life, My Faith

What you can do

I have been fairly open about mental health in these last months. Whether it’s on my blog here, on Instagram or in person, I’ve not necessarily shied away from it. Some people have wondered. Some people have asked. Why speak so candidly about this?

The answer is simple. Because I was ashamed and now I’m not. Because it can’t take away anything else from me. Because I want you to know it’s okay too if you’re struggling.

Because here on the other side (for now….for I think we’ll do battle again), I can say that naming the thing takes away some of its power. I can say realizing you need help and getting it is not a bad thing. I can acknowledge that sometimes the humiliation of publicly “dropping your basket” might be worth the victory of people helping you pick it back up again.

So that’s why I say things. I struggle with anxiety. I struggle with perfectionism. I struggle with depression sometimes. I struggle with control. Y’all….I struggle. It’s not past tense. It’s an ongoing battle. It’s a forever battle field. But as long as I’m fighting, I’m still ok.

I get asked by people who love me (and people who love someone else who struggles), what can we do??? Because I know you. You want to fix it. Believe me I want to fix it too. I saw a quote today that pretty much hits it on the head and thus spawned this post. Ready? What can you do:

That’s it. Love me (or whoever you’re walking with). Love us until we come back. Love us in the hard. Love us even if we fight the same battles over and over. Love us.

  • What does that mean though? Well, I think that’s different for different people, so I’m gonna give you my answers. (If your person is in the right space, ask them. If they say they don’t know, they probably don’t. It’s tricky).
  • Remind me you love me no matter what. It is hard. When I start coming undone, I don’t love me, so how can you possibly? I am hypercritical of everything I say and do always, but more so when I’m struggling. Words of affirmation are also my love language, so I need to hear those words especially in the hard. (Just be aware that I rarely know what to do with them. Hi…socially awkward– party of 1.)
  • Don’t preach at me but remind me what God says about be. Am I gonna want to hear it? No, not at first. Am I gonna be able to hear it? Maybe not that either. But it’ll be filed away and eventually I’ll hear it. I need to hear it because this war is not just here and now. The devil’s in on it too. And he doesn’t like when you say those things.
  • Don’t be afraid to sit in silence. In the beginning, when it was bad, I remember several times that one of my people sat next to me but didn’t push me to talk. The first night my friend sat next to me while I sobbed and she said, “I’m gonna watch the food channel” and this was everything in that moment. Because I couldn’t put words to the thing, but just her being there, helping fill the space and not running away meant the world. The next few days when another friend let me come crash her couch was also such a blessing. Eventually we started talking about the thing, but it was on my terms.
  • Remind me there’s an end. This won’t be forever. This season will end but when you’re in it, it seems like a dark cavern closing in on you. I need to be reminded that this is now but that it does end.
  • Normalize help. Remind me that weakness is ok and that medication is ok. That seeing a therapist is ok. Society says none of those are, but they are all necessary in their times.
  • I think those are five keys that people did for me in the moment. Y’all I have amazing friends who God has blessed with the ability to see through my shenanigans and love me well. They come in all ways in all spaces in my life.

    I have my people who I can openly share my struggles and hopes and dreams with, even more so than in this space. They know when tough love is necessary and when just love is needed. They can look me in the face and say, “I’m proud of you” and it means more than anything else in the world. Those are my people.

    I have people who keep me in check and aren’t afraid to let me know (gently of course) when I need to reign it in. I’ve found acceptance here too in the ability to talk things out without judgment.

    Those closest can stop me and ask the hard questions. What are you thinking right now? Why? What are you feeling? Because I’m learning to ask those questions too.

    Here’s the thing. Every day we all face some kind of battle, even in the good days. Every day we have to choose to get up and show up even if we don’t want to. Every. Single. Day.

    I graduated to monthly therapy this week. It’s both exciting and terrifying. It maybe means she trusts me to handle myself. But I don’t know if I trust me to handle myself. But I will. To the best of my abilities. I will keep fighting for myself and for the me that God created me to be.

    In the end, she’s definitely worth it!

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