Yes, I am a Harry Potter fan.

But that’s not what this is about.

It’s about He Who Must Not Be Named. For those of you not familiar with the Harry Potter books the antagonist is the Dark Lord Voldemort. He is the leader of an evil group called Death Eaters who are driven to establish Lord Voldemort as ruler.

There is so much fear, mystery, and stigma surrounding Lord Voldemort that people dare not mention his name. Instead he is commonly referred to as He Who Must Not Be Named.

And so he is known. As long as his name goes unspoken and the shadows loom over his being, the fear grows, the stigma continues.

Until Harry has the courage to speak his name. It shocks those who hear him speak the name “Voldemort”.

But Harry knows better. By speaking his name, Voldemort loses some of the stigma. Every time he calls Voldemort out by name fear subsides, just a little. He is no longer a mystery. He is someone with a name. And someone with a name is defined clear with limitations and weaknesses and fears. The stigma lessens. The people begin to believe Voldemort can be vanquished.

I find the story behind He Who Must Not Be Named an inspiring one.

In fact, I will name my own He Who Must Not Be Named: I feel alone. I struggle with symptoms of depression and social anxiety.

There. I said it.

I get sad. Like really sad. Sometimes at the drop of a hat. I feel like I cry more than an emo kid in high school.

I have a been a notorious self-saboteur for most of my life. I frequently do things to crumble my own efforts, terrified that my own success has to come at the demise of others.

I avoid people because I get anxious and tired around them. I do not feel like I know how to connect with people. I’m afraid they will see me as the impostor I am. And so I feel alone.

The wild thing about all this is that I have so much that brings me joy. A beautifully strong wife. Adventurous kids. A caring and supporting family. A great gym family. A growing business. A vibrant faith in a great God.

And so I hear the question echo, “You feel sad?”

Yes. I do. And I am not afraid to say it anymore. He Who Must Not Be Named will lose his sting.

I’m thankful for an amazing wife who just gets me. I’m thankful for a few great friends who understand and patiently walk with me. I’m thankful for a therapist who is wise enough to give me strategies to better navigate these emotions. I’m thankful for the opportunity to finally speak the name.

It starts with this podcast I did with my dear friend, Rebecca Boskovic. Consider it a sort of coming of age. It’s out there now. And this year I will dedicate myself to vanquishing He Who Must Not Be Named and help as many people as I can do the same thing.