This post by Thomas Grant is reprinted from LifeTeen.com
If you met me in high school and college you would see someone that had it all together. You would see someone actively involved in youth group, someone that did well in school, and a person that was well loved by friends and family.
What you wouldn’t see is a person that sat up at night, writing journals about how worthless he was. You wouldn’t see someone that stopped looking at himself in the mirror because he only saw failure. You wouldn’t see a person that late at night went through a list of people that would be better off without him. You wouldn’t see someone that was quietly breaking down while smiling wide. It is possible to be alone in a room full of people; it is possible to be seen but not heard. It is possible to fake happiness. I lived a life without really living at all.
I struggle with depression. A lot of people don’t know that about me – for a long time I was embarrassed by it. I struggled to tell my parents and friends, and honestly, I didn’t tell anyone. I felt weak.
I questioned myself:
“If you were stronger, you wouldn’t be here. Can’t you just pull yourself out of this yourself?”
“Maybe you just aren’t cut out for the work you are doing or for school. It has already broken you.”
“You just aren’t good enough – if anyone finds out about this, they will think you are weird and not want to be around you.”
When I did speak to some people about depression I was met with a mixed response; well-meaning people said some non-productive things. One friend, who is a faithful Christian, told me that, “It was a spiritual problem and I didn’t need a diagnosis.” I felt even weaker, “He’s right,” I thought, “If I had a better prayer life and closer relationship with God, I wouldn’t feel the way that I do.”
Those feelings were what caused me to stay quiet. They were what caused me to keep the smile going on the outside while I quietly broke down inside. It wasn’t until I had a conversation with a priest about my struggles that I came to an important realization:
I am not depression. I am the son of the King. Even in darkness, He carries me.
I am not defined by my frailty. And neither are you.