Pieces of Me

I have depression. This isn’t a newsflash to basically anyone on here and you’re all probably tired of reading that. Fair enough.

 

The point is that I never stop being ashamed of saying it. It never stops feeling like a major revelation each time I have to admit to myself or a new person or even someone who already knows that I have/struggle with/experience depression. It never stops being humiliating that I can’t do something or go somewhere or want something anymore because I deal with this…whatever this is: chemical imbalance, spiritual issue, Fall disorder…

Every time I tell a new friend that I’m having a bad day or I feel bad and I have to explain that it’s not a cold or a flue or even allergies, but my brain and body squishing out my will to live…I feel a little bit of me die. Withdraw. Shrivel up. Because now the relationship expectations change. I’m now the broken one. The one with something wrong that the other person doesn’t exactly understand. That they want to help fix or alleviate, and so they tentatively offer support or hot soup or to “talk.” And they look at me like I’m a ticking time bomb about to go off. One day, she’s going to lose it, go ballistic, kill herself, kill someone else, what if she cries in public?!

 

But.

None of my real friends or family or work team has ever actually said any of those things. They have never expressed that kind of distaste for my presence or fear about anything other than my well being.

So those questions. Those fears. Those accusations.

They come from me.

 

I’m going to embrace me. And no, I don’t mean hug myself like patting myself on the back. I’m going to stop apologizing for being depressed. I’m going to stop caving in around myself and blaming myself and castigating myself because my behavior dictates how other people see me. How I react to my disease/imbalance/sin problem influences how other people react. If I’m ashamed and scared, why shouldn’t they treat me as something shameful and to be afraid of? But if I am open about this part of myself, that it hurts, but that it’s no different than a chronic illness or a preference for a certain type of weather…Then that’s what other people will treat it as.

 

I had a bad day. I didn’t follow through on a plan. And I had to tell someone that I couldn’t follow through. And told them, as a result, that I struggle with depression. Because of that convo, I questioned whether this person would ever talk to me again. Would they accept me or shame me or freak out and run away because OH NO SHE HAS DEPRESSION.

But for heaven’s sake. It’s not the plague. They can even cure that now, I hear. So I have bad days. Sometimes I cry irrationally. Or take a few extra minutes to get out of bed in the morning.

And seriously, almost everyone does that, with or without depression.

So here’s a promise to myself, to God, to my family, to my friends, to my one day friends: I am going to accept this piece of myself. I will be okay with it. I will heal it to the best of my ability and I will not apologize for it (as long as I’m not actually hurting someone else). And that is going to be pretty darn near impossible for me, but that is what I want to do.

Thank you for sticking around.

Because you really should.

 

I’ve been told I’m worth it.

Horse Rides

They tell you when you fall off a horse to get back on. What they don’t tell you is that in addition to the actual, physical pain of falling off is the humiliation of falling off the darn thing. And that you feel abashed about falling off in the first place for no good reason and are getting back on again for no good reason.

In other words, I’m back, baby.

And it’s bad.

 

As a quick recap, last semester I did a stint as a GA at BJU. I also worked a second job as a glorified bus girl at a fine dining restaurant (which was a ton of fun, but didn’t contribute positively to my sleep cycle). I was busy, made some great memories and nearly had a complete breakdown, but I quit everything right in the knick of time, much to my chagrin.

Because really, I liked both my jobs. A lot. And I hated both my classes. A lot. But it was the never eating, sleeping, or exercising that really kicked me in the gut. So I quit. I made the correct tactical, spiritual, physical decision and severed my contract, stopped doing pre-med, and left the restaurant. But it still feels like quitting.

 

So I’m back home. Currently unemployed. Searching for jobs, living in my parents’ non-basement.

But I’m also back home. With my parents. My favorite people on this earth.

I’m getting involved in church, slowly but surely. I even added a college and career group from a completely different church.

I’m spending time with Jess and the DFL.

I’m sleeping. What a miracle: I’m sleeping.

 

And as much as I didn’t have a good excuse for dropping the blog last semester, I have even less of an excuse now. So I’m going to eat a slice of humble pie and try this whole thing again.

And finish this pair of socks I started.

 

Except for the “not financially contributing to the house” part, unemployment isn’t too bad.

Maybe the horse isn’t, either.

Is It Me?

Is it me?

Am I too loud

Or too quiet

Or when I speak do my caustic words scratch against their comfort

Or do they just scar me?

 

Is it me?

Does my sense of humor disgust

Or reveal the internal injuries

Or am I just not funny?

 

Is it me?

Is it my personality

Or my perception of myself

That makes people flee

Or am I pushing them away when they try to stay?

 

Is it me?

Am I too selfish

Too open

Too honest

Too vulnerable

Too broken

Too insecure?

 

Is it me?

Is it them?

Is it God?

Discontent, Disassociation, Disorder

 

I’ve been sleepwalking, been wandering all night
Trying to take what’s lost and broken and make it right
I’ve been sleepwalking too close to the fire
But it’s the only place that I can hold you tight
In this burning house…
-Burning House
What happens to a dream deferred?
      Does it dry up
      like a raisin in the sun?
      Or fester like a sore—
      And then run?
      Does it stink like rotten meat?
      Or crust and sugar over—
      like a syrupy sweet?
      Maybe it just sags
      like a heavy load.

 

      Or does it explode?
– Langston Hughes

But if you have bitter envyings and strife in your hearts…lie not against the truth. – James 3:14

 

“The Greek word for confusionakatastasia, has the idea of disorder, instability, chaos, unsettledness, revolt, tumult.” – Steve Pettit, Wisdom from Above

 

 

 

Chaotic Mind

What do you do when you can never be where you are?

When your only focus is so far inward that you can’t see daylight or even know what daylight is?

When what you’re thinking about so obscures life you don’t know what day it is or what you’re doing?

You can’t hear people talking to you.

You can’t see things right in front you.

Because you’re somewhere else.

 

What do you do?

 

Do you ignore the internal dialogue?

Do you create a new rhythm to drown out the one slowly taking over your entire self?

Do you rehearse the steps of the day so you can maintain some sort of normality?

Or do you let it sweep you away?

 

What if you were swept away?

 

Would you discover new things?

New stories?

New pictures?

New words?

Would you find the answers to the questions you know and don’t know that plague you?

Would you find peace?

Would you find anything at all?

 

Would the outside world disappear?

Would it just fade?

Or would it move on without you?

 

What if it can’t be ignored?

Or silenced?

 

What if it demands to be heard?

What if it’s more important than the task at hand?

Than the person in front of you?

Than anything else?

 

What if it dominates your life to the point where you’re so disconnected you no longer know what’s rational or not?

What if it is the only sense, the only melody, the only plan, the only anchor?

 

What if it destroys you?

What if it destroys your life while you’re distracted with its never ending speeches?

What if it gives you everything you want?

 

What if?

What if?

What if?

Lusts, Choices, Gifts

“From whence cometh wars and fightings among you? Come they not hence, even of your lusts, which war in your members?”

James 4:1

 

Not just between Christians. But within ourselves.

That torrential, disastrous pit of all-consuming fury and despair and want. That comes from lust. That tearing between this world and our eternal home. What we know we need, must, ought to do with what we want, what we feel, what we wish for.

Wishing, desires, wants aren’t bad. They aren’t evil. They can strongly coincide with God’s will.

Wanting a spouse.

Children.

To do good and be good.

Heaven.

A good meal.

A pretty dress.

 

But my discontent comes from wanting. From not resting. From seeing the burden God has given and ignoring the gifts He’s bestowed and wanting something different. From wishing to be free of the inexorable path of righteousness of following His name. From feeling trapped by and into only one set of good choices that do not allow for any deviation.

“Do not sacrifice the eternal on the altar of the immediate.”

Bob Jones Sr.

 

But do not sacrifice the immediate on the altar of the eternal, either. We are not consigned to misery and only duty and complete, mindless obedience regardless of desire. Our only choices are not just for the doldrums, for the cold, clinical idea that all good things can only be hard and painful.

We get to have simple pleasures.

We get to make choices.

We get to choose. And not just the hemmed in, only one choice is good, Christians can only do, kind of choices.

 

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and cometh down from the Father of Lights…”

James 1:17

 

The Father of Lights. The Father who does not give stones when His children ask for bread. And when His children ask for roses too, He has bouquets and fields and the entire earth waiting for them.

I am allowed to have material pleasures. But they are not my solace.

I am allowed to have people, invest in them, rely on them. But they are not my Saviors.

I am allowed to step into my future. I am allowed to make the hard, clinical choices that lead to that future. But I can also choose to love art. I can still have beautiful things and live a life. I can step outside of grades and hard work and depression and breathe and hold beauty in my hands.

I am not a slave to good choices or my lusts.

But I am the bondservant of my King.

New Tech

I have a new monitor, thanks to the lovely people at IT.

 

I did submit a ticket, just like one is supposed to. I didn’t request any special privileges based on my connections.

 

But it still doesn’t hurt that my old supervisor has my number and checked with me on why I needed a new monitor. And it didn’t hurt that the techs are my friends and popped right over. And it doesn’t hurt that I can truly appreciate this fabulous, beautiful, oh so nice widescreen they brought me.

They’re the same privileges everyone else gets.

But it doesn’t hurt to feel at home.

“So what do you do?”

“Do you like your new job?”

“So like, do you call people?”

 

I work for the Admission Office at Bob Jones University. But I will probably not be calling you on the phone. I know: you’re crushed.

Instead, I am more of a planner.

A coordinator.

A folder of t-shirts.

 

Basically, I do whatever I can to help make my boss’s life easier. I assist with travel arrangements (and all the bookings that entails) and assemble packages and packets that go to various recruiting events. If you’ve ever gotten a free t-shirt, or a bag with a pen and flyers in it, your college promoting freebie was courtesy of the work of someone like me.

They also trust me to drive and handle the group credit card, which is rather exciting. Not that I can do much damage with the thing, but it’s nice to know I have some level of respectability and trust in my lowly GA position.

Apparently, at certain times of the year, I get to be the personal shopper and wardrobe person for a small number of people we then send off to represent the university for a semester. The fact that someone is trusting my personal judgment and sense of style is not only laughable, but mildly terrifying. I like how I dress, but it has been described as “colorful” and “I couldn’t pull that off” and “I wish I were as brave as you.” Aka, apparently I blind people on a regular basis.

At any rate, I’m very much enjoying myself. The other perk that I did not forsee is that the large majority of the male population in my current social set is married. That 3 months we broke for summer was hitching season. This makes life very much simpler, as if it was complicated before.

 

In other work-related news, I have also started a position as a server’s assistant at Breakwater. Breakwater is an amazing restaurant in downtown Greenville. So far, I fill waters, clear and reset tables, and generally try to be the opposite of a nuisance to the real wait staff. At this point, I have succeeded except for the one unfortunate incident where I ended up wearing a cocktail. The server carrying the aforementioned beverage was exceedingly gracious, but I still wished I could disappear for a while. Flashy baths aside, I’m loving my new job. As an added bonus, Georgia, my dear friend who has stuck with me since Freshman Orientation, works there as well.

 

All in all, I’m excited about both positions. Now to see what happens when school kicks in as well.

Lyrics I Love: He Will Hold Me Fast

I have been drifting. There has been a looseness in my daily walk that I’m not proud to admit. I do my devotions every day and the words on the page mean very little to me. I pray and can never manage more than maybe a minute or two of pleas. I am tired of being angry. I am tired of feeling alienated. I am tired of not being able to practice what I believe. It isn’t even that I don’t believe in Christ anymore. It’s that my belief has morphed into something I don’t like. A jaded, cynical look at Christianity that is no more accurate than it is healthy.

I believe that God always is working towards my good. But that my good is pain and suffering on earth.

I believe God has a plan for my life. But that plan must needs be nothing I want and everything to make me miserable.

God loves me. But that means that I have to deal with whatever He gives me, no matter how cruel or pointless or droll.

 

That is the poison I’ve been only half-heartedly fighting for a while now. That even if God is good, I just have to “endure” for the rest of my life.

 

Tonight, I was challenged that one of the first signs of a spiritually mature (or maturing) Christian is joy. They are full of joy. They are glad and thankful and they rejoice. I realize, and have always been taught, that joy is not “happiness,” that joy is not just a perky feeling, but can be something deeper.

But darn it, it’s more than just “something deeper.” I don’t mean that irreverently. I don’t mean that “something deeper” is unimportant. I understand that there will still be days of deep grieving that can still have joy.

But joy is a brightness of spirit. It IS happiness: not fleeting or circumstantially driven, but actual, deep-seated happiness. If you’ve ever been truly grateful for something or to someone, you can’t be that grateful and be glum. It is not a passionless experience. It. Is. Glad.

And I am missing that joy, too often, in my life. I know that I am better when I am taking purposeful time to thank and praise God. I know I am more centered and focused on what matters and His actual goodness. Goodness I can see and feel, not just the kind I have to trust in. Not the “suck it up until it pays off in eternity” goodness. I need that joy. I need to be thankful again.

I need to praise God for the God He is, and not for the monster I keep believing (because that’s how I’m living) Him to be.

I need to be full of joy.

A joyful heart is good medicine. Medicine to stop the poison.

 

When I fear my faith will fail,
Christ will hold me fast;
When the tempter would prevail,
He can hold me fast.

He will hold me fast,
He will hold me fast;
For my Savior loves me so,
He will hold me fast.

I could never keep my hold,
He will hold me fast;
For my love is often cold,
He must hold me fast.

I am precious in His sight,
He will hold me fast;
Those He saves are His delight.
He will hold me fast.

He’ll not let my soul be lost,
Christ will hold me fast;
Bought by Him at such a cost,
He will hold me fast.

He will hold me fast,
He will hold me fast;
For my Savior loves me so,
He will hold me fast.

Even so, let it be.