Hope :: The Silent Self

Photo: Trevor Gerzen

If you struggle with anxiety or depression, you know with full confidence that they are anything but silent. You know that often you are internally screaming and shouting for someone to notice… to say something… but they never do.

That’s because anxiety and depression are your silent self. It’s the ‘you’ that hides beneath the surface. It’s the ‘you’ that hides the scars and covers the brokenness. It’s the ‘you’ that wants to be noticed by others but refuses to speak up.

How many times have you wished that someone, anyone, would know that you’re response of, “I’m fine,” is anything but the truth? How many times has your mind shouted, “Just notice me!” or, “Can’t you see? Don’t you understand?!”

My silent self cut me off from people for more than a decade. I remember being told many times by many different people, “I just don’t know what you’re thinking or feeling. I can’t read you.” I’m not going to lie: there was a part of me that was proud that people couldn’t see the real me. I was also devastated. I would always think, “You can’t tell what I’m thinking/feeling… then don’t you know that inside I’m broken?”

They don’t. For people who don’t struggle deeply with these two inner, silent selves, they just don’t know. It’s hard to know and understand something that you’ve never struggled with.

But, my friend, there is Hope. Just because they don’t know what questions to ask or don’t see the darkness that you fight against daily, it doesn’t mean they can’t be a support for you. How can they ever know if you never tell them?

Anxiety and/or depression are nothing to feel shameful about. They happen. Ignoring it and pretending it doesn’t exist doesn’t make it go away…

You’re not alone in this fight for your soul and life. Many have gone through it before you. We’ve made it to the other side. We still struggle sometimes, but each battle is one that allows us to stand taller, to stand stronger.

The Bible tells us that we face struggles so that when others face the same struggle later, we can give comfort to those others because we also received comfort. Whether you believe in God or not (and I most certainly DO!), I think these truths remain truths for everyone. When you make it through the struggle… when someone meets you right where you are… you can walk away with the ability to help someone else walk the path you have already trekked through and survived.

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