Hope that progress, small and steady, can be made. Hope that can be found in the belief that Jesus hears your cries, and holds you closely. Hope that there is purpose in this journey, and that joy can still exist - both within the journey and on the other side of it. I won’t pretend that the darkness isn’t real. But I will light the candle regardless.
The knowledge that we are not alone in our darkness ignites a tiny spark. It may be a small and distant lighthouse on a far-off shore, but the pinprick of light is visible. And real.
It’s dark and twisty and hard to understand – but the problem with asking people currently residing at this midnight moment to just reach out and ask for help is that we are asking them to think logically at a point where logic no longer applies.
And then it’s so very easy to spiral down a guilty drain for feeling how I feel. . .I shouldn’t be sad, I shouldn’t be worried, I shouldn’t be disappointed with any aspect of my life. How very selfish of me. How very, very, very Un-Jesusy.
I’ve only space for putting one foot in front of the other, for wiping my face and the kettle bells, for checking on my daughter, for keeping my shoulders back, for breathing. There is no space left for embarrassment or humiliation. Only enduring.
Because if it’s a fast and furious process to get angry about my mental illness. . . its followed by a slow and tortuous process of digging my way out. Of reminding myself that grace has covered me a million times before, and that it will cover me again.
I do have scars from my years of anxiety and depression and fear and shame. Scars that I kept hidden for many many years. Scars that might not be physical, but are wounds that healed improperly just the same.
But on the other hand, motherhood is a complicated title and arrangement that I wouldn’t have without those three beautiful, exhausting noodlemuffins. And while I’m not feeling up to the task most days, overwhelmed with the difficulty of raising these children to adulthood, keeping them safe and whole and kind and brave, and then letting them go off and make their own mistakes, I also cannot for a single minute imagine my life without them.
I wonder if she had someone tell her she was beautiful and worthy and loved by God. I wonder if she was afraid to tell her Christian friends, or if she had questioned her place in church. I wonder how long she lived, broken and shattered and hurting, before help found her.
Even when the illness is “good”, even when I’m “better” – the turning of the page on another year lived left me sad and frustrated thinking of all the years wasted; worrying that the years to come would also be disjointed and broken.