Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Great Charade

I am participating in an online study of Lisa Whittle's book, Behind Those Eyes. I read it earlier in the spring but I am excited to get to study it with a group of ladies online at Lelia's. If you click the book cover, it will take you to Lelia's site. You can see her reflections and links to the other ladies participating. My posts each Tuesday will be about the study. So, here is the first one:

It's been a hard couple of months, really hard. I take medication for depression. Earlier in the summer, I discovered that two of the meds would not be covered as they originally were. Instead of tier 1 they would be tier 3. Short end of a long story: I could no longer afford the medication. But my doctor and I agree that there is a biological basis for my depression and the medication was a need and not a want.

So, the beginning of July we started tapering off the meds to go on something different. Honestly, I think the euphoria I felt from my time at She Speaks carried me through the first couple of weeks. But then I bottomed out in a big way. The funny thing is, not many people would have guessed it.

One of the things that I've learned about mental health professionals is that they often gauge how well you are doing by how well you are functioning. They love the question, "Are you still going to work?"

Hello. It's me, Amy, we're talking about. Yes, I'm going to work. Yes, I'm paying the bills. Yes, I'm doing laundry. Yes, I am functioning. (Though the house is in awful shape. With all the outside functioning, I haven't had much energy to give to that.)

I'm on the upswing of new meds at the moment. But I certainly related to Lisa's chapter, "The Great Charade." I'm so good at it, no one outside hardly guesses the emotional turmoil. In reality, most women are pretty good at this charade of life. The problem is, as Lisa points out, it doesn't meet the longings of our souls.

What is the longing of our soul? Lisa writes:

We want someone to know us from the inside out, warts and all, and not think twice about our many flaws. We want unconditional love. We desire to find purpose. We seek attention, and we crave acceptance.

I am so there on that one. Oh, that someone knew me inside and out!

But wait, there is someone who does. Pslam 139:13-16 (NIV) says, "For you created my inmost being: you knit me together in my mother's womb . . . . My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, you eyes saw my unformed body . . . ." God knows me inside and out.

Granted, sometimes I wish that when I cry He could reach out and comfort me, hold my hand, brush back my hair, and whisper "I love you. It will be okay. I LOVE you."

Ironically, God puts people in our lives to be His hands and feet and mouth. When I insist on carrying out the great charade, I choose loneliness over fellowship. Sadly, I make that choice almost without a thought.

So, now I will pray that God would stop me when I pull on my superhero cape and pretend that everything is okay. I will pray that He will help me choose authenticity over pretending.

Will you pray that too?



Holly said...

Yes, I will pray for you Amy.I will pray that you will feel comfortable to be yourself. And I will pray that you will find a friend who can be Jesus with skin on and love you for who you are, not what you do. Someone that will know everything about you and love you all the same. We crave that in this world, unconditional love. And I pray that you will find that. I will also pray for your depression - that God will do a miracle and a good work through it. That he will use you to lead others and teach others. I also love Psalm 139 - read it daily my friend - it's powerful! He is our ultimate provider.

Anonymous said...

Oh Amy, this is so good, and I can completely identify with everything that you wrote here.

So many times I have chosen the loneliness over the fellowship, because I am so used to putting up the facade. I will be praying for you in this area... please pray for me too...

If you get the chance, sign yourself up on "Mr. Linky" on Lelia's page... so many others need to read this!!! Very powerful!
Love you!

Lelia Chealey said...

Thanks for not holding back Amy and sharing what is going on in your life.
I will be praying for you and you know I'm here for you. You got my #'s. ;)
I'm so happy you're doing this study. I think you share what most people would never and I just wonder how many you help. You are of much importance and your life matters.
God bless you Amy.
Much love,

Laura said...

Hi, Amy! Wow. Now that was REAL! Thanks for having the courage to share such an intimate detail of your life. I'm really looking forward to reading the rest of the book. The first chapter was really good, and very engaging. We could all use a little truth in our lives, Amen?

Karyn said...

Thanks for this article! It's wonderful to see how Christians are impacting the world through the internet. For a great blog that's assisting Christians to navigate the often bewildering territory of love and relationships in an increasingly secular world, check out www.christiancupid.com/blog

Kim@Seasons of My Heart said...

Thanks so much for your open and honest thoughts. It's so important to be open and honest...and I know you've found a safe place in this Bible Study.


Paula (SweetPea) said...

Wow. As I read this, I thought, oh how can she share such details...I could never admit my intimate details to the world wide web. Yet, you have touch me in a such a real way. I know exactly what you mean about the mental health professionals seeing "going to work" as a positive. I mean, yeah, I guess it's better than the alternative. When posed with such a reaction of a MH professional, I think but what about my insides. How do I heal the insides? How do I be more than just mere functioning. Yeah, working, sleeping, laundry, those are the easy things. How do I do the hard things...the emotional things.

I found such comfort in your honesty about depression. I've suffered from it since my husband left 15 months ago. I have good things in my life. I have things of which I look forward. I smile and laugh. But my insides still die. I still feel like I'm missing the real of life. I'm still feel I'm just "going through the motions". And I HATE that. That is not what Jesus wants.

Thanks for being real. Hope you can stop by and see what I had to say about the study. I'm not use to posting based on a study so I don't feel too confident about my choice of words.

Joyful said...

Amy, this is a powerful post! I too have that need to be known...really known...and loved and accepted.

Too often I have been the 'great pretender', while inside my heart is longing for someone to really see me. So often recently I have sat crying to God, wishing that I could feel His arms holding me. Like a little child, I want to crawl up on His lap and be held.

I grew up playing "dress-up" and although the costuming has changed, I still often find myself wearing masks to hide.

Praying God will help me choose authenticity over pretending,

Anonymous said...

Amy, I just had to come back and re-read your post.
I am less distracted, now that the kids are down... I hope I didn't sound pushy when I asked you to put up your link on Mr. Linky... you post was just so powerful... and I was excited about what you had written and wanted others to get to your site too. Please forgive me if I offended you.

"Granted, sometimes I wish that when I cry He could reach out and comfort me, hold my hand, brush back my hair, and whisper "I love you. It will be okay. I LOVE you."

This spoke to me so much. That is exactly where I have been, when I have been alone at night, and crying, when I have been in my counselor's office... so many places and times when I wished that I could have felt His actual touch.
thank you so much for sharing,
Love you,

Paula said...

Hi Amy, I too wish that God would just reach down and give me a hug too. That is why He sent my daughter I think. I am having one of those weeks where I wish that I actually didn't have to hold it together for the sake of appearances at work and to the outside world. I get so tired of putting on the charade and saying that I'm OK, even when on the inside I'm crumbling. Thankfully, as you say, that we have someone who loves us regardless of anything! His love for us goes beyong anything that we can possible imagine and ever experience with another human being, and I am so thankful that I am beginning to realise this. I don't have to be the person that others expect me to be; I just have to be the person that God wants me to, and knows I can, be. Your open and raw account of your life is refreshing, and is something that we can do here, because we are all here for each others as Sisters in Christ. I look forward to reading more of your posts to do with the study, and life in general, and please feel free to pop by my page and leave a comment or email me and say hi! In Him, Paula :-)

HIS Daughter said...

I love your heart - it's openess to share the truth and have those us out here pray with you and pray for you and to let you know...you are not alone.
HE is your Father even when you can't feel HIM. I just read today about a man named William Cowper who wrote so many of the great old hymns and John Newton (Amazing Grace) was his partner in writing.
That poor man suffered such horrible depressions all his life.
David Brainard the missionary suffered that as well as C.S. Lewis and modern day, John Piper.
Yes, Dr. Piper took anti-depressants and told people he did.
I suffered horrible panic attacks at age 19 from a traumatic experience in my early teens. I was given anti-depressants for it and it worked. My family has a biological history of chemical imbalance with low serotonin levels.

All of that long winded thing is to say - HE knows. HE knows the pain and the anguish and for whatever reason, this is part of our purpose here. Oh how HE loves you! HE is there and HE does hold you! I know because I have sat on the floor with my hands raised to HIM crying and HE comes..HIS presence falls...

GOD is most glorified when we are most satisfied with HIM in suffering, not ease. That is the hard thing and you are called and entrusted to do this! HE will see you through this.

Praying and sending love and blessings to you from VA,

Carol said...


"Ironically, God puts people in our lives to be His hands and feet and mouth. When I insist on carrying out the great charade, I choose loneliness over fellowship. Sadly, I make that choice almost without a thought.

So, now I will pray that God would stop me when I pull on my superhero cape and pretend that everything is okay. I will pray that He will help me choose authenticity over pretending."

I love how you put this, this exactly what I've done and it's the prayer of my heart as well. I live with a chronic illness, and have gotten so good at playing the charade that I'm not ill and nothing is wrong that it's caused relapses.

I will pray for you, to find the medication that works, but mostly that you will feel Gods loving arms around you when you feel that deep loneliness.

Grace & Peace.

rusty'swife said...


You go girl. This is one of the most powerful and humbling blog entries that I have read. You are honest and open about yourself, and as a result, you draw people to you. The joy that shines from your writing, showing that there is peace in the valley, and that you do not walk this walk alone. The God that knit you together in your mother's womb, is the same God that saves your tears, and holds your hand.