This is part two of a three-part series on depression. If you missed part one, start there.
Early on, I needed to tell someone what was happening with me. The label of depression felt like a weight around my neck, and if I thought if I could share with one person, the weight would lighten just a bit. I decided on the friend, practiced the conversation, even deciding to use the word depression and everything. Still, the idea of having an actual talk about depression with someone felt terrifying.
But, I mustered the courage and decided to have a conversation with someone about my issues. You know those creepy jack-in-the-boxes in a scary movie that won’t quit popping out at someone and laughing? Unfortunately, that’s what the conversation was like. I shared my heart, and the jack-in-the-box popped out pummeling me with gems like: if I prayed harder, I wouldn’t have any problems; I was being dramatic; and everybody has bad days. I basically melted into my chair, oozed across the floor, and got away from that conversation asap.
Lesson learned: choose who you share your heart with carefully. Ask God who to talk with—people who will honor and love you. He’ll bring people into your life to care for you. And realize, they’re not God’s final word for you. Keep talking even if you have one bad experience. Persevere and find someone who will listen and encourage, not only spew platitudes. And remember, don’t throw out the baby with the bath water. Some of the conversations that meant the most to me were the ones that lovingly challenged my ways of thinking.
You may be thinking, “That’s great for you, but I’ve got no one. So, what about me?” Oh, friend. I’ve been there. It’s the worst to feel like you’re all alone. It’s like you’re an extra in the movie of your own life … you feel you just don’t matter. I remember telling my counselor I had no one to talk to, no one who wanted to hear about me. But there’s a difference between being alone and feeling alone.
I felt alone, and I was keeping people out of my life. Partially, because of my illness, but partially because I was ashamed and scared to let people in. So, I chose to keep people at arm’s length.
Maybe you are alone. Not just feeling it, but you literally have no one. The incredible news is that you’re reading this post. And now you know someone who knows what it’s like to hurt like you hurt (me!), and cares for you (me again!). Honestly, there’s an entire church full of people behind this post who care for you and want you to find friendship and life through Christ.
God loves you so much He’s pursuing you through a blog. Let Him in. Ask Him to show you how to open up to others. It may be awkward, a bit uncomfortable, but what if you find life, not just existence?
Remember earlier how I told my counselor I felt I had no one? We were looking back on my journey (I’m still in it, just on a different page), and she said, “Jess, you came here feeling so alone. And when I asked you who you have in your life now, you gave me a paragraph of people without even thinking!”
I’m not healed of depression. Maybe someday, but I don’t focus on someday, I focus on now. And now I know I’m not alone. I’m surrounded by a God and people who love me. It’s like that feeling of someone grabbing your hand and keeping you from falling. You may still bump the ground, but you’re okay. That’s what it means to live life with others. In part three, we’ll turn the focus to you!
So be content with who you are, and don’t put on airs. God’s strong hand is on you; he’ll promote you at the right time. Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you. 1 Peter 5:6-7 MSG