I did a really good job of numbing my vulnerability during my 12-year walk with depression. I didn’t share much of what was going on in my world of dark clouds and stormy weather. I can count on 3 fingers the number of people who really knew what was going on–and even they didn’t get the full story. I numbed by not talking, not sharing, not reaching out. That way I didn’t have to feel any more anger, frustration, and disappointment in myself.
Why wasn’t I vulnerable? I know the answer now–6 years after overcoming this monster. I didn’t want to seem incapable. I didn’t want to seem “less than.” I was sure I could figure it out myself, even if that meant to continue “hunkering down” and moving forward with life as best as I could. I was sure that depression was my challenge and how I interacted with it day in and day out was my “life test.”
I will never forget the day around year 11 that I had a new thought: “You need to tell your children what is going in your world.”
What?! Why did that matter? Be vulnerable? That’s scary. It meant our children might see me in a different light. It might mean I was weak. It might mean the depression would get even worse because I would be shining some light on it–in front of my children!
Brene Brown gives a very insightful understanding of the importance of being vulnerable. When we aren’t vulnerable, we can’t connect–with ourselves and with others. Through much research, she discovered that people who are not vulnerable do not believe they are worthy of love and belonging.
As I reflect on my journey, I realize that I too believed that somehow I wouldn’t be worthy of belonging if people knew what I was facing, what I was feeling. Wow! The VERY thing that would help me move into mental wellness was a thorn in my side.
I am really grateful I chose to be vulnerable and tell our children what was going in my head. It created a path to the joy, gratitude, and happiness I now feel every day.
Where can you be vulnerable today and create a path for YOUR joy, gratitude, and happiness?
(first published Feb 8, 2018)