Tag Archives: pain

When laughter won’t come

I can feel it coming on.  The darkness.  First, only around the edges, creeping in like a dense fog that I know will, if it continues, consume me and completely separate me from everything except the thoughts that swirl in my head.  Thoughts that taunt me with hurtful things and imaginings, making me cry, then weep, then become angry in a way that I cannot grasp.  Words and faces become harder to focus on and forgetfulness struggles to keep me bound within the prison that is rapidly surrounding me.  The walls close in and yet I cannot bear the thought of getting out because then the vastness of space overtakes what bit of sanity I feel I have left.  I look around at the beauty I saw only yesterday and find it colorless and lacking and am even more saddened that it holds no interest to me and for that moment in time, I can’t find it within myself to care about anything.  Music, which is a source of great enjoyment becomes, instead of melodies, waves of noise that threaten to send me over the edge.  I become isolated by my own insecurities and emptiness and there is nowhere to go and to no one that I can turn.  At least that is how I feel during these dark days.

From one end of the house to the other, I pace, pace and pace some more.  Food doesn’t appeal, and all I can think of is how angry I feel.  There is never any warning before these days come, they just come.  Sometimes the darkness lasts for a day and others for several days.  I can’t sleep or think.  Working is a chore as it takes every fiber of my being to do my job without screaming, crying or just collapsing in pile of despair. I hope the phone will ring, that someone will call just so that I know there is another human on the planet that cares about me and at the same time, I can’t bear to talk to anyone.  There is nothing to say and no way to say it without sounding like a complete nut.  Forcing a smile becomes second nature for without it, there are the questions of what’s wrong? Are you ok?  Why are you so quiet?  And there are no answers to these questions.  What could I possibly say?  That I just want to disappear into a mist of nothingness until whatever it is that is consuming me goes away?  And then comes the niggling thought that maybe I’ll feel like this forever and that the laughter will never come back into my life and the despair overtakes me.

I spend a lot of time avoiding God, or at least trying to.  While I try to run from Him, He is steadily waiting for me to come to Him.  I find that I cannot out-wait God.  His mercy and patience far exceeds anything that I can even fathom.  I cry out to Him to take this darkness from me because I cannot fight it alone.  It is a scary place to be, where screams won’t come, laughter is lost and there is no release from the constriction that threatens to suffocate me.

And then, a ray, small at first, but a ray … and then a note, then a melody, then a bubble of laughter.  The darkness opens up and hope shines through, a bright beacon in what has been a harrowing space in time.  The smile becomes genuine and my heart, once heavy and burdened, becomes lighter.  The mercy and grace from a patient and loving God opens the door and I am able to walk through, safe again from the depression that would, if it could, destroy me.

It is usually at this time that I crash, sleeping twelve or more hours at a time, waking to feel groggy and hung over, but better nonetheless.  After the crash comes the healing.  It isn’t possible to explain to someone who has never experienced spirals of depression how it feels.  It is not possible to explain to a Christian how I can be so hopeless and still believe in a marvelous God.  Just because I cannot find it within myself to come out of the darkness doesn’t mean that I don’t believe in the light.  For now, the moment has passed.  Maybe it will be years before it happens again.  Maybe it will never happen again.  Or maybe I will wake up in the morning feeling as though the floor of my world has fallen away and I, too am falling into nothingness.  But until then, I will glorify God, shoot my Pentax and bask in a life worth living.

If you suffer from episodes of depression, you are not alone and you have nothing to be ashamed about.  While it may seem that you are in a world of one, you are not.  Hope doesn’t desert us when we give up on it, it just waits until we are able to look for it again.  And, as always, it is there and with it comes the laughter.

In the corners of my mind

The past.  One of the most powerful weapons satan has to use on us.  He takes us down the paths that we have already walked and reminds us, in the wee hours, that our shortcomings and failings are always just a thought away.  He reminds us over and over of things we have said, wished we had said, hurts we have caused and the ones that we carry.  He tells us that our mistakes are never forgiven and urges us to not forgive.  But what he doesn’t remind us is that the past is the past.  What is done is done and cannot be altered.  It is what we do from this point on that makes or breaks us.  We can hold onto the hurts and injustices, the pain and the memories or we can break free.  He only has the power that we give him when we embrace the twisted thoughts and memories that surface when we are most vulnerable.  If we embrace the misery that he offers, then our chances of overcoming what we perceive as the most embarrassing or painful moments of our lives become less and less likely.  But there is hope for everyone who is suffering from having a past, and that list would include every human being.  Even the tiniest baby will, if they live, have a past.  There will be lost tempers, hurtful words and actions, pain and heartbreak.  It is a part of being human and living in a human world.  The world around us is as unforgiving of us as we are to ourselves.  It is beyond our own capabilities to outrun the past… and satan knows this and will gleefully use it to keep us from moving forward.  Each of us has a purpose in this life, a reason to be.  Everything that happens to us as we travel through this journey of life can be either a stumbling block to ourselves or it can make us stronger and more able to recognize the warning signs in others of the effect of their real or perceived imperfections and insecurities and enable us to lift them up.  Jesus was perfect.  He had no imperfections and for some, it is impossible to imagine a perfect person.  Someone who has no regrets or things they wish they hadn’t said or done.  I have a life full of things I wish were different and, in the dark  hours of night when I begin to relive those moments, my strength begins to falter and the darkness becomes heavier as I remember all that cannot be changed.  It is then that the Holy Spirit reminds me that what is past cannot be changed.  Rectification, reconciliation, forgiveness… they can all be given, but forgetting what we have lived, well that is a different story altogether.  The things that we have done, said or survived are all part of what makes us into who we will become.  Whether we use the past for harm or good will decide how we will relate to other people and how our actions will alter their lives.  It is not easy to overcome a past full of pain, and impossible to do it alone.  Trust in the One who understands suffering, who understands what it is like to be alone and abused, to be wrongly accused and tortured, both physically and mentally.  Trust that what you have survived will make you stronger and that you will go forth in hope.  It is these things I focus on when my own darkness threatens to overtake me and smother me with all that I cannot change.  When I need comfort, I know where to find it, but self-suffering and guilt-enabling get in the way.  The light that I know is there could shine through if I let it, but at times when I cannot seem to get past the moment, I refuse it.  But the gentle prodding of the Holy Spirit continues until my defenses are broken and the fog lifts.  I always look forward to those moments and delight in hearing the song that my God sings over me.  And during these long nights when all the things I dislike about myself manifest themselves into the demons I fight, I know that I do not fight them alone.  And therein lies my comfort.  Because no matter where I have been or where I will go… no matter what I have said or left unsaid… irregardless of how often I try to handle things myself, He loves me anyway.

Matthew 11:28 ~ Come to me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest

Double rainbow over Clinch Mountain, Big Moccasin, Nickelsville, VA