This post is going to be brutally honest.
I’m actually more afraid to be writing this piece than I am to fail out of college. I think it’s just because the thought of saying these things out loud make them real and I don’t want them to be real.
The thing is, I’ve been writing this blog for you and that isn’t what I want this blog to be. I need it because I have a voice that is worth hearing. I may not believe that on most days, but it’s true and I need to repeat it, especially on days like today when I am shaking while clicking on letters.
So like I said, this post is going to be vulnerable— because we like to fluff things up. Everything has to have aesthetic, and be perfect. We are expected to be “hipster” and “have our life together” on social media. It has to look like that from the outside looking in.
My life is not perfect. My life never has been and never will be. So I’ll say it again, and feel free to say it with me: my life is not perfect. But, there are perfect moments: playing at my grandmother’s farm when I was younger, my first time on stage, my first kiss, my first love, when I met my best friend, riding wheeled chairs down a sloped hallway. But there is also hurt: when my friend committed suicide, when my grandmother died, when I injured my knee and ruined possibilities, moving every few years, being bullied, being abused. So yeah, my life is not perfect, but it is filled with perfect moments.
Yet, no matter how hard we try to focus on the positive moments, the bad always come creeping in. And it’s okay sometimes, we need to see the ugly to appreciate the beautiful. But when you focus on the negative too much, it can get hard to see the good at all, it can get hard to breathe—I find myself struggling to breathe.
Depression has this way of asphyxiating any living thing that he can get his hands on. He shows up at your door like the ex-boyfriend who is trying to persuade you to take him back. And you could say no, you know that you could… but you don’t, his presence is too intoxicating for that. You have some weird addiction to the sadness. Or maybe, you’re just not used to joy. Being joyful scares you.
So I welcomed Depression into my home. Told him to take off his shoes and make himself comfortable. And let me tell you— he knows how to make a home out of anywhere and at night, depression can get chatty, like somehow this is a sleepover between best friends. He’ll call up his friend Anxiety and they’ll talk your ear off all night long.
I wasn’t sleeping, wasn’t eating, wasn’t thinking positively about anything and yet, I still smiled… I tried so hard to convince others and myself that I was fine. I am far from fine. I fell so much further into myself than I ever have before and the enemy was feeding me lies of unworthiness. I began to lose sight of the truth. The bible became a book that hurt me to read, I would get queasy when people would bring up God’s name in a conversation. It was like the guy who left you, like he left you hard. I felt so abandoned by God and I didn’t want to let go of Him, but I was also so hurt by Him that I denied Him like Peter did. I began to feel so inadequate, burdensome even.
So I pulled away from my closest friends. How could I bring them into this? How could I bring them down with me? They were all so happy or had things of their own to deal with… I couldn’t burden them with my problems. I turned to an unhealthy option, a path I thought I had been redeemed from. I got lost in the woods of relapse and still haven’t gotten my footing back yet.
I am not out of the woods yet.
I am not out of the woods and I am not in the clear but I am grateful for friends who have wandered in with flashlights to remind me of who I am and where I am. And I am thankful for a God who has created me and created the woods I am stumbling through blindly.
So these past two months have gotten progressively more messy, broken, and human. But I will not apologize for that. I will not apologize for crying for hours, for needing people and God and help. I will not apologize for my feelings because they make me human and they make me alive. But I will apologize for the consequences of my reactions to the feelings. I will apologize for hurting people unintentionally, and letting people down, and for hiding it from people. I am truly sorry because being a Christian means living in fellowship and community and that means being vulnerable with the people within that circle. I should rely more on that love.
I am sorry for the pain I caused other but I can’t apologize for mental illness and addictions. I am seeking help, I am confiding within my community. I think that there is this stigma to romanticize the struggle that people with mental illness and addictions and issues go through. I don’t want to come off that way, I want to make it clear that I fight for my life every time that a stray negative thought crosses my mind, I fight for my life every time I get triggered, I fight for my life every time that I relapse with self-harm and my eating disorder. There is nothing romantic in that. But I will admit that there is hope in healing, in recovery. There is hope in being any way redeemed—which we are, by the blood of Jesus Christ.
So when the lies swirl around you and tell you, on repeat, that you are alone, know that you are never alone. Did you hear that babycakes? Say it with me:
I am not alone. I am not alone. My life is not perfect, but there are perfect moments to live for. I am never alone.