Last night, I went out to get drinks with two very dear friends. My friend, Mark, shared with me his story of depression. I already knew of his struggle, but last night's conversation went very deep and tears were shed and love and understanding and compassion were shared. It was a beautiful moment for both of us -- to remember that we are not alone. Someone understands. I don't want anyone to understand this sort of sorrow. This sort of feeling of being in prison, in hell, being tortured by your own body and mind. And I wish I was being over-dramatic. I wouldn't wish it on anyone. Ever. So to hear my friend share in this hell with me felt both like my heart was breaking for him and like I was looking in a mirror. So I wept, and he wept. I wept out of empathy, hurt, heartbreak, love, compassion, and to be honest, self-pity. I am so sorry for myself sometimes. (I think there are moments where that's a good thing and moments where that's a horrible trap. But that's for another time.) He wept because of his own pain, his own heartache, and after feeling so broken and so alone, someone could finally look him in the eye and say "I understand."
I was able to understand and love him last night, and encourage him that everything was going to be okay. There were so many nights where all I wanted to do was die and here I am, on medication that is working for me and feeling like a healthier version of myself.
And then today I lost it.
There are days when I just feel like an utter failure. A total, complete failure. I want so badly to be "better". I want to be healthy, to be well, to be able to deal with life like a "normal" person. To be able to multi-task. Or remember things. Or be able to focus on more than one thing at time. To be able to not get overwhelmed to the point of wanting to die. I want to be a great girlfriend, the girlfriend who can be the encouraging, beautiful, supportive, gracious woman who I believe my boyfriend deserves. I catch glimpses of her sometimes. But when I am sick, when I am so overwhelmed and suffocated by lies and grief and sadness, I can't see her anymore.
Today I couldn't see her.
After a beautiful night where I felt so sure, so grace-filled, so whole, so ready to encourage my friend and love him through the darkness, there I was in the darkness myself once again, not 12 hours later.
I just moved to another city after spending the last 4 months with my parents and siblings in order to let my heart heal in a safe place. I am so scared to not come home to my sweet brother every single night. I am so scared to spend so much time alone. Alone with my own thoughts, my lies, my fears. Alone with my TV, the thing I cling to so desperately to not get inundated with darkness sometimes.
I just started a new job. I am so scared to fail. I am scared of hating it. I am scared of doing everything wrong. I am scared of everyone hating me. I am scared of not being good enough.
My best friend is getting married, and I am her Maid of Honor. Michael's roommate is getting married, and Michael and I are doing the music for the wedding. My aunt is sick with cancer and we are going back east to go to both weddings and visit her and my family. I have so much to do to prepare for all of these things that it feels impossible.
Everything just feels impossible.
And I just crumbled. I cried and cried until there were at least 30 crumpled up Kleenex next to my bed. And Michael stayed on Skype with me and told me to look at him and told me everything is going to be okay. I didn't believe him. I am done with the episode now and I can look at it and know everything is going to be okay. Everything is always going to be okay.
But when you're in an episode and the world is spinning and your head wants to explode and your body just aches to not feel so desperately sad -- you just don't believe that it will be okay.
There is a depression, a sadness, that is so physically painful that it actually feels unbearable. These are the moments that I feel like dying. These are the moments when I think I legitimately can't handle feeling like this -- it is too big, too much, for my body.
And I cry and cry, just hoping that the tears will get out of my body and take the sadness with them.
And I just feel like I failed. I was doing so well. I was so happy. I was so stable. And here I am, having an episode again. I'm still sick.
The truth is that I will always be sick. I have struggled with depression for 10 years and this will be a battle I will fight for the rest of my life. And I can kick and scream and bang on the walls of the prison cell.
Or I can let it be. And I can rest.
I know that Jesus is near me. I know He is carrying me. I know that this is my cross for a reason.
It is so that I can share my heart. So that I can weep with the broken-hearted. So that I can hold someone's hand and look them in the eye and say "I understand" and mean it, from the bottom of my aching heart. So that I can pray for people who are depressed with an earnest heart. So that I can encourage people who have lost faith to pray. So that I can teach people to understand mental illness better. So that I can love more fully, more deeply, more genuinely. So that I can experience joy in a way that most people could never understand. So that I can, hopefully, glorify God in my suffering.
All I want is to love Him and to be loved by Him. I can kick and scream and cry and stay in this prison and wallow in self-pity. Or I can let Him come into this prison with me and hold me.
I had a vision in April when I first decided to move home. It was a vision of myself - my whole body was like shattered glass, big shards of glass that would fit together like a puzzle to make up my body. But the pieces were all separated an inch away from each other. And from the inside of this glass was this huge light -- a light bursting from the inside out, pouring through these shards of glass and shining bright through all the brokenness.
That is who I long to be. Broken in body, but bursting with light in spirit.
My body will always be sick. But my soul will rejoice in the Lord, knowing that He has blessed me with an illness that brings me closer to Him. It is the way He makes me holy if I let Him. It is the way He loves me the most when I let Him. It is the way I can glorify Him best by His grace.
And so my soul shall rest in the Lord, knowing that in Him there is peace. There is joy. There is love. There is comfort. There is light.
"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband; and I heard a great voice from the throne saying, 'Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them; and he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away.
And he who sat upon the throne said, 'Behold, I make all things new.' Also he said, 'Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.' And he said to me, 'It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water without price from the fountain of the water of life.
...And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb.
And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine upon it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb."