[TW: suicide, self-harm, depression, anxiety]
I’m haunted by the spectre of depression. I feel it breathing down my neck, reaching out to draw me close. I’m resisting, trying to press into my self-care, trying to pump fresh light into a collapsing tomb. I don’t know if my resistance is helping or making things worse.
I brace myself when news of yet another suicide ripples through the internet. I brace myself as I turn to my work on self-harm, holding myself taut as I read people telling of their own experiences, squashing down my own memories.
It all feels too close today. And I’m suffocating. Desperate to catch a breath, but the dust clings to my throat, coats my tongue. Am I too far gone to avoid it now? Maybe it would be easier to stop the fight and rest a while in this familiar darkness.
This feels too heavy to share, too burdensome to release out into the wilds of the internet. I don’t want anyone to feel obligated to help me. But I don’t want anyone feeling like they are alone in this. I have supports around me, I have routines and patterns which will draw me back into the light. But I don’t want to leave anyone alone in the darkness.
Anxiety has my emotions raw and riding too close under the surface. If I just bump into something, they will all spill out, vomiting on everything and everyone around me. It feels as though they are deliberately interfering when I try to focus, to write, to nap in the sun. I have to remind myself to welcome them, to let them be without fighting their existence. These, too, are part of God’s creation, part of what was said to be “very good”.
As I relax into them, the tendrils of depression loosen, the claws of anxiety lose their hold. Their shadow is still there, right behind me, but I can turn, greet it, welcome it as a familiar friend. Like the thoughts of suicide and self-harm, this too is my brain offering ways to cope, ways to get through, to survive.
But hunkering down in the dark is no longer a satisfactory life for me. Just lasting another day without wanting to plan my suicide is not good enough anymore. I want to claim the freedom Christ opens for us. I want to release the chains that bind me, with which I bind myself.
I’m keeping my focus on the slow, steady heartbeat of the Living God, ignoring the fast patter of my own. I demand of myself a life worth living.
So, yes, I will resist the darkness, but not by fighting. I will resist by welcoming it in, by accepting its desires for me. I will subvert it to the greater picture which is God’s view of humanity’s existence.
Hello, old friend. There is room for you here.
Sit a while and tell me what you are longing for, and we can work on it together. Maybe I already am, but not in ways you can see. I’m seeking the long-arc, the future-fruit, the things I can barely imagine now, but am trusting will come.
Come, Sorrow and Darkness. There is room for you here, because you are part of what gives me life and purpose. In you, too, I can see the hand of God.
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