When I got back from my 7 month missions trip in Southeast Asia I quickly went barreling into a whirlwind of emotions and mental turmoil. There was so much I was trying to process about living in a third world country and being immersed into a foreign culture. And even though I was so happy to be back in my homeland, (I love America… I know I sound corny, but this country is amazing) I was physically, mentally and spiritually burnt out. I returned to family problems, a mother who just had her stomach removed and the tumultuous political climate from the Presidential election. And the cherry on top? I had a mysterious lung infection I picked up during my travels and no one could help me get better.
I remember having this moment when I felt so helpless and I cried (literally) out to God to help me… and I didn’t hear an answer. It shook me to my core. Where was He when I needed Him most?
Sidenote: I’m super spiritual and have always had a deep connection to God and always felt like I could hear from Him and communicate with Him and felt so much peace when I would pray.
So, it’s understandable to see how I could have so effortlessly slipped into a depression, sprinkled with anxiety attacks and breakdowns.
I’m only a few weeks out of the worst of it, but it’s given me a chance to gain a bit of perspective. And one of the things I realized was how so many people around me were experiencing something similar. With the holidays, a strained economy and all of the political turmoil, a lot of people were sinking into a depressed state.
Most people don’t like to talk about going through depression or times of mental instability. There’s so much shame attached to it. Which is so stupid… but that’s a whole other blog topic. But if we did talk about it more on our social media or to our friends and family, we’d realize how common of a battle it is.
So that had me asking, is depression a “normal” part of life?
An estimated 350 million people suffer with clinical depression. And I have said before that I think every human being experiences a period of time with depression. I mean, life is wicked freaking hard, and loss and grief impacts everyone, and sometimes our bodies have imbalances that need to be treated whether holistically or with western medicine. And for me I need some spiritual and soul TLC, whether that’s therapy or prayer or journaling or writing music…. but the point I’m trying to make is depression affects us all. So why do we treat it as though it’s something to hide or be embarrassed by? When I say depression is “normal” I don’t mean it’s the “normal” (whatever that word actually means) state of being all the time. A whole and full life isn’t one lived in neutral or one emotion, but experiences the full depth and range of human emotion. So maybe we start with sharing our stories and sharing how we made it through the hardest moments in our lives. Maybe we start normalizing the conversation of mental health and depression instead of sticking it in a dark corner somewhere. What do you think?
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Love you all!