I’ve got this. If I need help, I must be weak. Others can’t know. What would they think?”
I don’t know the pain many live with on a daily basis called depression. My heart goes out to those of you who do. My ache is more like an undercurrent, reaching an abrupt peak similar to opening the refrigerator to discover something has been slowly rotting and abruptly needs to be tossed. It can overtake me and I’m suddenly aware I’ve been drifting.
I know what drifting feels like. When I was 17, I joined a friend and her family for a weekend at their Wisconsin lake house. Upon returning from a day of water skiing, I chose to grab a firm, brightly colored raft and just close my eyes momentarily near the pier before joining the others up at the house for dinner. With each slow, back-and-forth movement, I went deeper into what I still remember feeling like an embryonic state of incredible peace.
After what I estimated to be about 15 minutes, I opened my eyes only to discover I could barely spot the pier on the horizon. Panicked, I sat up and found I was practically in the middle of the lake! It took nearly an hour of exhausting my paddling arms to reach the shore. Thankfully, my friend and her family were waiting for me.
Drifting is like that. I fall into a similar place when I’m out of my usual rhythm of meeting regularly with my circle of friends or intentionally talking with others. A recent conversation with a dear friend revealed this even more.
“What contributed to you feeling out of sync?” she asked. I had been explaining to her the “funk” in which I found myself recently during the holidays. I was keenly aware of my answer, which was simple, yet humbling.
“I’ve missed talking with you and meeting with others,” I said. Naming such meek truth felt weak and needy. And yet, it was exactly true and what I needed to say. Her empathic response was tender and moved me one step closer to exposing the lies.
“I’ve got this. If I need help, I must be weak. Others can’t know.
What would they think?”
Lies like these bombarded me growing up and I easily find the culture reinforcing them. Get up. Tough it out. And, never ever need others.
The truth is I do need others. Desperately. The God who made me, alone, is NOT enough because he presents himself through others. Those who know me best remind me that I’m not crazy, that I can be giving and that I offer goodness to this world. They see things in me that I easily forget. I need them because I need these reminders. And they do too.
Perhaps 2018 is your year to try a tribe. While I offer no money-back guarantee, I can easily say that I’ve never regretted a regular dose of others who know and love me well.