By Becky Keife
God's Brave Women - Becky's Story
One of the hardest things about anxiety and depression (at least for me) is not being able to always name it or explain it.
Sometimes I can identify the triggers. I can feel a fresh swell and call it out for what it is—mental illness. But other times, it’s just tears below the surface at the dinner table. It’s heightened irritability at my children. It’s an unsettled spirit and coffee jitters I can’t shake and wishing all the people and responsibilities would just go away (even when I love my people and my work). It’s feeling defeated by a task I know I’m capable of doing. Exhausted after a full night’s sleep. An undercurrent of sadness that doesn’t match my circumstances. Not too long ago, I admitted a new wave of not-okay to my husband. “I’m struggling but I’m fine,” I said as huge tears dropped into my sparkling water.
“You don’t look fine,” he said. And this is the tension of anxiety and depression: being simultaneously fine and undone, wanting to be seen and wanting to hide.
"And this is the tension of anxiety and depression: being simultaneously fine and undone, wanting to be seen and wanting to hide."
I've sunk into the pit of anxiety, and I've walked the peaks of recovery. I've wallowed in the unspoken valley of depression and cried enough closed-door tears to buoy up to a cliff where I could climb out. My faith is strong yet there have been so many days where I just feel weak.
In the thick of mental illness, it takes courage to get up, make the coffee, and cook the eggs. No one else would know that it feels brave to play card games with my family, plug away at the work project, answer a text message from a friend. These small, ordinary acts don’t scream courageous. But in the darkness of anxiety and depression, the ordinary becomes extraordinary because I’m faced with the reality of how much I need Jesus.