My Story so far

Hey guys. My name is Branden and I’m a worship leader in Iowa. I’ve got an amazing wife, two awesome boys and an amazing support system but almost everyday, I struggle with depression and anxiety to the point where I can’t leave my home and go to my job. I’m the only one who works so every penny counts. I’m always told to go to God and give him everything but sometimes I feel like it’s not that simple. I want these feelings of self harm and shame to go away but I just don’t know what more to do.

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Thank you for sharing. I know how hard depression and anxiety can be. It sucks especially as a believer. Counseling has really helped me to start to find hope again. I think the main struggle with depression is the lies that we don’t deserve to get better or that we can’t get better. It’s changing the narrative we have believed for so long. I think talking about this with people we trust can take away some of the power. Something that has really been helping me is not judging myself and the hard days but having a different perspective. It’s recognizing the little steps I’m taking to move forward. It’s staying curious to getting better even if I don’t know what it looks like. It’s going to a coffee shop even just for half an hr and sitting in the sun. It’s asking someone to pray for me. It’s doing hard things like showing and eating and drinking water. It’s finding ways to be gentle and kind to myself. I know it’s overwhelming with any kind of recovery but it’s possible to manage symptoms and take small steps forward. It’s setting realistic goals. Not to recover I can’t ever be anxious or have a bad day again. More how can I meet myself on the hard days. How do I keep clinging to hope. Maybe it’s talking with someone on staff at church and just asking for support or just prayer. You don’t have to go through this alone. Thank you for being honest with us. I hope you can find small steps you can take to keep moving forward.

Wow. That was totally on point. A lot of the times I just don’t feel worthy of forgiveness from my past or I don’t deserve peace in my life and in my heart. I’ve just been more open about how I feel and making life changes like exercise, diet, etc. I lead a song a week ago called no longer slaves and it was just hard to sing because I just don’t believe that song right now. I feel I’m stuck in fear which somehow reflects my heart towards the father you know?

I completely understand. I’ve lived most of my life just surviving and hating myself. My counselor put this idea into my mind about living and it scares me more than surviving. Yet I’m finally in a place where I’m more open to this. I open to even looking at dreams which is huge. After months of continuing to fall into self destruction and self hate I’m doing hard things despite fear, despite the unknown. I’m trying to change my narrative and find who I am in Christ. Even if it’s me going to him constantly in a place of unbelief I’m still trying to see things differently. I think the biggest thing I’ve learned in this season is we can’t do it alone. We need people to show us truths and ways to change those negative thoughts. Fear is the biggest way the enemy will attack but I know for me I’m tired of living this way and despite depression and anxiety I keep taking steps forward. Please don’t ever give up hope. Help is real and it takes time to get better but it’s worth it. Rooting for you. Keep asking yourself the hard questions. Doesn’t matter who you are or what you have done you still deserve support and help. You can choose if you want to change if you want to surrender your strong holds. You can choose to see life differently. Doesn’t mean it won’t be hard you won’t slip up or have bad days but you will have something that will keep you going.

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Thank you so much for reaching out to me. It’s seriously been the best conversation I’ve had in awhile. How can I pray for you?

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Really glad I was able to help. I wish there wasn’t so much stigma with mental health and judgement. We live in such a weird culture where people say they care but than don’t respond to texts for days which I try to be understanding of but it’s still hard. People seem to be distracted with their own stuff instead of doing life together. It was good talking to you. Can you pray that I can balance going back to work and my mental health. I took time off due to stress and burnout. I don’t want people to constantly watch me or think I’m cured and in this great place. I still have hard days. I have a lot of fear that I won’t be able to handle everything going on right now. Is there anything I can specifically can be praying for? Will be praying that you can get the help and support you need.

From: tromboness

That sounds like a hard place to be when you are the sole provider and it being difficult to fulfill that role because of your personal struggles. The shame feeling that way is difficult to shake off. This is a safe place to be vulnerable so that you can build up some resilience against that shame. Keep fighting through the hard times and don’t give up.

From: microsmosknit

It’s really hard to have to face both depression and anxiety, but please don’t be ashamed for what you feel. You’ll need now to take care of yourself and be really kind to yourself especially when you feel vulnerable. Depression forces you to slow down and take babysteps. And it looks like you assume a lot of things in your life so it may be hard to accept it. But you have the right to feel vulnerable and take time for yourself. <3

I have to fight my depression and anxiety daily. It feels like it’s not worth it and the bed is a comfort. I have given myself a reason to get out of bed. I have 2 cats I have to feed, I have Plants I need to water. I have people who want to see me and love my company. Sometimes it’s not enough to keep me out of bed but it’s enough to allow me to try everyday. You have your family and the people you lead, use them as a light in your dark moments. Talk to your wife if you haven’t.You may find a way to find strength and love in life again.

Hold Fast, you got this.

From: nightsilas

I feel like society puts ALOT of pressure on men sometimes to be these strong providers. That you HAVE to be strong ALL the time, and showing emotions and sharing your struggles is shameful and weak. Which isn’t the case at all. Please reach out and open up to someone, even if it’s just a friend. Your struggles with all this pressure and guilt are real and actually a really common issue that men, especially fathers face. <3 You’re not alone.

Hi Branden, I know the feeling of wanting to put it all in the Lord’s hands, wanting him desperately to change it. In some ways I felt at times like I was doing it wrong praying wrong or some nonsense. I left it with I know he loves me. I will also look for tools to help myself. After all, these things I discover are also gifts from him. Look into some buddha teachings, look into radical acceptance and mindfulness. They absolutely help. Not fix but do help.

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