy, and 3 C-sections. Born and raised a Florida State Seminole. Football is my favorite. I CANT stand the sound of brushing teeth. It was one of the very huge fights early in our marriage. My obsession of not wasting water goes away when I must drown out that God awful noise..... It's a true miracle I've never killed anyone over the sound of chewing or smacking food also... Whew. That one is bad. I did a semester of cosmetology school but dropped out mostly because I hate feet and they made us do pedicures ... I like hair- not feet. I was a wedding planner for a while. All of my pregnancies were AWFUL. My 3 kids are great though..... Ok, I feel much better now. Thanks for letting me get all that off my chest. Maybe it helps you, but either way it helped me. Much love💗