Thursday, August 11, 2016

Gone Girl

I promised myself I would sit down and write something… anything… and press publish today. I've said this several days weeks now, actually. I've been silent because I had nothing to say. Nothing. NOT. ONE. THING.

But I miss you guys. I do. I really, truly do. I really, really, miss my sweet readers who send me so many messages. I love interacting with them and being their friend. Most of my readers have broken hearts, and they tell me all the things. All those things that are tangled up and dark inside. They tell me all the things they are afraid to put out on the Internet for the world to see. In fact, 80% of the communication I receive from my readers begin with "I was scared to comment, but I just had to tell you…." And then they do tell me. And then my heart shatters for them. So many of you are fighting such hard battles, and you feel like no one would listen or care. You feel like you'll be judged. You feel like your problems aren't that big a deal compared to other people's. But you can tell me. Can I just say I am so very sorry that you're hurting? But I'm deeply honored to be helping in whatever small ways I can. 

But lately…. I've had nothing to say. Nothing that is worth your time. Nothing helpful. Nothing worth hearing. Nothing worth reading. Not. One. Dang. Thing. 

I thought I was on solid ground. I thought I was on the upswing from this soul sucking yuck that is depression. I was up and about and greeting the world with enthusiasm. But now… I just feel empty and I do not know why. But if you were to run into me, you would never know it. 

My family went out to eat with some dear friends over the weekend. We got there before they did, and we were chatting with some of the restaurant staff while we were waiting for a table. I'm chatty and smiley with anyone I meet, no matter where I am. In fact, if I am not smiling, a zillion people will ask "what's wrong?" You've heard of resting b**** face? I have resting smile face.

My husband was distracted by watching the Olympics that were on all the big screens around the restaurant, so it was just me making conversation with a waitress and the seating host. We were laughing and having a great time. At least, that's what it would look like from the outside. But inside the thoughts were colliding everywhere: "Just stop talking." "No one wants to hear what you have to say." "They're just being polite." "You may as well go back home where no one has to put up with you." Our buzzer lit up, and one of the waitstaff walked us to our table. As I was walking away, I heard someone say "Well, there goes our entertainment. She is so much fun!" 

FUN? Did they really say FUN? I was feeling a lot of things, but "fun" was not one of them. I was feeling uncomfortable. Anxious. Like a burden. I was feeling like these people had an obligation to be warm and friendly to me because it is their job. 

And this, my friends, is depression. Depression sucks every ounce of life out a person, until they disappear. There is no more color or zest to life, there is just surviving in an exhausting, empty world of yuck. Depression isn't living life, it's existing while life goes on around you. 

You can see someone talking to you, laughing with you, and you can be so happy to be with them… But if that person is depressed? They are not there with you. They are not there at all. They are an empty shell of a puppet acting in a way to fit in with their surroundings. So you can see me, sit with me, hug me, but I am GONE. I am focusing all my energy to APPEAR to be there, but I am not.

Let me just tell you, it's a humdinger of a hootenanny. Good times. NOPE. Not at all.

I knew I had felt off for a week or so prior to this restaurant encounter, but this situation brought to my attention that I am gone again. Just gone. My life was back to being in grayscale, and I had no idea. Sometimes, no matter what I try: more sunshine, more interaction with people, better nutrition, putting on makeup, fixing my hair, and trying to go chase life, I cannot. It feels like my whole body is made of lead as I drown. I can't remember what I like about life. Even the things that used to make me squeal and giggle with delight, no longer do. Even the joyful things are just "meh" to me now. So I decided to make a list to myself from myself… a list from the "there" self to the "gone" self… to remind myself that this life is absolutely worth loving. This is what I came up with.

These lists bring me back. I'm here. I'm here again. I came back from wherever I was. So, that's good. But I've got to tell you, sometimes I get really frustrated at this do-si-do of depression. Always taking steps forward to only end up taking steps back, while going around and around in circles. It's exhausting. 

I feel like I end up erasing all the progress I made every single time I go and come back like this. I end up dazed and confused, and saying to myself "I had all this stuff figured out. I did. Now I know nothing again. WHY?! Seriously. WHY?!" One of the bloggers I follow posted a blog about how He makes us new. Maybe that's what this depression dance is for me. He makes me new in these places of coming back. 

"Be alert, be present. I'm about to do something brand-new. 
It's bursting out. Don't you see it?
There it is. I'm making a road through the desert, 
rivers in the badlands."
-Isaiah 43:19 (The Message)

Every single time I come back from being gone, He makes something new out of it. Not just for me. For anyone who I want to help. Staying close to brokenness makes me uniquely qualified to feel the pain other people feel, and just listen. Only listen. Not to talk. Not to teach. Just to lay there with them in the deepest darkest pits of pain and listen. And understand.

Just to be there. And thanks to this newness of returning from the badlands, God has built a road next to me to help them through their desert.

Six people. SIX. Told me that I helped them get through their darkness or asked me to help them through theirs that same weekend that I was standing in that restaurant drowning. Within about 12 hours SIX PEOPLE were helped by my pain that I share from my little corner of the internet. In the midst of me encouraging all those people, I was at my darkest.

I am an encouraging blogger/motivational speaker who is clinically depressed. And maybe it is that depression that is what gives me the ability to encourage. Because from this deep place of brokenness, I have an overwhelming urge to love. Maybe, just maybe, my depression is not a shortcoming, but a gift.

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