Depression, anxiety, and other bogeythings

Part of who I am is that I have depression and anxiety. Those who know me well already know this or won't find this a surprise. For others, this may come as a surprise or may be cause for some concern. I don't write this because I want or seek sympathy or attention. Let me repeat: I'm not seeking or asking for sympathy or attention. Instead, I write this out of a desire to just lay to rest the negative stereotypes for perhaps one other person. Maybe someone else will get some benefit, live life more freely, if they know another person struggles, too.

I use the word "bogeythings" in the sense of "a person or thing that causes alarm". There is still so much negativity for those who struggle with these issues, but I've been inspired by a friend on Facebook to bring this into the open. This friend also struggles with depression and anxiety and discusses it openly and frankly. I admire that.

I'm also at a stage in life where I'm less concerned about what other people think and more concerned about expressing authenticity, being authentic, and comfortable with who God made me to be. I recognize that a.) I have a long way to go in terms of authenticity; b.) we all still need to be careful, considerate, and thoughtful about what we share with others; and c.) authenticity or "telling it like it is" can sometimes have negative consequences. It can open you up to criticism or more negativity. It can impact job prospects or how you are treated by those around you. It can also be threatening and disruptive to others because it tends to tear down the protective, polite fiction that we all consciously or unconsciously weave around ourselves as we navigate this world in which we live.

Depression and anxiety affect huge swathes of society. They aren't choosy conditions, affecting young and old, poor and rich, women and men. Having a strong faith doesn't prevent them nor does it mean that you are less of a faithful person because you have them. One of the most comforting things I remember or go back to in the Bible is that Jesus Himself endured these things. Approaching his certain death on the Cross, Jesus was in such great stress that the scriptures say his sweat was as drops of blood (Luke 22:44).

So, reader, don't buy the lie that having depression and anxiety makes you less of a person than anyone else. Understand that most other people (and yes, I am convinced that most other people do) experience it as well and you are not alone. Understand that you can still lead a hopeful, joyful life anyway, and that you can accomplish great things. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.


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