Being Vulnerable

I’m going to be a bit vulnerable right now.  Some of you may take offense.  Some of you may scoff.  Some of you won’t believe it.  Some of you may disregard it.

But some of you may find at least a sliver of hope in what I am about to say.  Even more important will be those of you who decide to do something about it.  I am speaking to you.

Another young woman in our area committed suicide a couple of days ago.  I just watched a clip sponsored by a college where they talked about how many students on the average struggle with depression.  It does not take much to find many, many people in our circles who are struggling with this very real sickness.  In my own personal family, it afflicts almost half of my siblings and my husband’s siblings combined.

I am also part of a facebook group of those who are struggling.  And the theme there is just like it is in most other places:  “I’m sorry you’re struggling.  I know this really stinks.”  I have yet to hear in such circles anyone saying there is hope to overcome depression.  Instead, there seems to just be a heavy dread about having to deal with this for the rest of a lifetime.  We have a social contract to just agree with people who are struggling that yes, it hurts, it’s hard, and just hold on.

Frankly, I wish someone would have offered me the hope that depression could be overcome in most cases–that it wasn’t permanent.  I was convinced of the belief that it was permanent, that it was “my test.”  I may be unique in this, but I was tired of what depression was doing to me and to my family and so I was willing to step outside the social contracts and begin looking for answers on my own.
 
And…my mess became my message.  When I began this journey to see if there were more answers 6 years ago, I really did not know what I would find.  I really did not know if I would find a brick wall in the end which would mean a lifetime of antidepressants and their attendant side effects.

Instead what I found was freedom.  It took some time.  It took gut health and mind health.  It required persevering and changing.  I still work on being vulnerable–letting others know I struggle with something–I still work on changing stinky thinking.  But I no longer have depression or anxiety.  Having freedom from hopelessness cannot be described.  I well remember one dark day when I walked outside, feeling so incredibly hopeless and wondering, “Is this really going to plague me the rest of my life?  Do I really have to suffer through this?”

The answer in ensuing years was, “No. There are answers and there are people who are going to help you.”  I decided then to not allow my mental illness to make me a victim.

Too often I hear (verbal or nonverbal) from people struggling with mental illness is that they would rather be a victim.  It’s easier.  In their minds, it’s easier to take a pill, suffer through, and believe that either God is punishing them or this is one of their challenges in life and it’s just a matter of enduring.

I vehemently disagree!  God is not punishing you and you do not need this illness to prove you are good at enduring.  The world needs you to find healing so you can be a mouthpiece of hope to others!

We need to teach the children.  They are defenseless and helpless unless we teach them something else.  Too many have bought into the message that mental illness is permanent and too many are making it permanent.  We must recognize when people are hiding and offer hope and solutions.

Countless studies, work, and books are being published to show that depression and anxiety can be overcome.  I share many of them on this blog.  I continue to read and research it myself…and this is why I have paid more money than an advanced degree would cost to be mentored, coached, and to learn the skills myself to become a coach–so I can share with others like yourself.

So what is your choice?  Who are you? A victim or a victor?  Only YOU can decide.

It matters!

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