This image has been my screenshot on my phone for about a month now. It reminds me to stop looking forward to days and issues I cannot change. I have to take in this day and enjoy it for what it is.
So, today, I’m sharing something a little different.
Today was my first day back into counseling. I’ve always been a proponent of therapy, but I stopped taking advantage of these services years ago, and busyness and life took my focus away. Now, I’ve realized that I have done myself a disservice. While I try to help others, my inner voices were becoming more and more negative and unbalanced.
Now, after realizing that nothing will change until I change something, I’ve decided to go back. I’ve been diagnosed with depression and anxiety in the past, and rather than allow these issues to resurface, I’m going to tackle them head on.
It’s not easy to share when you are dealing with these issues. First of all, I’d rather keep everything quiet until I’m ‘all better.” But that’s silly, and does no one any good. If we never shared our stories until everything was supposedly better, we would continue to give the illusion that we don’t go through these tough times. Furthermore, there’s many facets of emotional and mental health that I don’t understand fully. I can’t break down all the reasons that things happen and why we feel the way we feel. However, I can be open about my struggles and help someone to realize they are not alone in the struggle.
Perhaps that’s the biggest problem about dealing with our innermost thoughts. When we keep everything inside, our minds become the devil’s playground, where he can whisper the darkest untruths, and we’re almost powerless to stop it. Yes, the Word and our testimony can defeat the words of darkness. But I would be arrogantly wrong to say that I’m always successful in countering those thoughts.
There are those that might say that my faith should be the answer to questions of mental and emotional health. It is. And my faith reminds me that I’m only healed when I confess my faults to other people. Healing doesn’t come from confessing to God. He already knows my issues. It’s when I drop my guard among others that I can walk in the freedom he already provided. When I’m alone, unwilling to open up, and isolated, I simply give my secrets the power to overwhelm and control me. It’s only when I release myself from the unrealistic expectations that I find a sense of peace. Even as I write, I begin to understand that the peace I seek is not external. It doesn’t come from a book, or a sermon, nor a platitude or life quote. It comes from acknowledging myself as myself. Seeing what God sees. Nor more, and no less. All the mess, and all the good stuff mixed in together. Me.
That’s what I’m facing, in a nutshell. The journey into who I really am. Not that I’m looking forward to it – but it must happen if I want to be all I can be, and nothing I’m not.
If you’ve ever experienced any kind of emotional or mental health concern, please don’t hold it in. I’m speaking especially to my brothers here. We are not machines. You will eventually break down under the stress of carrying the load by yourself. Don’t wait til the tank runs empty and the gears grind down to powder before you unload your issues and deal with the pains that you desperately want to avoid.
I hope this helps someone, because it is certainly helping me to appreciate life a little more than I did before. And I thank you for giving me a platform to share what may be the most important message I share – It’s okay not to be okay.
Because when you realize that, you’ll realize that things actually are okay.
Lately, when people ask me how I’m doing, I’ve said “Good, and getting better.” Some think I mean that I was sick physically. Others pass it off as a cute saying.
It means way more to me.
I know things are good. I’m grateful for that. I know I have a good heart, that I want to the right thing.
But I also know I can be better. I can think better. Be healthier. Have a more positive self-image.
So I’m working on getting better.
One day at at time.
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