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Sometimes, the hits just keep coming, don’t they? Last week, the darkness had it’s claws in me so deep, I wasn’t sure whether I was going to be able to come up again. Tis the season. It doesn’t seem to matter how much I prepare, the flood waters come, and they pull me under with unrelenting fierceness.
But I’m learning the God is in the belly of the whale with me. Even when everything is burning around me, and I don’t even know if I’ll survive, He’s there, holding my hand when I can’t see him. And throughout everything, all the pain and darkness and disappointment, He’s the only one who knows it all and yet doesn’t shy away. I don’t know if I’ll ever be free of the rot inside my head, but I’m starting to be at peace with it, in a weird way. I’m learning to be content and be gentle with myself, and then just keep getting back up again.
We keep getting up again, don’t we? Even if not for a long time, even if in the darkest moments we swear we are done, we get up again. Most of us. Some of us, my love, become too tired and scared and discouraged to fight anymore. The system is broken and makes it difficult for us to get even a foothold sometimes. And then the devil gets a foothold on us. It’s exactly the opening he’s looking for to tell us that things would be better if our lives were over, because what are they worth, anyway?
I started this online journal as a way to create empathy with myself and others when it comes to the deepest, darkest turmoils of the mind. But sometimes things are so bad that I can’t even write to you. Things get so bad that even moving feels impossible. Never mind getting dressed or leaving the house or doing anything other than what keeps the edges of the thoughts rolled up. What I think others don’t understand, and what I don’t understand sometimes, is that we live on the edge of a precipice. All the time. We are holding on with everything we have, but the slightest breeze still sends us down into the canyon. And then, somehow, we have to try to make our way back up to the top again. One agonizing step at a time, and God forbid another breeze comes, because then we have to start all over again from the bottom. We live in terror of this breeze. This terror tells us not to move a muscle, no sudden movements, not one, because then we will slide back down. Maybe there’s something within reach that could help us, but how can we risk letting go of our death grip to risk trying to grasp it? Maybe taking a shower will make me feel better. But maybe something will go inexplicably and terribly wrong, just one more thing in a line of things, and I know I’m better off to keep sitting, and staring, and not looking to the left or the right. Maybe going to bed will help me have more energy, but maybe I’ll be tormented by sleeplessness and nightmares instead. Maybe trying to make something to eat will give me a boost, but but maybe I’ll stub my toe on the way down and the pain will radiate not just in my body but in my self-esteem, calling me a klutz and an idiot and a person too dumb to live.
Maybe I’ll rise. Maybe I’ll fall even further.
I wanted to keep track of how I’ve been feeling throughout these endless cycles, and share with you ways of rising above and moving beyond these bricks that keep landing in our path. Ways of coping that allow us to live lives that we can be proud of, even if it’s just a quarter mile at a time. But I know what it’s like to sit there, knowing there are all sorts of things that need your attention, but those things are like bats beating their wings outside of your glass box. If you open the door, even a crack, all of them will swarm you and devour you, and you’ll be left battered and bruised. I know what it’s like to have people depending on you and waiting for you and needing you to do something, yet you can’t move a muscle. You tell yourself it will be the last hit or the last drink, but later realize it’s the only thing that keeps you from caving in. The more they need you, the more you fail. The more you try to do, the more you fail.
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“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him.”
~ Romans 15:13