Sunday, March 20, 2016

Valley of the Shadow

This post has been sitting here as a draft for almost 8 weeks. It feels so freaking whiny and angstly. It reads like my emo Xanga did in 2003. But I find I just have to share it.

These last several months have been very difficult and my depression has been darker than it has been in a very long time.
I keep finding myself in this pit of darkness, so dark I can't even find words to define myself or my surroundings, and then come out of it, gasping for breath and unable to write about it. And then I find I've fallen back in. And I climb out. And fall in. Over and over in the last few months. I think it's my survival mechanism; how I get through stress and fear and hurt. Don't feel it. But the living, most rational part of me doesn't want to live in that pit and wants to be the strong, bad ass bitch that can do it.

But damnit, I can't.

This darkness is familiar. It's that unwelcome companion that sits down next to you knowing it has your full attention until it decides to let go. 

I know why it's here and I know why I keep falling in but for the first time in a really long time I really can't stop it.

This chapter in our life is beginning with a terrifying uncertainty that is scaring me to death. I'm trapped in a dozen situations out of my control. I feel like I'm blindly scouring over every surface of my life looking for something to take hold of that I can help or fix or find security in. Left with nothing, I feel like I'm floundering for purpose in my own life and subsequently losing sight of my worth.

My husband and I have been talking out these complicated emotions and plans over the past couple of months. Sometimes that helps and sometimes it just places a cross hair on my fears so I can't see anything else. I've also been researching potential jobs, trying to get back into writing and painting and doing things artistic; hoping to spark something. Young kids make that very difficult. As is, you know, not even thinking you can do it.
This blog is my only "artistic" outlet right now because it's fairly easy to find 30 minutes to an hour here or there to write how I feel. But keeping an online diary is a little...millenial, right? Juvenile? And then that dark companion's voice jumps in with all kinds of convincing reasons I'm wasting my time here.

 I've been overweight, working my literal ass off everyday, never exceeding 1600 calories and burning 130-400 calories per workout and I haven't lost ONE pound in 9 weeks. This leads to my feeling unworthy.

That has revived a terrible relationship I used to have with food. This leads me to feel shame.

I've been unable to provide financially to my family, this leads to my feeling useless.

I've been watching people around me succeed and flourish and grow and I'm still in the same place I was 5 years ago.
And after spending time celebrating with them, I turn to myself and wish to be them, which leads me to ungratefulness.

I feel alone and realize in isolating myself in my darkness, I am alone. That my friends and family have no idea what to do when I'm absent so they move on. So I decide I'm someone who's not meant to have close friends and try to move on as well.

I've been lost in my negativity, leading to hopelessness and fear. I've found the times I genuinely laugh are fewer and fewer.

At the beginning of February I was feeling this way as well. and then I got sick with this nasty cold and BOO HOO my life was over. I had to miss a friend's surprise party and then I was about to miss seeing one of my favorite people speak something wonderful. I laid in bed sleeping off my sickness running through all of the bullet points of woes when I suddenly realized how pathetic I was being. Sure, some of it, maybe a lot if it, are legitimate concerns and my fear is validated and yes, the tumors of insecurity I have beneath the surface need some serious addressing but dangit did I need to listen to Glennon Doyle Melton speak.

I loaded my purse with hand sanitizer and a lot of meds and carpooled with  my friends to hear her.

I was in a total medicine induced mind fog but I think it helped me hear her words with more clarity.

She spoke of a hundred things I wish I could have captured but one of the things that struck me so deeply was when she spoke of the valleys. I've found myself in some deep valleys, as has anyone living a life with feelings. But my valleys are hard for me to understand and hard for me to navigate through.
I thought once I had my soul mate I'd be okay and once I met my kids and kissed their faces I could never be so sad again. But it's inevitable; it's an inevitable part of me.
But, guys, my kids are getting older and seeing me in my valleys and it hurts my heart so much that I want to bury myself in the depths of that valley in shame. My oldest is beginning to listen, to watch and to recognize my darkness. She asks me if I'm okay and steps in to help more around the house and draws me pictures and it breaks me to pieces. This was never supposed to happen, my kids were never supposed to see this. And it makes me loathe myself and hate that I could be so selfish and petty.

"Don't knock the valleys," Glennon said. "Everyone wants to be on the mountaintop but up there the air is so thin and you can't move - you have to stand still so you don't fall off. The valley is where the river runs. It's where the power is."

That's it. The valleys don't have to be the end. I need to find my river. I don't know how and I don't know where it is but those words gave me hope that maybe I won't be a burden forever.

I've felt so guilty over these past few years. I've felt so guilty that my husband married this depression. I have a terror in me that it will end my marriage someday. It's part of me, despite my meds, despite my growth and age. And maybe, just maybe, it's okay. It will be okay. It's okay to be sensitive, to feel the darkness. Let it restart my heart. I just have to find the river.

"Learning to be still in pain is alchemy." - Glennon

 Learning to be still, feel the pain, blindly or eyes wild, feeling it is the alchemy. Feel it and find the way out because you will always come out stronger.

I just have to find my river.