Y’ever notice that the Apostle Paul talked about himself A LOT? That’s the main reason I’m pretty sure the Letter to the Hebrews wasn’t authored by him. Apart from the stylistic differences, there’s no way old Paulie would have written an epistle without plastering his own name all over it and filling it with self-referential anecdotes.
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. (KJV)
In 2 Timothy 4:7, Paul pulls the “getting back to MEEEEEEE” card again, now at the end of his life and ruminating on himself and his Christian walk. FOR A CHANGE. Whenever I read this passage, in fact this whole chapter, I’m reminded of Cyrano de Bergerac on his deathbed, dictating his epitaph:
Rhymer, brawler, and musician,
Famed for his lunar expedition,
And the unnumbered duels he fought,
And lover also, by interposition!
Here lies Hercule Savinien
De Cyrano de Bergerac.
Who was everything, yet was nought.
A Little Self-Absorbed
Of course, I’m not one to talk. Granted, this here is a personal blog so it’s gonna be navel-gazing by design; but I fully admit that I’m probably more introspective than is healthy. Maybe that’s part of why my normal is so broken, who knows? While I don’t journal as obsessively as I did a decade or so ago, I still spend more time in my own head than with other humans, even when my life ISN’T circling the drain. I’d thought returning to church might alleviate that, but I’ve pretty much been completely ignored, apart from the pastor (and Brother C that one day).
So yeah, I’m still pretty much my own best friend AND worst enemy of late, since very few other people are actually talking to me. This, combined with all the other failures and deficiencies and rejections I’ve had, is really making me wonder if the end is nigh. Like Paul (…and Cyrano) I’ve found myself wondering what people will say about me when I’m gone.
Hand, Staple, Forehead
In case you’re wondering at this juncture, no, I’m not fourteen years old. I don’t have a flimsy padlock on my diary. There are no photos of a mop-headed pubescent pop singer on my mirror. And I’m not despairing over whether That One Kid From Third Period LIKE-likes me or not. I am a fortysomething adult who cannot hold down a job, keep a close friend longer than a couple of years, or maintain anything close to a healthy mental state, with the result that I’m broke, for all intents and purposes homeless, and ready to cash in my few remaining chips.
My cleverly-disguised PayPal address can be found on the Contact page, by the way, if you’re inclined to lecture me about “not doing anything to help myself.” See, nearly every modern tool that is designed to assist with those things (like doctors, medication, or therapy) COSTS MONEY, OF WHICH I HAVE NONE. (However, please be advised that any funds received thereby will likely go towards my recently-canceled-for-nonpayment car insurance rather than any medical intervention. At my current level of brokenness, I’m far more concerned about getting pulled over and ticketed while job-hunting than seeing a doctor.)
The sound of clucking tongues. That’s all I can hear when I think of my obituary and funeral service. Disappointed yet completely unsurprised head-shaking. Quite a few people would be moderately saddened. A small handful might feel actual, tears-inducing grief. Some would say, “At least she’s with Jesus now.” Others would question whether that’s the case, couching their words in careful language and “Only God knows for sure.”
No one would say, “She fought the good fight, she finished the race, she kept the faith.”
Nobody will speak at my “celebration of life” about what a Good Little Christian I was. In fact, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t even be given such a service in the first place. Those are reserved for believers who never complain or get depressed, never talk about their problems and how discouraged they are. If people can’t stand up and testify about what a joyful soul you were, how you always had a smile even during hard times, and how you never once forgot that there were people worse off than youuuuuuu, what would be the point?
Keeping the Secret
For reasons that are hopefully obvious, I haven’t shared this blog with anyone I’m close to in real life. They may stumble upon it, but it’s primarily an outlet for me to bitch and moan (duh) and expel at least some of the thoughts knocking things off the shelves in my mind. There are things I can’t say to people in meatspace. Things I probably shouldn’t say here, even with the dubious level of anonymity granted by Ye Olde Worlde Wide Webbe. But in the tangled skein of my bitterness at being rejected for my “bad attitude,” there’s another, coarser thread: Resentment for being expected to keep my mental health issues to myself.
I wish I were dead. There, I said it. And I should be allowed to say it without fear of reprisal in the form of getting Baker Acted, losing what few social connections I still have, and being saddled with yet another massive medical bill THAT I WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO PAY thus ruining the tiny progress I’ve made since my idiot ex-husband wrecked my credit all those years ago. I should be allowed to talk about these things without being carted off in handcuffs “for my own good” by people who don’t have to pay the price.
If Wishes Were Horses
And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them. (KJV)
The above quote (Revelation 9:6) really doesn’t apply to me. In context, it’s referring to the unsaved souls being afflicted by freakish locusts during the Tribulation. Unlike those unfortunates, I do belong to God, I know where I’m going, and it’s not to a place of torment. Still, it’s not too far from the truth to say I’m seeking and desiring the same thing right now. Each day that passes without a callback or a job lead, I’m closer and closer.
I’m not supposed to say these things. I’m not supposed to feel this way and I’m not supposed to be thinking such thoughts. And the more honest I am about just how very bad my depression has gotten, the more people inch away from me. Even the persistently-cheery Mr. A doesn’t pop up in my instant messages as much lately. And I can’t even blame him, or the rest of them.
I’m Not the Apostle
And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (KJV)
When old Paulie was dealing with his thorn, whatever or whoever it was, mentioned in 2 Corinthians 7-9, he of course asked God for help. God, for his own reasons, allowed the thorn to remain, and Paul had to be content with that. But I’m not Paul. I don’t know how to keep living with these thorns, much less glory and be happy with them.
I’m exhausted. Mental illness is exhausting. Throw it in a pot with loneliness and a broken sense of belonging and you’ve got a recipe for giving up. I’m ready to give up this good fight, give up the race. I don’t know what the answer is. The questions aren’t even clear.