Oh heart of mine, why can’t you just be okay?

But no.  My heart is lonely, doubting, and telling me nothing’s even close to okay.

Something hit me yesterday, in counseling.  My family has moved on.  They don’t need me anymore.  I used to be the little girl who would do little things to cheer people up, to help them be okay.  I put myself in this place where I built up so many standards that I could never reach… so much pressure that I could never ease.  I was the one who could bring the smiles back.  I was the one who could lighten the load.  I was the one who people could depend on to listen.  My family depended on me, to a degree, for those things.  Or at least I believed they did.

It has been a comfort to be needed.  Not only in my family, but in friendships and other relationships.  I like taking care of people.  I like knowing that I can offer something that is greatly appreciated.  But yesterday… I realized that my family doesn’t need me anymore.  They’ve learned to get those needs met in other ways.  Maybe that’s how it always was… maybe they never needed me at all.  But  now… I am sad.  I’m glad they’re communicating with each other better, and they’re laughing together and connecting on so many things… but I don’t fit in with that anymore.  We don’t connect on much anymore.

I guess it hit home in the fact that I didn’t mourn my grandma’s death like everyone else is.  I wasn’t close to her at all; I haven’t seen her in several years.  Whereas everyone else has seen her at least once every year.  They’re all sad… I feel nothing.  I am so much of an outsider in this.

I’ve been gone so much of the past few years.  My family has grown away from me, shared experiences without me, and… they don’t need me anymore.  And now I’m leaving again, and it’s going to get worse.  I have felt like the black sheep for so long, but the feeling is more intensely clear now.  It’s like I’m not even a part of the family.  I know it doesn’t help that I’m moving away again… but the reasons I’m moving haven’t changed.  That still needs to happen.  It’s just… I’m sad.  My family doesn’t need me anymore.  While that’s good… does it mean they’re going to drop me completely?  Will they invest in a relationship with me?  Or will they let it all fade away?  Do they want me?  Or do they just want what I offer?

So I am sad.  My heart is sad, doubting, and scared.  I want to crawl into a hole and die.  I want to cut and binge and purge and everything.  I feel like I am only a burden to my family.  Maybe they would be better off without me.  Maybe everything is better this way.

I want someone to hold me, to tell me it’s gonna be okay.  This is hard.  It hurts.  My stupid heart.

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I wish sadness was acceptable everywhere.  There are some sadnesses that are so beautiful… I want to share them.  Some sadnesses are noble and brave; others are solemn and still.  Some sadnesses are wild and fierce, and they grab hold of you with such unshakable power that you cannot help but scream.

Yes, there are some that are selfish and petty.  But there are so many others!  And to ignore them or write them all off as nothing is simply wrong.

I have seen… and heard… people react as they found out they had lost a loved one.  It is often pure agony that they express.  I am helpless to fix the situation… I cannot bring their family members back.  I cannot take the pain away.  There is little to nothing I can do in the way of comfort.  The pain will not leave, no matter what I do or say.  I can offer my support and love, and stay with them through the pain, but the pain will not lessen because of anything I do.  It will only dull with time.

Depression is a sadness that lingers.  It is not usually as intense as fresh loss… but it is often related to loss of some sort nonetheless.  Loss of hope, loss of friends, loss of opportunity, loss of joy.  Depression often occurs after the death of a loved one.  But it is a different sort of sadness.

Depression doesn’t just go away with time.  Grieving is natural.  Everyone grieves in their own way, and some take more time than others, but depression cannot be eased by grief.  It lingers beyond with a paralyzing strength that takes over the desire to work, clean, eat, and move.  It steals the idea that someone could even do any of those things.  It makes even the simplest tasks seem like enormous impossibilities.  It wearies the body, so that sleep sounds nicer than anything else in the world.  But it robs sleep of its natural restfulness.

I am learning that depression may be something I may never get rid of.  It lingers still, even with meds that help.  I have dark days and darker nights, even though overall, I am doing better.  I still want to kill myself sometimes.  My mind still slides easily down that path.  Maybe these are things that will continue to get better as I continue to work on my thinking patterns and changing how I see the world and myself.  As the old paths become no longer so smooth with constant use, maybe my thoughts won’t go down them so quickly and easily.  But for now, oh, depression is still so strong.

It lingers.  Even with my chemicals more balanced out, I want to sleep all the time.  I don’t have much motivation or energy for anything, and it’s hard to enjoy things for very long.

This is why I still need help.  This is why I’m still in recovery.  My sadness is still so major.  I need help to not give up so easily.  I need help to keep hoping, to keep trying, and not want to die so much.

Some sadnesses are harder than others.  I think that depression might be one of them.

Tired, so tired… but so scared at the same time.  I want to hide.  I want someone to take care of me, to tell me it’s gonna be okay.  I don’t know why I’m feeling this way; I don’t know where these emotions come from.  All I know is I’m falling apart inside.

The closer I get to sleeping, the more I fight it… because the closer I get, the better I remember my dreams from nights before.

I don’t want to go back.

Dear God, help me.  I’m falling.  I feel like there’s nothing to catch me this time.  I want to give up.  I want to hide away from it all.  But I don’t even know what I’m hiding from.

Tears come.  Tears fall.  I don’t know where they’re from or where they’re going.  Make it stop.  Please, make it stop.  I feel sick.  I’ve felt sick all day.  I only threw up once… I ate too much… I should have thrown up every time.  I ate because I was hungry.  That’s what you’re supposed to do, right?  But I felt so awful.  I still feel so awful.

Where is God?  Why can’t I feel him?  Why can’t I see him?  Will nothing ever be enough for my aching soul?  Will nothing ever be anything?

Where’s the hope?  What am I living for?  It’s so hard to see anything right now.

I don’t know how close I got to passing out today… since I never actually do pass out.  Maybe I should ignore my instincts and just let it happen.  I don’t know why I felt… and feel… so sick today.  I felt weak and dizzy before I ever purged.  I wasn’t dehydrated, I don’t think.  But I kept bending down and getting up at work, and the world kept going black, and my head felt all fuzzy, and at one point, my knees buckled and I had to sit down.  I was just crouching, so it wasn’t far to fall…

I’m not low on food.  I’ve been eating more than I’ve eaten in a long time.  I hate it… but I am.  I don’t know what’s wrong with me.  My heart keeps skipping beats.  Breathing… it’s not that it’s hard… it’s just that my body forgets how to do it sometimes.  I had my first panic attack in months on Sunday.

Maybe I’m just tired.  Or maybe my depression and anxiety has redoubled their attacks.  I don’t know.  I’m tired, so tired.  I don’t know what I need.  I only know what I want… and why should that be right or good?  I so often want what is bad for me.

I want… someone to be here.  I want someone to pursue me, to not let me fall, to hold my hand through the terror.  I want someone to reach out and help me… but my mind is so muddled, I don’t know what that help looks like it.

I want God to be close to me like He used to always be.  I can’t see him anymore, now.  I miss him.  I miss his comfort.  I don’t like feeling so alone… because being alone from him is a deeper loneliness than any other in the world.  I want him to be here.  I want him to pursue me, to not let me fall, to hold my hand through the terror.  I want him to reach out and help me… because he does know what it is that helps.  He knows what it is that comforts me.  He knows what it is that cheers my heart.  He knows me.

So where is he?

I am so tired of walking alone.  I can’t do it anymore.  Dear God, my closest friend, please be here with me, please show yourself to me.  I miss you so much.  Please come back to me.  Please help me, show me your love again.  Let me feel your comfort again.  I’m sorry I haven’t been what I should be.  I’ve run away and hid and ignored you.  Because I am afraid of you.  I’m afraid you’ll judge me and hate me like I hate myself.  I know you love me… but I just can’t see how you can love me as much as everyone else.  I don’t deserve it.

I’ve been punishing myself for being alive.  Because I don’t deserve that… being alive.  I can’t see you fighting for me, because I can’t see why you would.  I don’t think you should.  I don’t think you should do anything that requires effort for someone like me… for me.  Maybe for others, but not for me.

Help me, dear God.  I don’t know what to do from this point on.  All I know is… I haven’t gotten this right.  I don’t know how to change.  But I can’t do it alone.  I can’t do anything alone.  Please help me.  Be with me, like you were when I was a lonely young girl.  Hold me, and comfort me with visions of your love.  Help me see you and feel you.  Help me know you are here.  I know I should trust without all this… but please, have mercy, and help me in this way.  I am weak, I am tired… I’m not as strong as I say and try to look.  Lord, have mercy on me, a failure.

There.  It’s out.  Finally.  I’ve cried another wave of tears, and I kinda let down my guard a lot.  Vulnerability… how I hate it.  If you pray, please pray for me, readers.

Finally.

The gates opened, and now they won’t close.  Tears streaming down my cheeks, constant– I’ve given up wiping them away.

Everything coming out… I can’t make it stop… I won’t let it stop.  I’ve been strong for so long again.  I never realize how much I push down, how much I hide and ignore, until something breaks and it all pours out.

I forget how much I want to die.

I forget how good that sounds.

Life is hard, so hard, and I am tired.  I want to stop!  I want it all to stop.  I don’t want to be responsible anymore.  I don’t want to live another day.  I want a break.  Do I even know how to take a break?  I don’t know if I do.  Everything is so foggy right now.  I don’t know what to do, or how to do it.  All I want is to curl up and sleep, but sleep has dreams, and I don’t want any more of those.  They scare me, or weigh heavy on my heart so much that I can hardly lift my head to face another day.

I want to be a little girl, the little girl I am in my dreams.  But then in my dreams I am alone and hurting and hurting everyone else, just like now.  I just want to be held and taken care of.  I want to not have to worry anymore.  I want to have someone else take care of things, so I don’t have to.  I’m so tired.  I’m gonna fail.  Everything’s gonna go wrong.  I can’t do this.  I don’t know how.  And I can’t be strong enough for it.

I’m too fat.  Too thin.  I need to lose weight.  Then I’ll feel better.

No.  I’m doing so well with that.  I can’t go back.

But I want to.  I really want to.  I miss everything.  I want to cut.  I want to purge.  I want to push myself until I black out.  I want to lose the weight.  I want to go too far.  It’s safe, it’s familiar, it’s everything I need right now.  It’s release, it’s comfort, it’s something making it okay.  Everything okay.  Something making me feel better.  Because no matter how much it hurt, I knew I deserved it, and so it didn’t hurt so much when I felt the disapproval, when I knew I was disappointing people.  Because I was already getting what I deserved.  Something was going right.  I didn’t have to hate myself so much, because I wasn’t withholding what I deserved, what I needed.

My head hurts.  I’ve got to do something, tomorrow, something that will help me have a break.  Maybe I’ll paint.  Lock myself in my room and listen to music and burn my scented candle and paint the awful things in my head.  No being strong, no pressure to be a part of things, no pressure to perform, no pressure to interact and reach out and be involved and help and cheer up and cheer other people up.

I will just be me.  In all my dark depression.  No hiding, no pushing it down.  Maybe some more crying.

Just me.

I want to dance again.  I want to live.

To really live, I mean, not just survive.  I don’t want to just be or look successful, or smart, or rich, or wise.  I don’t want to only be secure in things like finances and a house and a job.  I want those things, yes.  I need those things, to a degree.  But I don’t want that to be all there is.  Because if that is all there is… there is nothing.

I was thinking about that chapter in the Bible about love today.  It lists all these great accomplishments, and then says that without love, they are all nothing.  And then it goes on to describe love.

I want a life with love.

Love is a risk.  So much of a risk.  To love is to risk rejection, betrayal, and indifference.  To accept love from another is to risk deceit,  abandonment, and abuse.  Both are excruciatingly vulnerable and terrifying.  Part of me would rather just keep things as they were before, before I started challenging myself and my beliefs… before I began my journey in LIFE.  I could survive… for a while.  Then eventually… I’d kill myself.

As much as I sometimes want to believe I can go back, I can’t.  I’m alive.  I can’t undo what I have lived, what I have experienced.  I KNOW there is more than just the boring life of performance, dragging along doing what you have to so you can make it through another day.  I hate that life.  And the thing is, I have tasted love.  I have known unconditional acceptance from dear friends.  I know what it is to laugh through pain.  I know what joy the little things in life can bring… the things that cost so little in money.

Dancing, skipping, puddle jumping, snowball fights and snowman building.  Deep conversations that breathe life into relationships, life and depth and trust.  Drawing and making messes.  Doing the things that you get excited about.  Dressing up.  Dressing down.  Climbing trees.  Reading books.  Watching movies.  Crying, hugs, dead serious challenges or all out silliness.

I know what life is.  And now I can’t live without it.  I have to be truly living, loving, or I don’t want to live at all.  And that’s where the suicidal thoughts come in.  But I can’t do that anymore, either.  I know what this life can hold for me, for everyone, and I don’t want to miss out on it.  And I really don’t want anyone else to miss out on it either.  I want to help, if I can.

I am on a journey toward life, through life.  A journey to love others, myself, and God.  I know I can love others… but it’s hard.  Oftentimes, I want to stop and give up on everyone.  It feels safer that way.  But I can’t… not if I want to really live.  I have to keep trying.  Loving myself is even harder, because that involves believing I’m actually worthy of it, that I’m actually able to be loved.  So much of the time, I can’t do that.  It also means I have to accept love.  Sometimes it’s too scary, even coming from myself.  Loving God… that might be hardest of all.  I still need to learn how to let it be okay in my mind to love someone I’m also angry at, or who I’m trying to avoid.  And I need to accept his love, too.

I know that love is.  It exists.  Life exists.  I want to dance again, to feel alive again.

I am on a journey toward it, through it.  Here’s to living.

1 Corinthians 13

Let the wind pass.

Let it pass in all its fury,

Let it pass in all its fear.

I’ve been held in its embrace for so long,

So long in the hold of fury and fear…

Let it go

And let it pass.

I want to dance in the gentle breeze again, to taste the wild scent of life.

Let go the bitterness, let go the hate…

Ride a new breath this day.

There is life to be lived,

Without the heavy weights I cling to.

Let them go.  Let it pass.

Hold to a new breath now,

One of strength, yes,

But not of fury.

Not fury at myself and what I have done and failed to do,

Not fury at those who have hurt me.

Let it pass,

Let this wind pass.

Hold to a new breath,

One of gentle forgiveness and fierce love.

Forgiveness and love for others…

And also, even,

For myself.

Let the old wind pass.

Stop riding in its addicting folds.

Feel a new wind rise behind

And take the leap to ride it.

I’m realizing lately that I just don’t believe the same things I used to.  So much has changed… when I step back and look at things through big-picture lenses, I truly think I’m rising out of darkness.  There are dark nights still, dark nights and days and weeks… but it’s not as deep.  It’s like at dawn, when the world is just starting to turn gray, but it’s so faint and slow, it’s hard to tell if it’s really happening.  But then I look out and realize I can see the outline of a tree that was hidden in the folds of darkness an hour ago.  And then I know… maybe… maybe dawn is coming.  Maybe the sun is really going to rise.

Looking back, I’m starting to see the outlines, the hints of gray.

I don’t believe that nobody loves me.  So many, OH so many do!

I don’t believe that nobody sees me… I don’t believe I am invisible.  People see me and take interest in me and notice my little oddities… and they even notice when I’m struggling.  I am seen.  I am solid.  I am real.

I don’t believe that nobody really knows me.  People do know me… my quirky humor, my childlike-ness, my darkness, and my dreams.

I don’t believe that I am alone.  I’m not.

I don’t believe there’s no hope for me.  I’m beginning to see that there is, for me… even for me.

I don’t believe I’m too far gone to recover.  I can see my own progress, and I know that I can make it through this.

I don’t believe that everyone will hate me once they know my secrets.  There are a whole lot of people who have proved me wrong on that one.

I don’t believe I am unworthy of love.  As a human being created in the image of God, I am worthy of just as much love as everyone else.

I don’t believe I am unlovable.  Again, so many people have proved me wrong on that.  Especially kids.  They show love without abandon.

I don’t believe I am always a burden.  People really do actually enjoy my company sometimes.

I don’t believe it’s wrong to love myself.  I can’t say I actually do love myself, but I don’t believe it’s wrong anymore.

I don’t believe it’s selfish to rest.  It’s actually good… and not just physical rest, either.

I don’t believe I have to repay Christ’s gift of love and life to me, no more than I would have to earn it in the first place.

So many things.  So much more light.  So much more freedom.  Still so far to go… but that’s okay.  I’ll take it one step at a time.  One day at a time.  One moment at a time.

Recovery takes time.  Healing takes time.  Sometimes I can’t see the point in trying.  But it’s worth it.  It.  Is.  Worth it.

Someday I will be there.  Someday I will look back and realize I love and respect myself.  Someday I will realize I don’t believe I’m a monster, ugly, disturbing, and disgusting anymore.  Someday I will see myself as beautiful.  Someday I won’t be working so hard to keep everyone else happy… someday I’ll learn the balance between caring for myself and caring for others.  Someday, I will realize I don’t depend on other people  for my health and happiness anymore.  Someday, I will realize I don’t dread waking up to another day.

Someday… the sun itself will rise.

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