People With Anxiety And Depression Don’t Always Look Like They Have It

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“People with anxiety and depression don’t always look like they have anxiety or depression. That’s because appearances never tell the whole story.

I’m a mom, wife, friend, author, speaker, nature lover, trail hiker, book reader, and nap taker—I love my life! I’m also a woman who struggles with mental health.

My smile in this photo is genuine! But there are also days (and long, hard seasons) when a smile like this masks a racing heart or deep sadness. Times when tears linger just below the surface and my body is tense with adrenaline I can’t tame.

Lots of things have helped me on my mental health journey: therapy, medication, breathing exercises, prayer, and cutting caffeine, to name a few.

But one of the most powerful gifts has been BEING HONEST about mental illness.

Being honest with myself, with God, and with people who care about me. AND hearing others honestly share about their experiences. That’s because shame festers in the darkness but healing happens in the light! We have to take our struggles out of the darkness of isolation and bring them into the light of shared experience.

Anxiety and depression (or other types of mental illness) do not make you a bad person, bad mom, bad Christian, bad [fill in the blank.] Anxiety and depression make you someone who simply needs extra support. Like a diabetic who needs to change her diet or someone with anemia who needs extra iron to feel right—you are worthy of support. It is good to admit when you’re not okay and get the help you need.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, so I just wanted to do my small part to break the stigma and let someone out there know they aren’t alone. Maybe that’s you. Or maybe you can share this post so someone who is smiling on the outside but struggling on the inside can find the courage to reach out for support.

Thanks for being here and for being you. The world needs you. You are loved.”

woman stands looking to the side and smiling
Courtesy of Becky Keife

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Becky Keife. You can follow her journey on Instagram and Facebook. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.

Read more from Becky here:

‘Though the world would cringe at my off-key melodies, my sons say my nightly bedtime songs are their favorite way to end the day.’: Mom shares importance of sharing talents

‘Some days I still feel anxious. Irritable. Sad. Yet, I’m grounded. I haven’t lost my footing.’: Woman shares how antidepressants have boosted her mental health

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