I’m still here! Busy, very busy, but still present and accounted for.
So the other day I posted this on Facebook:
It was more difficult than I expected to post something like that.
I’ve never kept my struggle with depression a secret ever since my diagnosis over a year ago. My openness results in all kinds of reactions: the impressed: “It took me 10 years to admit to anyone I struggled with depression”, the critical “Are you still going to therapy? I thought you were getting better”, the embarrassed for me: “Are you sure you want to throw everything out there for the world to see?”, and the connecting: “I struggle with depression too. If you ever need anyone to talk to, I’m here for you.”
The last one is my favorite reaction and one that always touches my heart. Because of my openness with my mental health issues I’ve been able to connect with so many people and see the hand of God work in so many ways that I don’t think I would have had I not been willing to share what I was going through. Like the day a couple weeks ago when I had to go home early from work because I started crying after my monthly therapy session and I could not stop. It was very embarrassing. Fortunately no one needed me for anything and my boss never came around to my cubicle before I left. After I left I messaged my team to tell them I was gone and why. They were incredibly supportive in their responses and yes, I got some of my favorite responses too. Now I feel like my team and I are able to understand each other better and work together better because we’ve been open with each other and able to connect on more than just a surface level.
But. I hesitated to push “post” on that post. This post is difficult to write too. I think it’s because I’ve reached a stage where life is good and I don’t feel like my mental illness is as defining as it once was. Last year, I was depressed and telling everyone helped, in a way. This year, I’m not depressed and I don’t want everyone to think “oh, there goes Anessa, she has depression.” I don’t want that to be my defining characteristic. I want to be known for my leadership abilities (I really do love being a project lead at work), for my creativity and directing (I forgot in the 8 years since I last directed a play how much I love directing), and for my passion for God (I need to do better at talking about that with people).
Also, confession: there are several guys in my life that I’ve identified as potential possibilities. So we become friends on Facebook. Harmless, right? Well then let’s just throw that post out there that I have a mental illness. Put all my cards on the table right away. I feel like no guy is going to want to touch me with a ten foot pole, if I’m honest. Yes, it’s under control, yes, I have safeguards in place to help me monitor it in case it does get worse. But it’s chronic. It’s always going to be a part of me and there may be some days I will just cry. Wanna go out with me? No secrets here.
This self-consciousness is new for me. It never bothered me before. Maybe I do share too much. But then I remember what God told me last year, when He was so close to my broken heart, that whenever He did something in my life, that I had to share about it. He works through my depression and my anxiety His power is made perfect in my weakness. I need to start sharing again the God moments that are still happening regularly. Not sharing for me is disobeying what my Father told me to do. “Alright God, I will overshare and please help me not to care so much that that cute guy will read it. I trust You, God. Who knows? Maybe that cute guy is looking for someone who is completely honest to the point of embarrassment and won’t shut up about what You are doing in my life.”
Speaking of, cool God thing to wrap this up: I’m directing this show, yeah? If you’re local, you should totally come, it’s gonna be good. Not because of me, goodness no, I am so rusty at directing. My stage manager sat me down last night at rehearsal and was like “I’m your stage manager. I’m here to help you. What do you need me to do to lighten your load?” Yeah, kinda forgot I could give her stuff to do… Anyway, we’ve been in rehearsals for about three weeks now. For the majority of that time we’ve been short one actor. We have asked every available and age-appropriate guy we could think of, about 14 men – and it had to be a man.
Crickets (some of them did get back to us with a “no”, but the majority didn’t even respond).
Finally, two days ago I told God on the way to work “God, we really need an actor. It would be so nice if someone just walked into the theater and was like ‘hey, I’m interested in being in this show, are they still looking for someone?”
AND THAT’S WHAT HAPPENED THAT DAY. True story. I auditioned the guy that night and cast him on the spot. He’s got some catching up to do, but he’ll do good.
God answers prayers. Sometimes, He even answers them with exactly what we ask for.