Everyone is all about being “real” these days. I don’t like to be “real”. At least not in the sense of letting the world see all of my problems. I believe in living in the positive of life. Finding the positive and showing it to anyone I can. I think the world needs more positive.
However, we are also told in Galations 6:2 to bear one another’s burdens… as a command! How can we do that if no one knows our burdens and we don’t know anyone else’s? As Christians (and people in general), we have gotten into the habit of using the phrase, “How are you?” as a general, “Hello!” We say it quickly, in passing, as a greeting, without really looking for an answer more than, “Good! And you?” Anything other than this standard response sometimes makes us think of the answerer as a complainer, a “Debby Downer”, or an Eeyore when really they are just answering truthfully the question they were asked. We need to be more intentional in the way we greet others to eliminate this limbo between answering truthfully, risking people thinking about you as a negative person, or giving a standard, expected response.
Lately, as I’ve worked on myself alone and read through several books, I’ve come to the realization that there is a time and place for both. I believe there is a happy medium between being completely “real” all the time and trying to always be positive. Because let’s face it, sometimes negative people use the guise of “being real” as an excuse for them to air out their dirty laundry in places it shouldn’t be aired, while people who ALWAYS refuse to acknowledge problems can seem very fake or naïve.
There is no need to bring unnecessary negativity to the world, but when we share our struggles in a negative subject occasionally to ask for help, encourage, or just to let others know they are not alone, the perceived negativity in “realness” can actually be considered positivity because it serves a purpose; the purpose of helping ourselves or others. And that is always a positive.
So I am about to get real. Really real.
Many of you know that my husband has been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder Type 2, which comes with it’s own set of problems for everyone involved. What you may not know is that I am also struggling with my own mental health. I have Type 1 ADHD (the inattentive type), anxiety, depression, and an eating disorder.
How’s that for real?
I am proud to say that I officially consider myself in recovery from the eating disorder. I had a wake up call in December that changed my life immediately. The message it gave me was/is stronger than the thoughts Ed gives me (“Ed” is my eating disorder – it’s easier to talk about something when it has a less stigmatized name). If you have any questions about this part of my life, I’d be more than happy to speak with you privately. If you think you have an eating disorder, get help! Getting skinnier is not worth the damage you are doing to your body. You are more important than that. You are beautiful and deserve to treat yourself as such.
As is common for women with ADHD, I was not diagnosed until my adult years. I had unknowingly developed coping mechanisms to manage my symptoms. I never would have even thought to suspect ADHD as an explanation to my behaviors. I always just thought I was a spacey and forgetful. The only reason I was diagnosed is because my therapist noticed signs when I went to her for the other problems. This one is a new struggle for me – one that I have not begun treatment for but am aware of. Knowing is half the battle, right?
The anxiety and depression are constant struggles, but I have found ways to manage and cope. These illnesses are not just feeling anxious or sad sometimes – they are all the time and can be debilitating. They are actual medical conditions and shouldn’t be brushed off as anything else. It is not just something you experience for a day, and it’s certainly not something you can just “snap out of”. Through prayer, bible study, and a combination of various other techniques, I have found a decent system to combat the feelings these illnesses give me.
Now that all of that is out there, I say all of that to show you that you are not alone. We all have struggles and experiences that have given us insight and wisdom on certain subjects. If we all shared our knowledge on those areas in a helpful and courteous way, can you imagine how much better the world would be? But how can we share out knowledge with those who need it if we don’t know who needs it?
So maybe you’re also struggling with one of the areas I mentioned and you want to talk about it. Or maybe you have some wisdom to share with me about my struggles. Or maybe you have struggled with something entirely different and would like the prayers of someone else on your team. Whatever it is, please reach out! Leave a comment or send me a message. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to me about it, that’s fine too, but tell someone! A support system is invaluable, no matter what you’re going through.
You are not alone.
Let’s start sharing our struggles AND our wisdom.
Let’s live this beautiful life together.