I had the best of intentions for keeping this-here site updated regularly. In fact I have a long list of blog topics in a Notepad file on my PC — various issues I’ve been planning to touch upon that are related to my Christian walk. A handful of them even exist as draft posts. But since approximately Easter, my depression has been kicking my ass down to previously-unexplored depths.
In the past couple of weeks, I’ve crumbled especially hard. Due to some admittedly poor choices on my part, I’ve had a barrage of reminders that I was Not Good Enough for some people; they’ve moved on with their lives and put me behind them. Whenever I’m cast aside with sentiments along the lines of “wish you nothing but the best, byeeeeee,” especially by someone who once professed to love me, I experience a very real, physical sensation of choking. It’s as if they’re shoving their useless well-wishes and dismissal down my throat like a gag.
On top of that, I’m still unemployed. I’ve gained a ton of weight. I stopped taking my antidepressant. I need to find a new place to live soon (through no actual fault of my own). And I have been sleeping A LOT. My mental state has deteriorated to the point where I have actually lost time. No joke: There’ve been several occasions where I legitimately had no idea what day it was.
So once in a while, I participate in the ultimate self-indulgence of what’s known as “vaguebooking” (making bleak, non-specific posts on my personal Facebook profile) in order to drum up a little sympathy. In my defense, I do keep it to a bare minimum, and I crank the vagueness up to eleven. It’s mainly just updates along the lines of “My depression is really bad right now you guys” without reference to anyone else, but it remains one of the more pathetic coping mechanisms available to us as a species. I cringe on my own behalf whenever I resort to it.
Fortunately, I have a small handful of people who are still dear to me, and to whom I am, inexplicably, also dear. These are people who text me periodically with little heart-shaped emoticons, invite me to their homes for chitchat and to snuggle their pets, and supply me with minor validation in the form of likes and comments on my Facebook posts. Sad, I know, but such little things bring sparks of joy to my otherwise crazy-stupid head.
I had one of my what-day-is-it episodes yesterday, and made a faux-lighthearted quip on Facebook to that effect. I snagged of couple of “reactions” and a “praying hands” emoji, good enough.
And then I unexpectedly got a phone call.
My phone almost never rings when I’m going through these periods of isolation, so it’s always a little jarring. Usually it’s debt collectors (aside to Portfolio Recovery: Give it up, I’m not answering no matter how many new numbers you register). But this time, it was someone from my old church, who saw my Facebook post and very kindly reached out let me know that it was, in fact, Wednesday.
This is someone whom I’ve known for more than a decade, who was present the night I accepted Christ as my Savior, and who has witnessed the ebb and flow of my ever-chaotic life. They wanted with all sincerity to encourage me during this latest of my many hard times. This is what they said:
“You always seem to land on your feet.”
Unfortunately, this was one of the last things my mother ever said to me before she died.
I seldom actually cry these days. When I was a child, I was in a constant state of uncontrollable waterworks, every time a teacher yelled at me or pretty much when anyone spoke to me in a negative manner. It was actually a running joke among the other kids at school.
Not now. I’m fairly numb for the most part these days. I assume it’s from a combination of years of psychoactive medications and gradual desensitization from all the stupid, neverending crap in my life. But hearing my mother’s words from years ago like this made me strangle on tears. I choked hard on this reminder that once AGAIN I’m having to start my entire life over.
We talked for about an hour.
I can’t actually remember the last time I was in church. It’s probably been at least a solid year at this point. But I’m still in touch with a number of people there, mainly via Facebook connections. In spite of that church’s issues (of which there were maaaaaaaany), it’ll always be the place where I got saved and where I learned most of what I know about the Bible.
Gradually, the lumps in my throat smoothed out while I caught up with this old influencer of mine. We always had a complex relationship due to Reasons, and we touched upon those Reasons for some time, as well as past conflicts, current feels, the people I once held up on a pedestal who fell like lightning, and the vagaries of Church Membership In The Modern Age.
We talked about me, and the things that make me “special.” (I can’t use that word in reference to myself without quotation marks.) I was ultimately so uplifted by this call that I decided it’s time:
I’m going back to church.
The person who called me has reached out before. I’ve received the occasional text and Facebook message from them with encouragement to come visit. My brain, which you may recall hates me, has always prevented me from doing so by reminding me of past disappointments and current embarrassments. “Those people didn’t want you. You look like hell. They rejected you repeatedly. You’ll never be accepted there.”
So now I’ve got half a week to fight those thoughts off while I wait for Sunday morning to arrive. Will anyone even remember me? Will anyone other than the one who called me actually be pleased to see me again? Will the people who pissed me off with judgments and lack of grace do it all over again? Will I cry?