“Tell Me”




“Tell Me” is truly a diary song. I wrote it while admitting my need for help with my anxiety and depression diagnosis, but also in coping with trauma from emotional and sexual abuse in the music industry. The abuse only increased my mental and emotional struggle.


Anxiety and depression are sometimes misunderstood. They cannot be willed away, just as we cannot tell a broken leg not to be broken. While we can pray for healing from anxiety and depression, they are mental illnesses to be treated.


Anxiety disorders frequently have intense, excessive and persistent worry and fear about everyday situations. Often, anxiety disorders involve repeated episodes of sudden feelings of intense anxiety and fear or terror (usually unrealistic) that reach a peak within minutes (panic attacks). Anxiety and panic attacks interfere with daily activities, are difficult to control, and are out of proportion to the actual danger. One may avoid places or situations to prevent these feelings.


Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. It affects how you feel, think and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. You may have trouble doing normal day-to-day activities, and sometimes you may feel as if life isn't worth living. More than just a bout of the blues, depression isn't a weakness and you can't simply "snap out" of it. Depression may require long-term treatment. Most people with depression feel better with medication, psychotherapy or both.


An abuse survivor’s senses are heightened, for survival, warning their mind and body of potential danger. For myself, sounds were louder (voices, music, and tv/movies were too loud). Lighting was brighter or too bright (indoor lighting in stores, lights at concerts, sun rays through a window). My body reacted negatively to touch to the point where touch was painful (being hugged, being patted, someone standing close, someone coming up from behind, being touched on the back/shoulder). Sights (catching a man looking at me, seeing a man who resembled my abuser, a man’s grin or smile that reminded me of my abuser) and smells (a room deodorizer, a men’s cologne, soap) both sent triggers to my memory sensory. All of this caused varied reactions, making it difficult to cope.


My senses were over-heightened and I didn’t want to (or couldn’t) explain them. Asking not to be hugged or touched wasn’t always accepted and responded to well. Triggers were strong and threatened my well-being. Trauma is ugly and hard to admit. Depression and anxiety made all of this even harder.


To protect myself from being over-sensitized, I became reclusive. Uncharacteristic of me, I stayed home most of the time and passed on invitations. I avoided groups. I stayed away from attending church services and family dinners. I stopped performing, unable to “perform” or “fake” my way through an appearance. I avoided people I knew, those who would want an explanation of why I seemed different. I later heard the rumors of why they thought I was missing, which made the struggle harder yet.


I wasn’t myself. I missed “her”. So did my husband and sons. I knew I couldn’t stay that way but felt scared to go on and feel unprotected. In a desperate time of need I wrote “Tell Me”.



Verse 1

Tell me this isn’t forever

Tell me You’ll make a way

Tell me the fog will lift

Tell me I’ll be okay


Verse 2

Tell me You’ll soothe my mind

Tell me I’ll be okay


Pre-Chorus

Because I’m drowning

I’m falling

I’m fading away


Chorus

Tell me You’ll hold me close

When I don’t want to feel

Tell me You’ll speak above the noise

When I don’t want to hear

Tell me Your light will be a comfort

And not blinding to my eyes

Tell me as I crave solitude tonight

Tell me


Verse 3

Give me desire and purpose

Tell me You’ll lead the way

Tell me I’ll sleep in peace

Tell me I’ll be okay


Pre-Chorus

Because I’m drowning

I’m falling

I’m fading away


Chorus

Tell me You’ll hold me close

When I don’t want to feel

Tell me You’ll speak above the noise

When I don’t want to hear

Tell me Your light will be a comfort

And not blinding to my eyes

Tell me as I crave solitude tonight


Bridge

Jesus, lead me now

Lead me through the dark

Tonight

Jesus, lead me now

Lead me by Your hand

Tonight


Chorus

Tell me You’ll hold me close

When I don’t want to feel

Tell me You’ll speak above the noise

When I don’t want to hear

Tell me Your light will be a comfort

And not blinding to my eyes

Tell me as I crave solitude tonight

Tell me as I crave solitude tonight

Tell me



These past few years have been exhausting but healing. Healing has involved prayer, Scripture, counseling, medication, honesty with my husband and sons for my needs, learning who I can or cannot confide in, diet (healthy eating, everything in moderation), exercise (walks and hikes), saying ‘no’ when necessary, wiser choices in who I spend time with (avoiding negative or stressful people and instead spending more time with those who are patient and who listen), taking time for solitude to recharge, and proper sleep and rest.


If you can relate to having experience with mental illness or trauma/abuse, I see you. You are not your illness. You are not what has been done to you. You are as God created you to be. You matter and are important. You’re God’s kid - He really does love you. Allow yourself to be heard, treated, counseled, and healed. Love yourself.


If you are on the outside, please know how much you are needed. Stay in your loved one’s life - they need to know they matter. If you don’t know what to say, say that. If you notice them missing, text or call them. Do all of this often. Listen more. Learn about them. Learn from them. Grow in patience. Love them.


“Tell Me” was my personal lyric journal/diary song, now it’s yours, too. I hope it helps bring you closer to God, healing, and hope.


Keep going,

Rhonda Louise


("Tell Me", Music and Lyrics by Rhonda Janzen, Copyright 2020)


Song Stories