There are women in my life who handle a lot more stress with work, family, hobbies etc, than I do – yet never seem to need therapy or medication to cope with anxiety or depression. And whenever they say things that remind me of that, I curl up in the corner and hide in my shame.
I talk a lot of talk and use a lot of hashtags about the importance of understanding that poor mental health is not a sign of weakness, that getting help is an act of BRAVERY, and yet…YET…I still battle my own demons of shame every day.
I thought of that this morning when I was reminded again of friends who seem to have a better grasp on life than I do and I felt embarrassed that I have made it so known that I seek therapy. I found myself thinking, Ug. I wish I didn’t talk so much about therapy now. She handles so much more and doesn’t need it or medication and here I am crumbling under the weight of half of her load and WHY DO I HAVE TO BE SO OPEN ABOUT EVERYTHING?
And I’m embarrassed and ashamed that I seek therapy. I’m that girl who talks about her therapist all the time. I’m hiding in the corner again.
But then I stop for a moment and think about my wings. The wings on my back that are tattered and worn. We all have them, you know. Mine were so tattered and worn though for so long – just falling apart after my Dad died – that I hadn’t flown in years. I hadn’t spread them in so long, I forgot they were there.
But lately, my therapist and I have been working together to mend the holes of the beautiful wings and I’ve taken them out a few times and soared over my anxiety and depression and felt the weight of the world fall to the side as I took a deep breath and remembered what it was like to FLY.
I think about how my husband told someone recently about how much better all of our lives are since I started getting help. Not just because I’m getting better, but because I’m sharing my lessons and my vulnerabilities with them and now we all feel more connected. I’m not carrying the weight on my own anymore and so now we can all fly as a family, helping each other along the way.
But, I still fight the voices of shame and embarrassment every day. So I actively try to keep preaching the lines of openness. Sometimes I fly because I’m feeling better equipped to handle the challenges of life, but other times I refuse to even show my wings.
So for all of you who sometimes vocalize your own struggles to remind me I’m not alone? Thank you. Because some days I still fight the demons of shame, I sit on the ground and watch the people above me soar with such ease and I’m embarrassed that I struggle so much to even get off the ground. So I thank those of you who have shown me the holes in your wings and have sat with me on the ground, sometimes even helping me repair mine, so we can fly together.