I’m loved and adored– of this I’m sure. By my family, my friends, mentors, teachers– they remind me of this fact daily. I’m beloved by God, and am dearly loved even when I don’t feel like I am.
But knowing I’m loved is not enough to make my depression go away.
love is not enough to make me not anxious about the future, the past, or the present.
as much as I would like for love to be enough to cure me of all my ails, mental, physical, and emotional– it’s just not.
Love was not enough when panic attacks kept me up every night for 3 months.
Love was not enough when I cried nightly in fear that I wouldn’t wake up the next day. When I refused to sleep in fear I’d die in my sleep.
Love was not enough when I considered walking across the street into traffic. Or when I googled pill combinations to kill myself in my sleep.
Love wasn’t enough all of the times I’ve thought that the world would be better off without me.
Love wasn’t enough when depression grabbed hold of me after quitting student teaching, or in middle school when I was drowning in fear and apathy(or in elementary school when i said I just didn’t feel like living anymore. it’s been a long journey, people).
Love wasn’t enough when I felt alone in a crowded room.
Love wasn’t enough when I was diagnosed with GAD and encountered my mental hell– the hardest thing I’ve been through to-date.
Love wasn’t enough to save me from myself.
There are so many times I’ve wanted love to be enough. No need for counseling or medicine or vulnerability required when friends ask how I’m really doing. If the love of my friends and family was enough, I’d never struggle with this crap. But it’s not.
Love isn’t enough for cancer or dementia or a stroke. We can’t love diabetes or traumatic brain injuries away. We can’t love mental illness away either–it’s not called illness for nothing.
If love were enough, I wouldn’t be anxious about my next chapter, no matter how excited I am for it.
If love were enough, I would not spend my nights terrified of having more panic attacks. I wouldn’t pray for God to wake me up the next morning because I’m unsure if I will or not, and it scares the living daylights out of me.
If love were enough, I’d never have to worry about the feelings of hopelessness or loneliness or darkness that surface when I’m struggling. They’d never appear, because love triumphs those things– but not when your brain works against you.
If love were enough, I’d never have to take medicine to fix the chemicals in my brain that try to convince me to self-destruct. Every. single. day.
If love were enough, the voices in my head that tell me I’m not enough or forgotten or unworthy would never interfere with the voice of God’s, calling me beloved and welcomed and wanted.
But love isn’t enough for me to overcome this hell on my own. I can’t be loved into my broken brain being healed.
Love helps. Love heals parts of me. But it doesn’t fix. It doesn’t cure.
Love– and being loved– is an incredible thing, don’t get me wrong. But it’s not enough to save my life. I love that people love me– without it, i wouldn’t be me. But it’s not what makes me better. I have other things (like medicine and therapy and sharing my story) to fight for with me. I have strategies and plans for when my anxiety goes haywire and I don’t know where to turn. I have friends I can call or text when things get muddled by the darkness and I begin to feel lost. I have God to lean on and cry out to, even when that involves me screaming and crying about why this is what’s been given to me to suffer through.
I’m thankful I’m not in one of those places right now— for the most part, I’m doing OK currently; but the reason I’m writing this now? It’s because I know I’ll be there again. I know that my anxiety will have me sobbing, scared out of my mind. I know depression will encircle me, creating a darkness and loneliness that robs me of life. It’s a cycle that ebbs and flows, and I know that it’s something I will battle all my life, probably. It will hit me like a punch in the gut, like a shakiness I cannot overcome on my own.
And the last thing I need someone telling me is that “oh but you’re so loved, how can you be depressed? you have so much going for you, how can you be anxious?”
I am so loved. I do have a lot going for me right now.
But that doesn’t mean anything to my mental illness. I could be in the happiest time of my life and it steal me of my joy (and it has). It doesn’t care about what’s going on or who I am or how loved I am.
It’s a thief that steals and kills and destroys. It’s a liar that makes you believe what it says about you, no matter what other voices say.
And it doesn’t care one bit about how loved you are, because it will do everything in its power to make you feel as unloved and useless as possible.
Love is not enough. It will never be enough for me to save myself.
But I sure do wish it was.
This song kept coming to mind when writing this– Against the Voices, Switchfoot
This one too… Rain Clouds, The Arcadian Wild (I have talented friends).