Please forgive the nature of this post. I’m genuinely trying to shy away from rants but I need some encouragement from my friends….
I began Confessions almost two years ago with the hope and desire to instill and inspire hope. It seems, though, that all I have done is create a perspective of me that one may call “weak.”
I’m finding that the more open I become about my struggles with depression and anxiety, the more I open myself to deeper pain. Rejection is only a moment away when discussing previous experiences. Apparently, there are those who think that depression and anxiety represent some kind of inherent, chronic weakness. I’m beginning to feel as if wearing a mask would do me a world of good.
Let’s just say that I’m sick and tired of putting my heart on the line only to hear in return “Well, your issues with depression and anxiety are a concern.”
Within the last year, I’ve been told, directly or indirectly, that my struggles need to be hidden.
“You shouldn’t talk about these things so openly.”
“It’s causing other people to worry and I just don’t want you to get a bad reputation.”
“We’re just not comfortable with someone who might kill himself.”
“Because of your anxiety and depression, you need someone who can always be pouring into you and I just can’t be that for you.”
Those are a few of the things that have taken up residency inside of my head these last few months. These are a few of the things that I’ve heard from individuals who are relatively close to me. My question is simply this:
What if they’re right?
Is it that I’m genuinely weak and always need someone to babysit me to make sure I’m “feeling” ok? Have I really given off that kind of an impression? Or maybe it’s not that you can’t “be that for me” but rather you’re just not willing to give at all?
I’m so tempted to believe that I haven’t created this atmosphere around me. I truly want to believe that this is just a general stigma that anyone too uninformed of such topics will randomly spew just to get out of the conversation.
Unfortunately, I’m struggling to believe that.
My friends, I’m genuinely at a loss in my brain right now. The words are there but I can’t put them together.
Should I have to live in fear that anytime I go on a date and mention depression I might get left?
Should I have to wear a mask as if to not make someone uncomfortable?
Should I silence my voice in order to better fit into societies expectations? The church’s expectations?
I’m not being dramatic here. I can’t handle this.
Does that make me weak? Does that warrant me needing someone to come along side of me and nurture me? Am I seriously of lesser value to you because I’ve seen the only version of hell I’ll ever see and by God’s grace lived to tell about it?
I tell my story and I’m honest with others because I want them to know that there’s strength to be found. I try to come from a place of wondering. I don’t have all of the answers. Why are you pretending that you do? Why cast me off or attribute lesser value to me because I portray myself as someone struggling?
Aren’t we all struggling?
Aren’t we all searching for the light of God and for answers in this crazy world?
I mean, if you have all of the answers then please, share them. If you’ve stared demons in the face and been able to walk away from it without scars I suppose you must be like God?
I’ve spent the last few years fighting inside of my heart. I’ve been battling my inner voices telling me that I’m weak, worthless and that I’ll never amount to anything. Go figure that as soon as I start making progress, the voices begin coming from external sources.
Are they right?
Should I pretend that I have everything figured out so that maybe someone will see me as worthy?
Should I not mention my depression and anxiety anymore so that I might be able to be perceived as strong?
Maybe if I wasn’t honest anymore I could actually be “successful” in the world’s eyes.
I thought that people in this world wanted someone to be honest? I thought we were tired of the disingenuous culture that we live in?
Oh, right. I forgot that we only like honesty when it makes us feel good inside.
Forgive me for being an inconvenience. Forgive me for trying to spread hope.
I’m not weak and I don’t care if you think otherwise. It’s not up to you to decide what I am or who I’m not. Your loss. Christ says I’m valuable and you know something?
His opinion is the only one that matters.