coming clean: a diagnosis

My name is Rebecca Jean Verona. I am 21 years old. I am a college graduate. I am a Christian. I am a daughter, friend, co-worker, girlfriend.

Newly, I have been diagnosed with major (or clinical) depression and anxiety.

I start my medication tomorrow.

Phew. Wow, it feels good to be real about a part of myself that I had been unfamiliar with for so long. I had suspected my depression for weeks now, but have been tiptoeing past the issue hoping it was situational and that with time it would go away.

It didn’t.

It progressed as life marched steadily forward and I found myself losing my identity. I functioned, but I did not live. I smiled, I laughed, but I was not joyful. The natural bubbliness that I had known all my life had faded away, and in it’s place was a scared, lost, and lonely girl. Truths I had known all my life had suddenly become meaningless to me. Life faded into gray days that left me feeling more hopeless than I had ever felt in my entire life. Truthfully, I even found myself suicidal.

I even changed as a person. As my depression and anxiety whispered lies into my ear, I began to believe them. I pushed people away, I became withdrawn, irritable, paranoid, and envious. I hurt my community immensely in this time, and I am so grateful that they have chosen to stick around to walk with me through this.

After a week of God exposing me to this huge part of my life I had been hiding from, I finally came clean to my mom. I was surprised at how quickly she embraced the news. Before I could really even process, I found myself diagnosed and with a prescription on the way. I left that day feeling lighter than I had before, seeing clearly, feeling hopeful. I was and am still depressed, don’t get me wrong. The chemicals in my body are still working against my spirit, but for the first time in a while I feel as if I can distinguish myself from my illness.

I have so many things to say about this. About the stigma surrounding mental health, about how the church and Christian community speak about the issue, about my anger and grief directed at God, about my identity… but for now, I leave with this…

I am fighting to beat this illness, and YES, it is an illness. I will not be overcome. God is walking with me through this, and I am ready to see what He does in my life in the days to come.

-Soli Deo Gloria


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