A few days ago I wrote a post explaining that I was in a dark and difficult place and asking for prayers and happy thoughts in my behalf. I am so grateful to everyone who responded and all those who offered prayers, happy thoughts, positive energy, and love. I believe greatly in the power of all of these. I have felt lifted in so many ways. While I do not believe I am out of the woods just yet, I am improved.
It was a rough month. Two back to back episodes of PTSD followed by a major depression, all while experiencing a new health struggle. It was a seriously dark place I was in. And, as is the nature of depression, it was a little too comfortable.
But there was a tickling in the back of my mind that said, "It doesn't have to be this way. You can be happy. You like being happy." All of those things are difficult to remember when I'm in that dark place.
And asking for help was hard. I grew up in a home where we were taught fierce independence. We help others. We don't need help. We don't discuss our problems with others. We don't complain. We suck it up and get back to work. We push through it. I lived that way for many years.
That way is a lie! I want to scream it from the rooftops. That is not what this life is meant to be! In our society, independence is praised and revered. But independence is only a stepping stone. True mental health is interdependence. This needs to be said more. This needs to be taught in our schools and homes and churches. True mental health (and spiritual health) is interdependence. Interdependence means we do everything for ourselves that we possibly can and ask for help when we need it. It means we know enough to see when we're over our heads or in unfamiliar territory. And we ask for help for those things we can't do for ourselves.
As a religious person, I believe that independence is a beautiful lie to keep us from relying on God and turning to each other. A lie focused on the importance of self. I believe we are meant to be interdependent with our fellow man AND with God, not just one or the other.
One strong person can do a lot. Many strong people, interconnected, can change the world! No wonder the powers of evil want to stop it.
Those are the underlying reasons I asked for help. Mostly it was because I was in such a bad way and needed to feel the strength of others. I needed to not feel so alone. I needed to see the goodness of the incredible people in my life (including my cyber-life).
And it was because I want to practice what I preach. I want to know when my friends and family are struggling. I want to be a support to them. I want to pray for them. I want to reach out to them. I want to tell them I love them when they need it the most. I want to hurt with them. I want to cry for them. And I can't do any of those things if I don't know they are not okay.
It would be hypocritical of me to ask others to tell me when their world is dark if I am not willing to do the same.
My world is brighter today. My burden is lighter. Because of the light and strength offered freely by others. Thank you so much for that. And thank you to those who open their hearts and share with me when they aren't okay. You are brave and strong and I am better for the time we have together.