Why I Hid: A Retrospective Perspective (Journal Musing from July 2017)
When my blind spots were obvious, some may have thought my life was out of control, and the truth is, it was. Yet, I could not see it or was it that I 'would' not see it or frankly did not 'want' to see it?
But it wasn’t the result of partying or drug abuse or plain ol’ laziness. It was the direct result of the condition of my soul. Instead of talking about my journey and asking for help, I shut down out of shame, fear, guilt, and remorse, and the worry of losing all.
I tried self-medicating, and overpriced, watered-down, self-destructive vain imaginations. Even tried anything to make the chaos within me stop and to get back to some semblance of my former healthy self, but nothing worked. Well at least nothing in my own power. What on earth was I thinking and who was I seeking other than Christ? Was I really healthy to begin with?
It wasn’t until I confessed my faults one to another and got it out regardless of the reactions that things got better.
They weren’t great—h*ll, there were barely OK—but they were better. Why? I felt better because I broke the silence, I stopped hiding because I took one small but oh-so-significant baby step forward.
It’s taken me years to get comfortable saying I had some proclivities and tendencies in me that I hated and even emotional health issues that I didn't know existed within which were part of my normal, because let’s be real: Even though I know, and "kinda sorta almost" knew then, I should not be ashamed of anything, but I still was.
I let shame consume me and taunt me.
I let the idea of shame haunt me. The influence of being found out ravaged me.
I stayed silent because I was scared. I was terrified I was crazy and 'jacked up' and ever more afraid I wasn’t. I was petrified that perhaps I was a failure who just wasn’t cut out to cope with "real" things and my proverbial "religious“ life descended into a slippery slope of self flagellation and condemnation.
I stayed silent because I was sure no one would understand. How could I possibly explain the sadness, the depth and the breadth of my pain? And, conversely, how I could explain the lack thereof—the sheer loss of love and emotion in my life?
And I stayed silent and hid because I thought nobody cared. And for sure thought others would condemn me.
Admittedly, there are times when I still believe this. Days and weeks and months when I believe this.
But I was wrong.
You see, it can be embarrassing to talk about where you are and your strongholds and the invisible monster lurking under your bed, as you seek to rest or inside your head and even relationships. It can be difficult to explain the numbness, the emptiness, and the feelings of worthlessness. It can be difficult to explain how you feel alone—completely and utterly alone—in a crowd full of people, in a room full of your closest friends and family.
But it is just as difficult not to, because staying silent means staying ashamed.
Staying ashamed means staying isolated.
Staying isolated means staying silent and insulated where whatever is consuming continues to grow. And staying silent means staying sick. Period.
So, I’m not ashamed of anything man can do to me or what I had struggled with --not anymore. Sure, I’m still scared at times. I still hurt, and I still cry, but I’m done staying silent. I’m done feeling embarrassed and guilty and allowing my weaknesses, faults, trespasses to demean me. I’m no longer letting it define me. Why?
Because Mercy says restoration is here.
Forgiveness says confession opens the door.
Grace says I am designed to be me.
So to the friend who puts on a “good show” but cries behind closed doors,
to the colleague who seems to take one too many sick days or who stays silent and keeps to themselves, to the family member always sitting in the corner during family dinner,
and to the 'grown-adult-with-an-internal-child-who-feels-like-he-is-going-crazy-but-wants-to-believe-he-is-OK,' I say this: staying silent and hiding is tough. There are days you feel like you can’t make it, but you will.
Because you are tougher.
You are stronger.
You are resilient. And you are not your past.
You do make choices and soon enough your choices make you.
You are a person and a fighter, and you should never, ever be ashamed of the fight. Transparent? Yes! But silent, hiding and ashamed? No.