Depression. Sometimes we struggle with it. And it is always a struggle. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it. If you’re dealing with it, it’s a struggle. For some of us it’s a severe condition, for some of us it’s seasonal, for some of us it gets worse depending on the climate of our new homes, the list of circumstantial pieces goes on and on. Here is a little something that the Bestie recently sent to me from The Twelve-Step Program for Life.
“1. There will be some days when you close your eyes while crossing the street, maybe because you want to see what fate has in store for you, or maybe because your depression is running rampant again and you don’t know how to calm her. It’s okay. I will still love you.
2. There will be a year, or a series of years when your birthday doesn’t feel special. Celebrate anyway. Because people spent time baking you a cake and buying you cards and even if they’re your family and they’re obligated to, they still love you. Cherish that love. Revel in it. It is the best gift you will ever receive.
3. You will learn that the saddest word in the English language is stay. Whether it’s your mother’s voice whispering it before you leave for college, or your ex-lover’s desperate screams as you walk out of the house, it will always be a hard word to hear. Sometimes you should listen to it, other times you shouldn’t. Trust yourself. Go with your gut.
4. Along with hearing the word stay, you will also hear the word why from every person who is remotely related to you. Why did you get that tattoo? Why did you try to kill yourself? Why aren’t you married yet? You don’t have to answer them. Be selfish. Keep somethings to yourself.
5. Some nights you won’t be able to sleep. You will lie awake at 2 am and contemplate existentialism and wonder if the French had a point. Get up. Get out of your bed. Do something. Because even if there is no God, what you do matters, who you are matters. You matter to me.
6. Some days you will want to run away and never return. So go. Drive to a small town in the Northwest, maybe Oregon, and settle down there for a while. Tell people your name is Elizabeth, because you loved Jane Austen as a child and because this a town full of strangers and who’s to know the difference? Don’t be selfish. Call your mother each night and remind her that you love her. Come back home when you find yourself seeing your sadness painted in the shadows, and when you feel more at home in the arms of a stranger than on your own.
7. There will be several nights when you lose yourself in the medicine cabinet, because liquor and morphine seem like a faster cure than time. It’s okay. I will still love you in the morning.
8. One day, in the midst of work, you will learn to forgive. It will start out with a simple reminder of the past, maybe a facebook notification from an old schoolmate or a wedding announcement from an ex-lover. In that moment you will learn that yearning for the past isn’t romantic, it’s stupid, and that if Gatsby had just let go of the green light he would’ve lived. So forgive your past, it didn’t know any better, and move on.
9. Leaving home will hurt, but soon you will learn that home isn’t a place but a feeling, and that there is a compass on your heart that points directly to that feeling. Follow that compass. Don’t get sidetracked by boys who don’t care or alcohol that doesn’t forgive. If you follow that compass, no matter how lost you get, you will always have a home.
10. The hardest lesson you will ever learn will be to love yourself. But you can do it. There will always be days when you hate yourself, days when you wish you had never been born. But darling you are beautiful, and if Shakespeare had met you you would’ve inspired his 18th sonnet, and if Monet had known you he would’ve given up painting water lilies and chosen to paint you instead. I know it’s hard to love yourself, but sometimes it’s okay to be a little selfish with your love.
11. When you begin to feel worthless, remember that the stars died for you. You are made of elements that are thousands of years old, elements that make up every atom of your being. When you want to cut your wrists, remember that the souls of stars live in your veins. Don’t kill them. Don’t be selfish.
12. Some days will be beautiful. Live for those days. Live for the days when the sun shines on your soul and the smile on your face isn’t forced. Live for the days when you don’t give a fuck what anyone thinks because your scars are a part of your story and you don’t need someone else’s approval to wear them with pride.
Live for the life you always wanted but were too scared to pursue.
Live for you. Live for me. Live for every person who has ever loved you, for the people who have come before you so that you may be here today.
Live for the fire that burns in your soul, that tells you: keep going, you’re almost there, just a little farther. Because when Rome burned down the emperor didn’t run away, he stayed and he sang for his people. Stay. Sing for your people. Sing for us. Are you listening? Because this is your life, singing a siren song to capture your attention and steer away from the rocks, to guide you back home.”
-The Twelve-Step Program for Life, by M.K.
For more helpful everyday tips, here are some notes from a DIY blog I follow of a woman who deals with severe depression. She is great and I love her sharp, sometimes dry, wit. 🙂
*I prefer Mick McAuley and Winifred Horan’s cover of this masterpiece.
I don’t necessarily listen to this song with a romantic notion of love in mind, although in some cases that would be an accurate interpretation. I genuinely feel this way about all of the people I care deeply about. I have “no doubt in my mind where you belong.” “There’s nothing that I wouldn’t do to make you feel my love.” I feel that intensely about the people in my life and I hurt when they hurt.
We’ve been discussing Lamentations and lament psalms and laments in the prophets and I have felt like it’s the most relevant thing I’ve ever studied. I see so much pain and suffering in the world, particularly amongst my loved ones, and it makes me angry! It makes me question where God is at in all of it sometimes and reading the Old Testament tells me that that’s ok. It’s ok to ask questions. It’s ok to lament and be angry, because I am not the first person to blame God. You are not the first person to blame God. And yes, I have faith that God will do something good with all it and I will keep praising him, but right now I just need to put my emotions out there and it’s my job to let those who are hurting know that they have a resource to use when they cannot find the words to express their anger and sorrow. I’ve been there, you’ve been there. Sometimes we have so much to say, but our language is limited.
Well, turn to Jeremiah. Turn to Lamentations. They are beautiful in that they are so harsh and honest. Jer. 20:13 says that the LORD has enticed Jeremiah. The footnotes there in the Harper Collins edition say that this is typically read as rape language, that this is the most blasphemous curse in the Bible. And he was the LORD’s prophet! This was a man that God loved. If he can make such a harsh statement and still speak to the people on behalf of God, well, then I’m not doing too bad. Better yet, it must be ok to angry with God sometimes.
What beauty! What grace I feel knowing this, because sometimes I DO blame God for my situation. I often identify with this particular passage, because, like Jeremiah, I was enticed into ministry at a young age and as a result I do not have other training. I am solely equipped for ministry and sometimes that means dealing with the weight of the world, sometimes it means working myself ragged to pay the bills or to get a necessary education. It is God who gave me a heart the size of the Pacific Ocean and it is God who has convicted me to take care of the lost and the broken. Sometimes, I feel I may be torn in two as my heart leaps from my chest. Sometimes, what awaits me is terrifying.
But I am not alone. We are not alone.
So let it out. Yell and scream and cry and, yes, curse, because we have Biblical examples of that and God is listening to the hearts of honest men and women.
The title of this post makes it sound so much more glum than things really are. I really am doing quite ok. I’ve had the opportunity to have short conversations with Bestie and last night I spent two hours on FaceTime with Big Sis. I haven’t had much of a chance to talk to The Nerd(aka Little Sis), but I know she’s busy experiencing college and spending time with her boyfriend. I do miss her, though. Also Little Man. He’s gotten so busy with boy scouts and soccer and choir and band and theatre, and the list goes on, that he’s never home when I call. I try not to feel sad about that, though, because I’m so proud of him. He’s growing into such an amazingly talented and SMART, geeze is he smart, young man. Sometimes I can’t believe he’s only 12.
Anyway, I didn’t really mean to blab on and on about my family, but they’re just so amazing. I came here to fill you in on what’s been happening in my life!
Well, first of all, I was in a car accident a week and a half ago. I’m ok. The car is going to be ok. The other driver is ok. It was a pretty wretched way to come back from my short visit to MO, but it could have been so much worse. Today was my first day back to work at PPL and I definitely feel the soreness and stiffness, but it was good to be back. I do a surprising amount of thinking while I’m at the library. The kind of thinking I used to do when I shelved at Smiley or when I would spend hours a week driving back and forth from Grandview in high school.
I’ve had a lot on my mind lately. I’ve felt the weight of the world. All the sadness and pain I see in the news and in the people I interact with. I don’t know, it’s like my undergrad experience and my experiences working in ministry have taught me to be aware of what others are facing and dealing with and I feel so convicted to do SOMETHING that it’s becoming a problem. I love school and I believe in an educated ministry, but it’s so hard to do seminary when I’m wading through the issues of the world. I can’t sleep at night, my social skills are suffering, I don’t have an appetite, I can’t focus in class…
Again, this makes it sounds so much worse than the situation is. I’m still going to class everyday and doing my homework and doing fairly well, I think, I’m just distracted. And I need to figure out a way to refocus very soon, otherwise it will be a problem.
I’ve also been fighting some of my own demons, but if ministry has taught me anything it’s that our demons never really go away. I just have to trust in the God who loves me to help me make it through. And also take proactive measures against myself. It’s really easy to get trapped in my own head space, especially when I’m so far away from the people who can get me out of it.
Hot tea helps. 🙂 I think hot tea might be able to solve the world’s problems. Maybe not hunger. I’m still working on that one.
*Titled after the ’80s chart climber by lesser known Starship. Titled for no apparent reason
Blogger Friends, I have news.
I’m bloody fantastic! 🙂 Life sucked there for awhile. Or rather, I had my head so far down in the sand that I forgot what sunshine looked like.
But I have remembered and am doing well!
There are a lot of really exciting things happening this semester. Namely, IT’S THE LAST ONE!!!
Can you believe that in just a few months time I will have TWO degrees to my name. 🙂 Yeah, that feels good.
And I am determined to make this the best dog-gone semester of them all. Nothing and no one can stop me.
I am taking the necessary precautions to ensure my own sanity and happiness and I am living life for me! It feels really good.
Yes, there are days that I feel impatient for whatever the next step is going to be, but in just a week and a half this semester has already out-shined the last one.
I finally feel like I’m me again!
Some changes I have made thus far: I’m a vegetarian! This is an attempt to eat healthier over-all and to start my journey to better health. I dyed my hair back to the blonde and pink it was when I started here at CMU. And I am cutting people out of my life that hurt me. I have learned that I am the only one who can do this for me. There are people out there who are going to hurt me. There are people out there who HAVE hurt me, and they have hurt me badly, and I can forgive them without saying, “That’s ok.” And I can forgive them and still remove them from my life in order to keep them from causing the same pains again.
Maybe that sounds harsh, but it’s reality.
I can’t be mad at myself for not recognizing how bad things had gotten. I can’t be mad at myself for putting my heart out there and giving everything I had to give. I can’t hate myself any longer. If I’m unhappy with my life, then I need to make better decisions, I need to take better care of me.
So that’s my New Year’s resolution: take better care of Kay. 🙂
This week, the last two nights to be specific, my dear friend, The Actor, celebrated the run of his senior show. Because he one of his majors is theater, his capstone project was to direct a play. His choice was the play by Bert V. Royal entitled “Dog Sees God.”
The show is an evocative piece that asks the viewer to challenge the way things are and make the world a better place. Dog Sees God takes the infamous Peanuts characters of our childhood and throws them into adolescence. This time, Charlie Brown and the gang are in high school and Snoopy has just died. The characters partake in all manner of vile behavior from using drugs and alcohol and using offensive language to bullying that wrenches at the gut of the viewer.
Fair warning, this show is not for the faint of heart. It forces the audience to step into the worst experiences a young person faces, perhaps on a daily basis, perhaps on rare occasions. Some of the toughest subjects that young people deal with are thrown into the mix. The point is to show just how far from butterflies and rainbows life is for some kids. Kids are faced with really difficult situations, asked to make tough decisions, tempted and pulled in multiple directions, forsaken by adults, and still asked to come out on top. This show really makes you think about how hard that is.
The show also makes you reflect on how many times you were the person who stood idly by while someone was bullied, how many times did you make a bad decision in order to fit in. What decisions have you made, or are making, in your life that could be devastating to you or to someone else? Yeah, you may leave the theater feeling really sh*tty about yourself, but that’s the point. We cannot make a change if we do not face how bad things have become.
Dog Sees God is difficult and offensive, but it is also beautiful and meaningful. It is a show that doesn’t suggest change, it outright demands it!
This show touched me in particular, because I was someone who was bullied relentlessly in school. So much so that by the time I reached the 3rd grade my parents had pulled me out of public school to be home-schooled, because my clothes were being torn to the point of indecency on the bus and I would come home bloodied and bruised. The first few years after I went back to public school in the 8th grade were not much better and like Beethoven I attempted to take my own life. I think God every day that I survived, but in the show, Beethoven doesn’t.
This show hit so close to home that I cried for at least the last 20 minutes of the show, through the talk-back, and for part of the ride back to campus. It saddens me to the deepest depths that we live in a society where the kind of behavior that can lead to a child’s death is thought of as “character building.” It sucks that it wasn’t just me. It’s a problem so basic within our culture that this play had to be written to make us question it.
And question it we did. This play faced an outbreak of controversy almost immediately after rehearsals began. A student on campus found the show to be offensive and so exercised her right to petition the ban of the show. To an extent, her goal was achieved. The compromise was that the show would not be allowed to be performed on campus. The Actor had to find a new performance space and ended up at the Berlin Cafe in CoMo. When The Roommate told me it was a small space, I could not have prepared myself for just how small. Last night when we arrived, there were 54 chairs in the house, the stage was practically in our laps, and we were finding spaces for people as they poured in.
In the end, I think it worked in The Actor’s favor. Being physically close to the actors helped me, as a viewer, to connect and feel like I was watching real life play out before my eyes. And, in reality, the controversy that lasted for so long was free publicity. By the time posters went up last week, everyone knew what the show was. Honestly, I think there was a better turn out, despite the conditions surrounding the performance, than there would have been if it had been performed on campus as scheduled.
The space also worked really well for the talk-back. At the end of the show, The Actor opened the floor for conversation between the actors and the audience members. This was exactly the kind of thing Royal was looking for, because it was the beginning of discourse on what was wrong about what happened in the show and why exactly it was wrong.
It is wrong to abandon young adults, teenagers, to make hard decisions alone, to feel unloved and unwanted, during the most influential and fragile years of their young lives. It is wrong to bully and torment another person and to become so immune to it that you truly believe it’s just all fun and games. It is wrong to idly watch as the people around you destroy the lives of themselves and their “friends.” And it is especially wrong that a child who is different than the rest of the crowd feels so alone and so hated that he took his own life.
I applaud the playwright and I applaud the cast and crew. Most of all, I applaud my friend, The Actor. Thank you for all you do, all you have done, and all you will continue to do through this beautiful and heart-wrenching work of art. Thank you for going through with this no matter how ugly and difficult it got. Thank you for making the choice to stand up for me and for many others after me. You can’t know what it means to me that people are beginning to take notice.
…Is to keep me in your thoughts and prayers, dear readers.
My mission, which I don’t have much of a choice but to accept, as laid out by my wonderful Bestie is this:
Each morning when I wake up, I must look in the mirror and say one thing I am excited about for the day. I must also decide on one thing I want to accomplish that day.
Today I was excited about going to work in the Library. I love my Library job, both because it’s a great job and because I love the people I work with.
Today’s task to accomplish is the writing of my rough draft for my cultural evaluation. I already have two pages done.
I am going to add this to my mission: At the end of each day, I am going to write down three things that went well that day.
It’s not the end of the day yet, but my three things are the two pages on my rough draft, my voice lesson(I successfully and repeatedly hit the high A in Little elegy), and my character analysis sheets for my voice lesson pieces(DJ said not only did I hit the nail on the head, but that I was the most creative and most detailed, and that he’d like to use them as references for how to do the worksheets for future students!).
Really, as you might be able to tell, so far my voice lesson was the high light of my day. This is rare and I’m glad it happened on today of all days. 🙂
A big shout out to my Bestie for all the advice and kind words she shared with me last night in the midst of my meltdown.
A few weeks ago she updated her facebook and I sent her a text message that said this, “Sometimes I think you’re silently communicating with me via your status update.” To which she replied, “That’s because I usually am.” Last night her status had this to say, “I will say it again, and as many times as I need to until you actually believe it: if you are feeling something it is a legitimate emotion and no one can tell you otherwise. You are the only one that feels it just like it is in your heart. I will never underestimate that. I love you forever and always.”
L.A. has also been really good to me lately. Not that he isn’t always wonderful, but lately he’ll just text me out of the blue. He tries to play it off as if he needs my advice, but I’m fairly certain it’s just because he knows I need someone to talk to. He’s been sending me memes from him collection and they really make me laugh.
I have the two best friends in the entire world. And they just love me through all my crap.
I think I can now begin moving forward through the crap and begin to at least figure out why I feel like my life is falling apart around me. I will pull my sh*t together. I will get good grades. I will graduate on time. And I will keep both of my majors. Until a time when I, and no one else, decides otherwise.
I can do this.
*While to that rock I’m clinging
No, I’m not in a particularly stormy season in my life, that song just happens to be stuck in my head. Ok, so it MIGHT have something to do with the fact that SAI is singing it at our American Music Recital in a few weeks, but that’s really beside the point. 😉
I’m doing quite well. Those of you who see me everyday at school, however, get to witness my every day frustrations. Yay for you! I’m really sorry about that, I need to work harder to keep those, sometimes aggressive, outbursts of frustration to myself.
I’ve just been getting a lot of lies and back-stabbing from people who I thought were good friends of mine. In one particular case, I think the individual is still upset over a misunderstanding had between the two of us. I’m not sorry for what I said, because it was in line and a part of my job, but I am sorry that it came across the way it did. What is most upsetting is that the individual then said some things that I believe were said just to hurt me. And initially they did, but then I found out that the things the individual had said… Well, they weren’t true…
That hurts. Especially since what was said is that another friend of mine was disappointed in me. That second friend said she never said that and was, in fact, quite proud of me.
I wish that people would stop lying to me, it’s been occurring with more frequency and it’s really starting to tick me off. I also wish that the people lying to me didn’t think I was stupid; if you’re going to lie, make sure your “backbone from a distance” isn’t someone I talk to regularly.
There’s a remarkable quote from The Kite Runner that has stuck with me since I first read the novel:
“There is only one sin, only one. And that is theft. Every other sin is a variation of theft… When you kill a man, you steal a life. You steal his wife’s right to a husband, rob his children of a father. When you tell a lie, you steal someone’s right to the truth. When you cheat, you steal the right to fairness.”
I’ll leave that tickle your brains for a while.