For The Long Nights

I know, they come more often than not these days. The nights that never seem to end. The days that feel just as long: the way 24 hours has never felt so heavy. And each day, it seems there is an added weight to bear. You remember – nights didn’t used to be this long, did they? There were days filled with the summer sun shining through the curtains: an invitation to come out and play, and it was so easy then to oblige. You remember nights spent star-gazing with friends and long midnight drives with no destination in mind. It didn’t matter, though, you weren’t lost then. The nights were short, not quite long enough.

And, still, it was there – gnawing at the back of your mind – a reminder that this sickness is incurable, that it will come back no matter how much you deny the fact. The nights will be long again. The days, unending. You will once again suffocate underneath the weight of it all. You tried, oh, you tried so hard to hold onto those short days. You took pictures in your mind, snippets to grasp for the nights to come. The way the salt water tasted on your lips, the dull ache of your sunburn – proof you had found sunlight and felt warmth at one time. You remember the scream you let out of joy at crossing the finish line, the sound of your best friend singing along to your favorite song. Now, that song is overplayed and you always turn the radio off when it comes on.

Maybe you don’t want to remember. The stark contrast of those days to these ones just brings more heartache. But, you also remember days when you couldn’t remember the good ones. Nights when there was no light at the end of the tunnel, no hope to grab ahold of. So maybe remembering is okay. But even this is a double-edged sword: a reminder that it’s not quite that bad, but it always gets worse. It always comes back, each time far more difficult to navigate than the last.

Yes, these nights are the long ones. And this is for those long nights. For the times when depression is your best friend, your lover, your caretaker. It takes such good care of you, wrapping you in blankets and turning off all the lights. It brings sleep for days and takes it away for weeks. It turns the face in the mirror into something you can not recognize – a lifeless form staring back at you. This is for when it reminds you that it can get worse, will get worse, every day is worse. For when it makes baths lukewarm and somehow impairs your ability to taste or to remember to taste or to remember to do anything but sleep and cry and repeat.

This is for the nights when anxiety reaches out to your with its lanky fingers, slowly wrapping around your neck, taking the breath from your lungs. This is for when your ears try so, so hard to hear your loved ones calling out for you, but can’t hear anything over the sound of that darn racing heartbeat. This is for the sleepless nights spent going over everylittlething everylittlething everylittlething because something went wrong some where. For when your stomach turns into knots you can’t figure out how to untangle.

This is for the nights when the two intertwine and attack at once. For when you feel worthless for not getting out of bed but yet can not make yourself wake up. For when you fear your illnesses are driving everyone away but yet you are still unable to make a phone call. When all forces are against you and all you can do is take it.

Yes, these nights are the long ones. And they only seem to get longer, I know. We never foresee the short ones. We never anticipate the good, but sometimes it can sneak up on us. But this isn’t for the short nights – this is for the long ones.

It’s okay to not be okay. It’s okay to feel the things you do. You’re not broken, you’re not a mistake. It’s okay to ache, it’s okay to hurt. It’s okay. You are okay. And maybe you’re not okay today, maybe you won’t be okay tomorrow, maybe you won’t be okay this year – and that is okay, because some day, some way, you will be okay. And I know that’s hard to believe but I have to believe it is true, because you get up every single day and fight the same battle and you are still here fighting and that counts for something. That means something. And it must mean that some time, maybe not soon, but some time, the nights will be short again – and you will yearn for more hours in the day.

I see you. I know, we’ve all done a very poor job of acknowledging your illness. We’ve all felt the weight of the stigma that surrounds words like “clinical depression.” We’ve all denied our need for therapy or medication because of that stigma at some point or another. I know about the well-meaning people who give you quick verses about the joy that you can never find and how that only reminds you of the sadness. But I see you. I hear you. Your pain is real. You are important. You mean something. You have infinite worth. I once heard someone say, “Since the day you were born, I haven’t taken a breath in a world without you in it,” and that’s stuck with me. I hope it sticks with you today.

You are going to make it. This night is long. This night is unending. Each second takes hours, but you are going to make it out of this. Some day, you will wake up and the sun will shine again. Until then, when the weight is too heavy to bear, I will carry it for you. You’ve carried mine before and that has made all the difference.

Please, hold on, my dear. Tomorrow night might be a second shorter than tonight.

 

 

Six Things I Want To Do In 2016

Hi, friends! It’s been a while since I posted on here. Zeke and I have decided to not get WiFi at our apartment and instead use that money to help pay off our student loans, so I don’t get a lot of time to just sit and be on the internet. Today, my phone stopped working, so I decided to get to some WiFi to let Zeke know I’m okay and Tim Horton’s sounded wonderful, so here I am – finally writing a blog post I’ve been wanting to get around to writing for a few weeks now.

New Year’s Eve has always been one of my favorite holidays. I love fireworks, parties, and watching the ball drop, and I love the idea of new beginnings – a blank slate, time to start again. Four years ago, I made a resolution to become a vegetarian for a year, and I haven’t purposely eaten meat since that day. I love resolutions, but my mental health is not top-notch at this moment, so instead of making one giant resolution, I’ve decided to instead make six small ones. Here it goes, in no particular order.

1. Stop saying “sorry” so much. I apologize for everything, and then I apologize for apologizing. It’s partially due to my anxiety and partially due to the fact that I was raised by the patriarchal society in America that has taught me I’m not worth anyone’s time. As a feminist, I need to start putting my money where my mouth is and cut this word out of my vocabulary.

2. Call out sexism when I see it. Hi, catcallers – I’m done saying “thank you” when you sexually harass me on the street, at work, etc. Hey, friend of a friend dude bro at the party, I’m not going to sit and listen to you make that rape joke without explaining exactly why it’s not funny and I will NOT laugh at it.

3. Stop feeling ashamed of getting the help I need. The other day, I had an emotional breakdown and I called work saying I had a stomachache instead of saying that I needed to take a mental health day. I, a person who fights for ending the stigma of mental illness, am afraid to admit when I’m struggling and needing help, and that should stop. I also need to work on giving myself grace when I am unable to admit the struggle I am facing.

4. Be well. I thought of calling this “lose weight,” but I think part of being wholly well – physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually – is to stop letting myself be defined by anything other than what the Lord calls me. I want to improve my health in all areas, taking small steps and celebrating each and every one.

5. Write more. I used to write all the time, and I haven’t at all lately. Zeke always jokes that I’m going to publish a book someday and make us rich, and although we all know that won’t happen, I still want to get back into taking time each day to write.

6. Find a purpose. I’ll be honest, life after graduating has been rough. It was always easy throughout school to see what my current goal was. Finish this semester, graduate, get into the internship at TWLOHA, get married, etc. Now I’m in this weird place in life where I have a job, am done with school, am married to my best friend, and have a nice apartment. I don’t really know what I’m working towards at the moment, and that is tough to realize. This year, I want to take time to figure myself out.

Well, there it is, friends. I’m excited to tackle this new year and see what it brings me. What are some of your resolutions? Let me know in the comments!