oftentimes I hurry into bed so I can fall asleep before my thoughts catch up to me, clutching at me with their ugly, heavy claws. before the voice that sounds like me reminds me of certainties that aren’t even true: that my friends tolerate me but do not love me, that my words will fail me when I need them on the page, that the pain of caring deeply is not worth the joy of it, that I will always be better off alone, that I should flee far from love before I spend too much of myself on it.
these have been my nightly thoughts for the last month. considering the moments of joy, the care shown me by those I work with, the sheer number of birthday celebrations I’ve joined in on in the past month, you’d think things would at least even out.
but somehow it’s still there, the depression seeping in about the corners of my thoughts, and somehow I still find myself plastering on brave faces a lot of the time, and somehow when I crawl into bed at night I’m still hit with all of these certainties about myself.
I feel tired.
I’m tired of fighting it, but also tired of being broken and weak and staying that way.
I’m tired from over committing myself socially and from over committing myself to serve others.
I’m tired of giving in to the emotions that lie to me, and tired of crying in bed almost every night as I fall asleep, and tired of that damned voice assuring me that this will always be the case.
there are facts that contribute, certainly, to these feelings – I have a very fast approaching deadline on a draft of my sequel that’s keeping me from sleeping many nights. I work full time now and have commitments half the nights of the week that sometimes stress me out. historically I don’t manage my time and energy well, and I haven’t had much introvert-down-time lately. but I can’t help but feel that none of that should be enough for the suicidal thoughts to come back the way they have been recently.
I know that I will be okay. but right now I’m not. and I’m tired of believing the voice that tells me not to say anything.
I ran this by my extraordinary sister before posting, and she challenged me to think about why I’m sharing it- if it doesn’t end with help or hope, is there value to sharing it with a world that might feel the same, but need some light? and she’s not wrong, that it’s important to share things that bring hope. so this is why I decided to still share (with amendments):
right now, when I think that I should just kill myself and have done with it, I’m usually only stuck in those thoughts for a few moments before I shake myself free. but it used to be that I only thought about ending my life when I was – as Anne Shirley would say – in the “depths of despair”, and it was all very dramatic and non-logical. and before that, I didn’t think these thoughts at all. so it seems to me that the longer I’ve been fighting this, the harder it’s fighting me back, and the longer the shadow seems to grow. and that’s not to say I haven’t had victories; honestly, in so many ways I’ve grown a lot, and have shaken off a lot of the darkness. but it’s not all better.
it’s hard not to feel entirely and fundamentally broken, that despite every victory and every step forward in this struggle with depression, there’s always a step back, because that’s just how things are going to be. I looked up that word – fundamentally – because it was stuck in my head. and it boils down to what something is at its core. I want to hold onto the words of King David, that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. but I struggle with “knowing full well” that God’s works are wonderful; other people, certainly. but I have not learned to own this for myself. “fundamentally broken” feels truer.
I have found that the busier I get, the more social I am, and the harder I work, the more difficult it becomes for me to tell people what’s going on inside my head. I don’t want to look weak, I don’t want to look as if the workload is too much, I don’t want to look as if I’m fundamentally broken when I’ve spent my entire life trying to take care of other people and hold it together for their sakes.
so for me, even though writing about my struggles has always been a deeply helpful thing, it’s actually getting harder to do. and I know that’s my enemy at work. sharing my heartache has impacted others than just myself, and I’m sure he’d like to shut me up.
I wrote on the chalkboard by my bedroom door, “this, too, shall pass”, and I believe that. what’s hard is feeling certain that it will also come back, as it always has. not always this badly, of course. but in some form. sometimes much worse. thoughts that tell me I am worthless. thoughts that tell me everyone will see that I’ve failed if I ever break down. thoughts that warn me not to tell anyone what’s going on if I want them to ever speak to me again. thoughts that do not reflect what my creator thinks of me, but feel overwhelmingly true all the same.
I was singing the song “I Surrender” this morning and thinking about the line, “Lord, have your way in me”. I know that he will. I know his plan is vast and wonderful. I know he has used my pain and will continue to do so, and I know that he is good and I can trust that. I don’t resent the heavy feelings the way I used to. but I’m wearing thin, and I don’t feel strong right now.
most nights it’s all I can do to hurry to sleep, to flee from the voices.
and most mornings I hurry about my day and keep busy enough that I barely hear them, and everything feels fine on the surface.
and by most evenings the voices have started again and I am so, so tired from the hurrying, and from fighting them.