Have you ever thought you shouldn’t share your feelings? Have you thought if you tell someone you are struggling with Depression or Anxiety, they will judge you? I thought about this the other day while M.J. and I were listening to the song, Let It Go from Frozen.
“Conceal. Don’t feel. Don’t let them know… Well now they know!”- Elsa from Frozen
In this song, Elsa is talking about her powers, but I think it can also be useful for us today. It made me think about how afraid we can be to talk about our mental health. It made me think about how we can be afraid of sharing our parenting struggles. We are constantly comparing ourselves to other people, especially as women, and especially as moms. I will think, why am not as pretty as her? Why can’t I be a fun mom like her? Why can’t I cook like she does? Why am I so horrible at crafts? I know I’m not the only one who thinks these things. The comparison game can be very tricky. It is helpful to remember all moms feel like they have no idea what they’re doing. I thought I was the only one, but I’m not. We all worry about messing up our kids. Our kids don’t need perfection. What they need is love. It can be hard when you compare yourself to a picture-perfect family, but remember there is no such thing. Everyone has something they struggle with. Just because they don’t tell you about it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there.
I think it is important to be honest about our struggles even if it is hard. Of course, you might not want to tell everyone. I normally don’t share very much about my mental health journey with people who think mood disorders aren’t a real thing. I do think there is much better care for mental health than there used to be, but, it still needs to be improved in my opinion. I feel like there is a lot of awareness for Depression and Anxiety, but there is not as much awareness for other disorders. OCD is misunderstood by a lot of people. Many people don’t even realize they have OCD because they think it is all about germs or being organized. There are many different kinds of OCD. Many of the themes people struggle with are very scary. They are afraid to tell anyone about them because they worry they will sound like a crazy person, a horrible person, or even a psychopath. If you’d like to read about different OCD themes, read this post http://www.snugglesandstruggles.com/indexphp/2020/12/02/drowning-in-snakes/.
I finally decided to get help for my Depression and Anxiety when I was 29. I probably started struggling with Depression and Anxiety around 4th or 5th grade, but it definitely got worse around 17 to 19. I definitely should have started going therapy sooner than I did. When I eventually went to therapy, I didn’t tell my therapist about my intrusive thoughts. I didn’t even know intrusive thoughts were a thing. I thought I was secretly a horrible person, even though I didn’t want to act on my intrusive thoughts. I tried to convince myself they weren’t real thoughts, but that just made them worse. I didn’t tell anyone until I was extremely suicidal. When I was diagnosed with OCD, I thought, no, that’s not right. But that was because I had been misinformed like many other people have. There are many different types of OCD. OCD is not a personality quirk. OCD is not an adjective. OCD is a debilitating disorder, but it can be managed with therapy and medication.
Don’t be afraid to share your feelings. If you are struggling with any mood disorder, it’s okay to talk about it. If you are suicidal don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you are struggling with parenting, don’t be afraid to talk about it. Parenting is hard. Parenting during a Pandemic is harder. It’s okay if you are struggling with parenting. It doesn’t mean you hate your children, it means you’re human. Don’t conceal your feelings. In the words of Elsa, “Let it go!”
“We can stop striving to be enough, because who God is (sovereign) and what God gives us in the person and work of Jesus Christ (grace) is enough.”- Mom Set Free Bible Study by Jeannie Cunnion