A loving family, group of friends, and boyfriend. An amazing church family. Good grades at a school where I’m surrounded by professors and peers that seek God daily. (Finally) a roommate that’s willing to clean and take out trash every now and then. Heck, even this blog that God is using to reach people’s hearts in their most vulnerable moments.
All on paper my life was – is – the best it’s ever been, yet inside there was a hollow hurt that I could not seem to shake, a black smoke cloud that started in my heart, snuck up up up to my mind, and eventually spilled out in my actions and words.
I began to isolate myself. Instead of going to the school cafeteria with friends (we call it “the caf” here), I would eat alone in my room (I’ve never eaten so many lean cuisines in my life). Instead of making plans with my people on the weekends, I would get in my little blue car and drive home as soon as I could. The more I think about it, the more I wonder what I was hiding from. Shame? Embarrassment? The possibility of people misunderstanding me?
All I know is that I pushed back from my community when I needed them the most.
I felt alone – and sometimes still do – in my struggle with depression and anxiety. But how in the world were my people supposed to love me well if they had no idea the conditions in which they were loving me?
I know there are people who deal with what I deal with all around me, all around you, that are silent. I know it because for a while I was one of them.
If that’s you, if you’re struggling mentally and emotionally, please tell someone. This is not something you have to face alone. God has placed the people He’s placed around you to love you and fight with you. As someone who knows firsthand the feeling of isolation and shame, please hear me when I say it is freeing to tell a trusted loved one.
It is a sickness that is not easily understood, therefore causing much confusion and pain. You need your people and they need you to tell them so they can love you well.
+ + + +
I’m still learning and still making it through this day by day, but I can tell you one thing.
it is well.
No matter my thoughts on a given day, no matter the condition of my mental health, no matter how much of a failure I feel and how hard it seems to keep pressing into Jesus, I know the amount of energy it takes to do so doesn’t touch a morsel of the energy God has in loving me.
Even so, it is well with my soul.
Sing it with me?
When peace like a river attendeth my way
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say
It is well, it is well with my soul
“Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18