Is depression a sign of weakness? Is anxiety a symptom of being inferior?
I want to talk about something I haven't talked about a lot on my blog.
A few weeks ago, I wrote a blogpost called "He Sees Me." The response I got from this simple post was amazing. But what surprised me was that the responses I got were from people who experience anxiety, people who have been there in that place where I was when I was a child and experiencing debilitating panic attacks. When I wrote the post, I didn't feel that I was writing about anxiety or depression, actually. What I felt I was writing about was how God sees us in our dark time, He sees us in our times of deepest need. He sees and he cares. But what resonated with my readers was that they too have gone through the pain of anxiety. That was what they could relate to.
This is what you don't know. That night, I went to that place again. I had the biggest panic attack that I have ever had since I was a little girl. At first I thought it was because I allowed myself to go back to that place as a little girl when I wrote my post. I allowed myself to live what it felt like to experience fear. I wrestled all night with debilitating fear. How it broke, is for another post as it would make this one too long. When it finally broke and I fell into a fitful sleep, I dreamed that a man came to me and prophesied to me and he said this. "The reason that you were attacked so viciously tonight with fear is that Satan does not want you to go there. You touched a cord in peoples lives and he absolutely does not want you to explore that place in your life or in others. He doesn't want you to go there. So... go there."
When I lost Theodore 24 years ago, I went through another time of anxiety that knocked me off my feet. In fact working with many families that have gone through losing a child, this is very common. But we don't like to talk about it. It wasn’t until years later when I was going through another traumatic event and I started to take medication for it to get over the hump, that I realized that I should have had medication when I lost Theodore. But I didn’t. And why didn’t I? Because I bought into a lie. I bought into a lie that if I admitted my fear, if I admitted my terror at night, I would be admitting that i was an inferior person. I would be admitting that i was weak. I would be admitting that I just couldn't do it like others can - that I needed a crutch. Somehow I would be saying that I was lesser of a person because of what I was going through. I bought into that lie big time.
There is so much shame surrounding this issue. And I believe that the longer we stay in this shame, the higher our walls are and the stronger our prison is. Its only in talking about this shame that we will be able to be set free.
I am convinced that it is not fear itself that is the biggest problem. It is the shame of fear. It is the shame surrounding the subject. Fear hits doctors and businessman and lawyers and painters and housewives and pastors. It does not discriminate. It hits us all - poor, rich, old and young. None of us are exempt from its grip.
Its like the elephant in the room that nobody wants to talk about. It's there, it's staring us in the face, but maybe, just maybe if we don't talk about it, it will leave.
I want to be a part of a growing lot of people that expose this lie for what it is. But I am convinced that I need you, my readers to help me expose it. I need your stories. I need your experiences. I need what you did to get out of your prison or what you ARE doing. I need stories and I need solutions. I realize that this is a sensitive subject. I won't expose who you are and what you have told me. I will keep everything completely confidential. I just believe that I have touched a cord that needs to be addressed more. Please private message me or comment or whatever. I would love to hear from YOU.
I am not an expert on this topic. I am not an authority. But I have been there. I have walked the deep waters of anxiety and depression so that gives me a voice, a voice that needs to be heard.
Even now as I write this, I am terrified. However, I have people around me that are praying for me about this particular blogpost, that I won't experience any backlash. The thing with terror is that it’s terrifying. Fear is frightening. You never know when it is lurking around the corner. You never know what is going to trigger it. You never know when the bony fingers of fear are going to curl around your throat - making it hard to breathe; making it hard to live. So we live in fear of fear. We live in shame of fear. And then we live in a prison.
I don't know where this will take me. I don't know if I am supposed to write a book or if I am supposed to write some blog posts or take some speaking engagements on the subject or what. But I know that I am supposed to be writing this right now.
I know that I am "going there," my friends. Will you go with me?