How long can you not be ok before it becomes not ok? Can I keep writing about not being ok? I write to put my problems back in perspective, to process my emotions or lack thereof, and to point myself back to God. I look for hope at the end of every blog post for myself as much as for those reading, but most of them still come off as depressing. Right now I’m having a very hard time finding hope, and so the devil on my shoulder says writing is not worthwhile. This has been my struggle all summer, with so much to say but so little hope. But I need to write. I need to let it out.
I thought that for a while, I was doing better. Good. After a lot of struggling, my depression led to a necessary intervention this summer. Hospitalization, reset, tears, medication, long talks, letters. Long stories of things I really needed, yet I still have not brought myself to write about. It’s hard, when I hit such a low point in my life just months ago, to feel like I’m back on the decline again. Some days I want to do something about it. Other times I don’t have the will to get out of bed.
A lot of questions. I feel like that’s all my life is right now. Is life one big question? What am I doing? Why’d you just do that? You know you shouldn’t be doing that. What should I be doing? Is my medication working? Does this really help? Will I ever find love? Will I understand why this all happened some day?
I remember the feeling of purposefulness, or maybe more just the lack of that empty feeling in my chest. I remember waking up and being excited about whatever life had to offer for the day. I remember contentment and joy. Easy smiles and laughter. I think it makes it just that much worse when I can sense those feelings slipping away again. I remember them, and sometimes I have them. I know they’re real, I know that God has good in store for me, but knowledge is not my reality. And I know that is a terribly depressing thing to say and that it’s not all true. I’m just trying to explain how I can know that this feeling of hopelessness should not be here but it is here nonetheless.
It’s hard to describe depression. A lot of days it’s just numbness. Interactions feel forced. I can smile and laugh but it's just a facade. Fake. I want to be sad. I want to be happy. But intense feelings are intense. And putting in effort takes too much effort. So I retreat. I disappear. I like to get lost in worlds so vastly different from my own on TV and in my head so that I can live in fantasy and forget about normal life. Some days I can’t eat. Some days I can hardly roll out of bed.
It has now been a month since I wrote that. I’m back to revisit it. Determined to post, regardless of how perfectionistic I am or reluctant to put something on here I don’t have a coherent vision for.
I don’t know if I’m doing any better.
For the most part, I can just barely maintain the appearance of a functional life. Other times, when I can catch myself with a spark of motivation, I get out of bed and clean my room, run some errands, text a friend. I don’t want to convince myself into a worse condition than I am, but I have good days and bad days.
I still don’t know what this post is. A status update? A plea for help? A small effort to prove to myself that I am trying?
I want so desperately to tell you all that I’m learning how to handle my depression better. That I’m running to God in my despair. That I am standing up after every time I fall and that I’m relying on the One who is strong when I am weak. I know what I should be doing. Some of it at least. I know I should be journaling more. Praying more. Reading my Bible more. Going to church. Reaching out to friends. Spending time with my family. Watching less TV. Rambling less. I know no one is perfect but it would be nice to feel like I’m doing my best. So right now it’s so discouraging to feel like I’m incapable of trying my best.
But what lies am I telling myself that paralyze me? Where is the line between depression and just ignoring God? And how are those two things related? There is hope here somewhere. In my failures and in my ramblings. There is forgiveness and a path to better places. There are baby steps I can take every day, no matter how far behind myself I feel like I’ve fallen. There is a way to honor God while depressed, even if I’m not living that out now.
So here I am. I wanted to describe depression in a way that captured how different it is from day to day. How debilitating and deceptive it can be and how frustratingly easy it seems like it should be to overcome sometimes. As always, I was going for articulate and profound, which I don’t think I achieved in the slightest. I’m posting this here simply because I need to post. There have been too many unfinished ideas in my head because I could not get through this draft sitting in my Google docs all summer. I hope that while reading, some of you felt a little bit more understood or less alone. Or I hope I cleaned off the window into my inner life a little bit more, so that you could see me a little more clearly. So thank you for getting to the end, for whatever reason you read. I can’t squeeze out any more of a hopeful final message or takeaway, nor can I shake the feeling that I should also be giving more to my readers than depressed scribbles.
But that’s all I have for now.