Before I say what I’m about to say, I’ll first warn you that this post is about to get very deep. I’m going to be talking about mental health issues. If that’s not the sort of thing you want to read tonight, or if you think it will trigger you or put you in a sad mood, please don’t read it. I don’t want anyone leaving my posts feeling sad or depressed – that is the exact opposite of my intentions.
Anyone who knows me on any sort of personal level knows that I struggle deeply with things such as anxiety and depression. I’m not ashamed or afraid to talk about it, since it is part of my story. However, I’ve never been quite as vulnerable with it as what I’m about to be. I think, to an extent, part of me is embarrassed to show too much weakness. I don’t want anyone feeling sorry for me, or taking pity on me, or (worst of all) thinking less of me. Unfortunately, I am a people pleaser and that plays an extra large role in the things I say, do, and share with others.
Tonight, I’m stepping out of my comfort zone because I feel like God’s asking me to, and because His strengths are made perfect in our weaknesses. Allow me to explain:
These past few weeks for me mentally have been tough. I don’t know why – there hasn’t been a major change in my life, no one has triggered it, there’s nothing going wrong, etc, etc… I’m thinking it’s something to do with this time of the year. Anyway, my mind has been constantly full of worry, fear, and insecurities. My thoughts have been going over 100mph on a circular race track for quite some time now. Every day, unless I’m distracted with work, or friends, or family, or something else, all I want to do is cry. I just want to sit on the floor and sob. The worst part is that I don’t even know why. I’m just… sad. That’s depression.
Me not wanting to share this with anyone publicly for fear of rejection or judgement, that’s anxiety. That, and me being sure that whenever I do decide to let myself cry, it’s in private, because I would hate for someone I love to see me like that.
These are just a few examples of what a day stuck in my own head looks like. I’ve been less chatty than usual, less friendly, less enthusiastic about life in general and I know every day that the people around me can tell I’m not myself. If you’re one of those people reading this right now, I sincerely apologize – I promise you, it is nothing personal.
Then, when I am alone, I beat myself up for feeling these things. I have so, so, so many things to be grateful for, and I’m sad? Who do I think I am? The world doesn’t revolve around me and I’m not the only one with problems. I’m overreacting. Those voices, along with many more, are insecurities. It’s all kind of just been a vicious cycle in my head lately.
Until this evening, anyway.
On my way home from work today, I lost my composure and busted into tears for what felt like the fifteenth time in the past two weeks. Except, this time was different. This time, I came home feeling closer and more in love with God than I have in weeks.
I know, it sounds strange, but hear me out for a second;
I started talking out loud to God. I started telling Him what was on my heart, and how I so desperately wanted to feel his joy and peace, but instead I felt like there was a dark cloud hanging over me, and I had no idea why it was there or how to get rid of it. In this moment, God then chose to remind me that it’s okay to have bad days. It’s okay if every single day is not filled with sunshine and rainbows – sometimes the clouds are going to roll in and block the sun, and there’s nothing we can do about it. What we can do, however, is acknowledge it. We can quit trying to run from it or change the weather. We can make the conscious choice not to wallow in our sorrows, but to accept it and say, “yes, I am having a bad day (or maybe a few bad days), but I know there will be better ones to come. Today is not my best day – I wasn’t my best self – but I can always try again tomorrow. Not every day will be great, but not every day will be bad either. And that’s okay.”
This is random but relevant, as you’ll read in a minute, but have you ever heard the hymn titled “It is Well?” If not, you should give it a listen. It came on today while I was having that moment in my car and in a way, it was sort of like an answered prayer.
A few nights ago, I was on my way home from eating out with some friends, and I just started crying (side note: I promise I don’t always cry, and I promise not every drive home is this dramatic). I wasn’t crying because I was sad or anxious though – I was crying because I knew that someone else was. I knew that somewhere in the world, there was a young girl or boy feeling the same horrible things I was feeling, and there was nothing I could do about it. It actually made (and still does make) my heart hurt to think about anyone else in the world feeling the way I was feeling and thinking the thoughts I was thinking. I didn’t want anyone to hurt that way.
Positive I was too small to solve all of the world’s problems, but positive that God was bigger, I turned my music down and I said, “Okay, God. What do I do with this? What do you want me to do? How can I help other people who are dealing with the same things that I’m dealing with? How can I let them know they’re not alone?”
I didn’t hear a response from Him right away, but then that hymn came on today in my car. That was when God said to me, “Daelynn, everything happens for a reason. I see your pain, I hear your prayers, I catch your tears, and I carry you through the toughest times when you are too weak to stand. I know what’s going on with you right now and all of the thoughts that are in your head, but I want you to know that they will not win. You will feel peace again. You will feel hope and joy again. You will feel my presence again. You may be in a dark place right now, but hold on, because you’re just in a tunnel, and there is always light at the end of the tunnel – I know you know that. I will give you strength. Take a breath and allow me to carry you through this because I promise you, it is not for nothing. There is a purpose for this specific season in your life and don’t doubt it for a second. You are my child and I will never leave or forsake you. I have you in the palm of my hand just like I always have. What you’re going through right now will be used to help someone – it will be used to point someone in my direction, and to give them hope. I am using you.”
And because that is what I heard from the Lord today is why I’m writing this. I’m not going to lie to you, I’m terrified to share such dark corners of my life over the internet. I’m scared because I don’t want anyone thinking less of me. But something else God has been teaching me lately is that the opinions of others does not matter – His is the only one I need to be concerned with. He is the only one I need to strive every day to please.
I want you to know I didn’t write this for sympathy or to make sure I was the center of attention (trust me, I’d much rather be in the corner of the room where no one can see me). I’m writing this because, as I stated in the beginning of this post, God is calling me out of my comfort zone. If one person can take out of all of this, the fact that they are not alone in what they’re going through, that matters more than what people think. And while we’re here, there is one more thing I’d like to say before you go.
If you are someone who is struggling with anxiety, depression, or some other form of mental illness, I want to tell you something that God desperately wants you to know: you are not alone. He hears you. He sees you. He knows you. Everything he said to me earlier, He is saying to you because you matter. You were created with a purpose and an intent to impact the world for the glory of God, and don’t you dare for one second let the devil try and tell you otherwise. You were created in God’s amazing image and those lies you keep hearing in your head about yourself are just that – lies. You are not worthless. You are not a disappointment. You are beautiful and you are loved.
God will not leave you. There are brighter days coming for you, I promise. I know because I’ve been there – in a way, I am there. But I know that God won’t abandon either one of us – that’s not who He is, and if we think it is, we have a false image of Him and we need to start getting to know Him better. Don’t give up on Him because I promise with all of my heart that He will not give up on you. Or me. We are all in this together.
Romans 5:3-5 says, “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”
I do hope you have a good day or night wherever you are, and I pray over your mental health and the mental health of those around you. God bless. ❤