I recently met with a Pastor, upon a good friend’s recommendation, to discuss my battle with anxiety and depression. When I mentioned that I liked to blog about these things, he asked who I was sharing the information for-Was it really to help other people or was it for me? Did my husband agree that my desire to share such personal information was fueled by my desire to help others?
His questions stuck with me long after our meeting and I started to wonder myself, am I really doing this for others? Don’t I get a sense of satisfaction from coming clean? If I do, does that make it wrong? It’s left me at a crossroads for the past month, wondering if I push myself to begin writing again or allow this journey of always sharing my life story to end.
When I think about quitting, I always go back to a conversation that truly stuck with me and allowed me to see God’s potential for my willingness to be open.
A woman I knew from high school had just given birth a few weeks earlier and was concerned she may be dealing with postpartum depression. Acquaintances had reached out to me in the past, but this time was different, because this woman and I were not exactly friends. She and I had nothing but middle school drama between us from day one. Of course, as we got older, neither of us was holding much of a grudge, but we always seemed to bump into each other and end up in each other’s lives for one reason or another. Having nothing to our foundation but petty drama, things were still awkward between us.
Anyways, she was the last person I ever would have expected to reach out to me about her concerns. She was going through something incredibly personal, but she knew from my tendency to share that I had gone through postpartum depression and that I could talk to her about it.
In the end, she never required much help of me. But that day put me in a position to help someone-to set aside the past and show compassion. In that moment I couldn’t help but look to God and giggle a bit, thinking “..really? Of all people, you sent her to ME!?”
I didn’t realize it at the time, but she was helping me. The exchange that we were able to share helped me realize that there is so much more to my journey than just me and my mental health. I want to be here, as a lifeline, to anyone that needs it-even mortal enemies. Because I don’t believe anyone should have to face postpartum depression, or any mental illness, alone. It helps so much to know that someone else out there understands.
I often worry that sharing too much of my story will come back to haunt me, that I’ll be judged for the emotions I share, that I’ll be perceived as weak, that the “raw-ness” of it all will be considered too much. And maybe all of that is true. But if one person out there can feel a little less alone, a little less likely to succumb to depression, a little more likely to seek out help, all because I got online and was real-then it’s worth it, and the women who have reached out to me and shared their experiences are proof that this is bigger than me.
Stay tuned. Prayers appreciated as I navigate the future!