The moment things started going downhill for me, I knew it was happening. I knew how to stop it, and I knew how much it would hurt me.
Doing the right thing, taking the right actions, and letting the wrong arrows of other peoples choices pierce through your heart in order to make the better choice rarely feels like it’s worth it until later.
I made a choice. I chose to do the right thing for the situation I was put in, but I also made a very active choice not to do the right thing for myself. I was tired of taking care of myself, and always looking at the bright side. I was tired of being nice to everyone else and receiving the shit end of the stick in return. I made an active choice to not go through the right process of grieving and pain and to let myself be bitter instead, because it felt better. All I knew that I wanted was temporary ease. I hadn’t felt like I had been able to be angry at God or people or circumstances previously because I always knew it wouldn’t be the right thing to do, and because I have always wanted to do the right thing for the longterm. This time, I was taking anger at full force. You fuck with me, you lose me and I didn’t care at all.
It’s amazing how fast anger can take hold of your thoughts, your lifestyle, your being. I felt pain at every turn. I saw words twist from helpful to detrimental in split seconds as they soar from one person’s mouth into my ears. I’ve never known myself to be as cruel as I felt or as careless as I was. I didn’t care about anyone else, and why would I? No one stood up for my character when I was being torn apart and for that I was angry. I didn’t want to care.
Anger puts this film over your eyes that causes every wonderful thing to look harmful. It changes every friend into a foe, and every light into fire. No one is safe.
If only I had chose to grieve, chose to deal with my anger, chose to silence my bitter thoughts. Had I, I wouldn’t have gotten to the point of contemplating death every moment of every day. I became defeated.
If you saw me, you would know. I could not stop the tears and I could not stop the pain; all I wanted was for it to end. I understand depression. I understand suicide. I understand pain.
There was a time I would have asked of a depressed friend to live, even only if it was for me. I now know I can never ask that of anybody. I cannot ask for someone to endure pain for my comfort, or live through terror for the “someday” that might come and be peaceful. I cannot ask for life of somebody else, I can only enter their space and give them everything I have to give. It’s crucial.
Depression is a hand, holding, crushing, dragging you into the depths of the earth, into the pit of despair, with no branches strong enough to break your fall and no comfort long enough to take a deep breath. Depression is a weight of a hundred horses treading on top of the canopy of blankets you try to hide under just to find a moment where your mind can be silent. Depression is… a venomous snake wrapped so tightly around your body you cannot breathe but with every pulse of your heartbeat you know it’s the end… Depression… is an ocean of breathtaking pain.
I see the world with that pain in my eyes, much in the same way I used to see it with beauty.
If you know how I feel then you know what I mean. Good things that happen don’t make up for what we see behind the wall we’re so desperately trying to build to keep the horde of pain and anger at bay. It’s terrifying to watch that wall being broken apart and running out of the strength to keep building. It’s almost as if you drop that wall and run as fast as you can to add distance before turning around and building again. It’s coming and you see it; you feel it… and then you make one mistake and it swarms around you from all sides; all you have left is a little tent to cry in.
If you know then you know. And if you don’t, now you do.
The title for this post is meant for anything that is hidden and isn’t the best part of you, brought to the light and dealt with. It doesn’t define you, it also doesn’t kill you because of the shame of it. My goal as you read this, is for you to discover for yourself that how you choose to live your life will change everything about you and the people you influence.
I wish I could explain to you just how important it is to live life right. But the truth is, I can’t explain it to you. Because we all learn differently and we all believe different things. Your right is different than mine, and if you think about it, what really is right? So I would just like to tell you about some of my process and why it’s been important for me to choose the best possible outcome of my circumstances.
I’ve done the wrong things. I’ve lived in that place, where the love I give comes from anger, and the peace I carry comes with discomfort. In that place, the choices I make hurt people, and the life I choose hurts me.When I’m not okay with my life, and when I have no vision for my future, everything I do comes with pain. And I end up ripping people’s lives apart. Trust me, it does make me feel “powerful” and in “control” and in a sick twisted way, it “satisfies” me. (I put these words in quotes because it’s how I feel in the moment, not how it actually makes me feel, because in reality it is going against my identity.)
Because of how I choose to live my life now, my challenge in those seasons isn’t to love people really well, or to believe that God still has a plan. My challenge is to create a safe place where I can just be, without feeling like my life is falling apart all around me. In those hard times, I know that what I am feeling won’t last forever. I know it is only a season, and my conscience is set on discovering the best way to deal with the struggle in front of me. I think one of the things that we have to remember in these times is “who do I want to be when I come out of this?” and then make that the end goal.
The things that happen in your heart are on display for everyone you encounter. One of the goals for my life is to always go through process in the best way possible. I’ve been in situations that tore me up to the point of hysteria. Everything I thought I knew came crumbling around me, and there is not much worse then feeling like your life is falling apart and there’s nothing you can do about it. Because I’ve had several of these situations in my life, I think it’s important for me to share some tips of how I choose to overcome in the midst of my circumstances.
1, with love. You have to understand that if you saw your best friend going through what you are dealing with, you would have so much grace for that person. Show that grace to yourself and understand that you need to love yourself through it in the same way you would want to love them.
2. with a heart of perseverance. You will win in the end, but only of you choose to. If you can live knowing that one day you will see the finish line, you will be able to persevere through anything. You’re not allowed to let yourself give up. Especially with everything you have already faced and overcome. You will win.
3. choosing to know in your heart that you are strongest person you know. Every night in these seasons I felt like I was going to die. And every day that went by was another day that I chose not to give up. When you are able to look back a week later, a month later, a year later, and see that even in the shittiest time of your life, you still lived a life worthy of love and acceptance, you will see how strong you truly are.
“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly and difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy–the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” ~Brené Brown ‘The Gifts of Imperfections’
Boom. My life at this moment summed up in a quote. We need to believe in who we are if we truly want to live in wholeness. We need to be open, vulnerable, and live in ownership of our lives in order to be powerful and not a victim to our circumstances. Stop shoving things down, stop hiding in the shadows, stop pretending we have it all together. ‘Me against the world’ mentality will crush you. People are not made to live outside of God, away from community, and without leadership speaking into our lives (I say ‘and’ instead of ‘or’ because those three cannot be separated.) If you do, you will only last so long feeling ‘good’ about your life and be continually searching for something to fill the void of emptiness in your heart. Listen to the experiences of many…nothing will. You could have everything seemingly together (finances, great relationships, choosing to believe all the right things about yourself (i.e. joy, love, acceptance), a stable job, a happy life, etc) but without God as your everything, without a community around you, and without leadership speaking into your life, you will not succeed to the fullest that you were created and born to be. You were predestined to be more than you are capable of by yourself.
I love the last sentence of that quote, “Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness…” then we will find our light. The darkness is meant to be walked through. Otherwise, how will you ever find a way to turn on the light? Nothing will ever happen if you just choose to sit there in it. As one of my pastors recently said about walking through difficulty, “the darkness is there for us to recall what life was like when the lights were on.” We need to be able to recall who we are and what God says about us so that in dark times and dark places we are able to still find our way through the darkness to turn on the light. This is also another reason for community! In times where we end up feeling stuck and don’t have the strength to get up on our own, that’s where friends come in the room and turn the light on for us. Now hear me…be smart. Understand what I’m saying. I’m not telling you that you can just sit there and always let someone else turn on the light. Who of us would actually expect a friend to come and turn the light on for us when we need to get up in the middle of the night or when it is dark? What I am saying is that there are times and seasons in our lives where we just can’t do it ourselves and need a friend or leader to shine light on our situation. It requires vulnerability. It may be tough. It may be messy. But it may also be the best way for breakthrough in our lives.
I hope you are willing to go on this journey with me. To see yourself as God sees you, to be known in the darkness, and to find your light.