Anxiety and depression.
This article will contain pictures of pages from my journal, entries from earlier this year. I have journaled since I was a child. I journal not to capture a forever snapshot of how I feel, but ironically, to make the thoughts disappear.
It’s safer to put all of this on paper, writing to God, rather than unleashing them on some poor unsuspecting human who won’t know what’s about to hit them. I almost never revisit what I write again.
Anxiety and depression aren’t always visible.
It’s often invisible. People can look 100% okay, be 100% coherent and socially functional. I have a friend who recently confided that there are days she has to consciously decide she’s not going to jump. And this is a person who is going to get married, has a successful career and much to look forward to in life.
While I do not consider myself depressed nor suicidal, there are times the Devil does have his shrewd ways of making me believe there’s no point in living – that I should just off myself. These voices don’t really surprise me now. After all, I started cutting myself and made a suicide pact when I was 14.
But I have come to recognise the cycles of despair that like to make their rounds in my life at uninvited intervals for what they are.
Cycles, seasons – that end. These cycles and seasons of despair end. But your life doesn’t have to.
The emotions and accusations may come.
But they don’t have to mean that you’ve fallen off the fragile boardwalk of normalcy, back into the murky clinging depths that want to drown you.
When they come for me, I remember how the boardwalk of my life has blossomed into something solid, beautiful and indestructible. And these splashes that come from the depths are desperately trying to drag me down again, but they no longer have the power to do so. They’re just trying to make me believe that they’re still as powerful as they once were. But they are not.
These cycles and seasons of despair end. But your life doesn’t have to.
This journey looks different for everyone. And I know it’s hard. The voices in your head seem impossible to shut out. You may feel like you are numbly cruising through reality without ever being fully present.
But you are not alone. We all have coping mechanisms. I’m just sharing mine. Compartmentalising and understanding that the negative emotions and whispers to end my life aren’t a sign that I am losing my mind.
The difference now is that I can let them pass through, rather than set up the guest bedroom for them to stay and get comfy again.
And that’s why I always journal to Jesus.
Once the verbal diarrhoea is out of the way, it’s a very Psalms-like experience. I feel like David whinging about his misery, before ending off by submitting it all to the Lord.
This is a world where hope is scarce. And my only hope is Him. I cannot will myself out of misery. But I choose the rescue boat of believing that if there is any hope in this dismal world, it is Him. And that is why my mantra has always been – and will possibly always be – that Jesus is enough for me.
This was for the person convinced that he or she is alone, and that they’re the only ones going crazy – that no one is going to understand because your life looks “totally fine” on the outside.
The dark doesn’t have to win. It will get better. Find a counsellor. Find someone to talk to. It’s okay to get help. It’s okay to not be able to hold the facade together. You are not alone.
This article was first published on Lizzy’s blog, and is republished with permission.