It’s okay to feel sad.
It’s okay to feel sad.
It’s okay to feel sad.
I have to keep telling myself this.
It’s okay to feel damaged.
When you care you take that risk of getting bruised.
It doesn’t make you weak to feel insecure and broken.
It doesn’t make you crazy to struggle with reacting to pain.
It doesn’t make you a bad Christian to feel sad.
It makes you human. To feel these things makes you human. God gave us the full-spectrum of feelings for a reason. Yes, choose joy, but you can also be sad.
I think, for me, I spend so much time worrying about how I’m going to appear to others. Am I too this, or too that? What will people think about me?? This much worse thing happened to so-and-so, do I even have the right to be sad about a problem so inferior in the grand scheme of things?
I had a couple bad experiences this year. Yes, one of them involved a toxic relationship with someone who lied to me and treated me like I was disposable, but I also had a job I absolutely loved that I tried to resign from because it got tainted and ruined but some bouts of poor leadership and bad decision making. But in comparison to some of the other things my friends went through this year, those two things, even combined, seem so insignificant.
So I try to squash my feelings and distract myself, only for the pain in my heart to intensify.
When it does finally emerge, it’s that much worse.
It’s full-blown depression, instead of sadness.
Depression isn’t always what you see in movies.
It’s not just blue filter to indicate the sad montage of your life.
Usually it’s not even really blue, it’s grey. Blue has too much feeling.
It’s feeling empty.
It’s crying for hours.
It’s not properly eating for weeks.
It’s sleeping for days, or not sleeping at all.
It’s when the things you loved, you don’t love anymore.
It’s making plans you have no intention of following through with and canceling at the last minute.
It’s telling people you’re fine because you are embarrassed to talk about it.
It’s when nothing is wrong, but really everything is wrong.
It’s a numbness that is hard to explain if you’ve never felt it.
How do you begin to talk about having feelings of depression during the “most wonderful time of the year?” How do you bring it up in the midst of twinkling lights and emotionally charged family dinners without making it sound like you are just an attention seeker? How do you begin to be vulnerable in a world where all people want to do is judge you and make you feel insignificant and roll their eyes at you when you say you’re more than just sad? I can picture people doing it now as they read this. People who I consider my friends, I can vividly see them rolling their eyes at my words. And yeah, it hurts my feelings, but it’s not the end of the world. Some people just won’t understand, and you can’t make them. What seems so insignificant to someone else, could literally be the biggest thing in your world. And you can’t make people get that.
I don’t even get it really, how this happened to me. How can I be mad when someone else, who isn’t feeling what I’m feeling, doesn’t get it?
Why is it easier to share how I’m feeling here in writing available for the whole world to read than it is to talk to my best friends, or my sister, or my mom about it? I think it probably has to do with the veil of protection the internet provides, and absolutely zero to do with those people. I like having the ability to hide when I need to, instead of laying it all out in person. The ability to ignore texts and phone calls (which I will do), and respond in my own time frame and after I’ve had the time to formulate exactly how I want to respond, instead of the required instant response of face-to-face interaction. I also think the backspace key helps. There’s no backspace key in verbal communication, I’ve learned this the hard way.
The truth is I don’t know.
I don’t know why it’s easier to write a blog than have a conversation.
I don’t know how you bring up depression while everyone is singing Christmas carols.
I don’t know how to shut the numb out and just be happy again.
I’ve noticed that my house looks a lot like a college dorm room. Littered with pictures of people and places, instead of real home decor. That’s because I need those picture to remind that there are people who love me. I need those pictures to remind me of those happy moments. Frame after frame serves as a touchstone for me, and right now, that is what I need.
Until I figure it out…until I figure out how to move forward, I guess I’ll just keep being. I know to whom I belong, and I know that I can be restored, but that doesn’t mean it will be easy. I’ll keep fighting to be myself, when the darkness threatens to overwhelm me. I’ll keep doing the everyday things that make me me. Trivia nights, Friendsgivings, Clark cuddles and Netflix, Sunday afternoon football, nerdy conversations about Harry Potter and Myers-Briggs, bonfires and s’mores, sarcasm, beach vacations, over-sharing on my blog, and Taylor Swift sing-alongs in my car and shower.
I’ll keep doing it all until the darkness has retreated, and the light is back for good.
***** If you are struggling with depression, you don’t have to struggle alone or stay broken, here are some quick resources, just in case:
•You can learn more about starting therapy here, since pretty much everyone can benefit from talking to a professional.
•You can learn more about depression here.
•7 Cups and IMAlive are free, anonymous online text chat services with trained listeners, online therapists, and counselors.
•Vent and Paralign are community-based apps where you can express yourself anonymously and connect with people who might be feeling the same way.
•If you need to talk to someone immediately, the US National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. A list of international suicide hotlines can be found here.
I’m proud of you for being vulnerable, even if it’s not a face-to-face conversation. I’m proud of you for your honesty. I’m proud of you for being brave enough to walk through the pain. One of the hardest things about grief (and I believe you are grieving) is that no one can say a doggone thing to lessen the pain or shorten the process. They try with very good intentions. But words are like putting a bandaid on a heart when it feels like it’s bleeding out. You will figure it out. You will find a way to move forward. I don’t believe time heals all wounds but I KNOW God does.