Falling Apart

This is tough to post, mostly because I don’t want the kind of attention this could bring. But I need to get stuff out, ya know?

Lately I’ve been feeling really… off. Blank. Each day sort of blurs into the next one. The fact that it’s March, and that we have already sprung forward… I can’t even process.

I’m going through a really rough time. I’m depressed, and I know it. I don’t want to admit it, but I know that’s what it is. Being depressed completely sucks, you know that? It’s one of those things lots of people just rolllll their eyes at and think “Ughhh. Geez. Grow up. Stop being so dramatic.” And that right there just makes everything even worse.

I am lucky enough to not only feel very deeply, but think about EVERYTHING. DEEPLY. Going into a depression REALLY sucks for me, because I think myself out of asking for help.

Right now, I feel like someone came and sliced my stomach open, and everything started to spill out. In some ways, I feel like I’m just dying. I’m trying to hold it all together, hold it all in, because it’s all I can do to keep from falling apart. It feels like some people suspect what I’m going through, and some people definitely KNOW. They see that I am wounded. But somehow I still feel like I have to go about my normal day. I still have to do everything I would normally do. I feel like everyone wants me to act normal. I think that is one of the reasons I left my most recent job after being there only a week. I knew going into it that I wouldn’t be there long, and I had a hard enough time convincing myself to go there from the job before it, but it seemed like I might be happier there. After a week, I knew how much I would hate being there. To add on to that, this job required me to sit quietly and stare at a computer screen and literally do NOTHING until the next phone call came in. No reading, no distractions. Sit up straight and wait for the next call, period. Imagine being someone who thinks too much, be dealt a serious blow, and then be told to sit in a corner and do nothing else but act happy every day. I couldn’t do it, so I left. If I was going to think and hurt all the time, I wanted it to at least be on my own terms, in the ways I wanted to do it.

But now, here I am a month later. Still hurting. And I want so badly to reach out for help, to let go of trying to hold myself together and hold it all in, and spill my guts to someone who can make it better. But I’m so scared to do that. Letting go to reach out to someone means not holding myself together anymore. I risk falling apart, spilling out. I find myself staring at my phone or at Facebook, wanting so badly to reach out and make a new friend, or talk to an old one. Maybe sharing some of the love I can give will make me better. But then I think myself out of it.

“No Elliott, you shouldn’t reach out to anyone. You don’t really have anything to talk about, not something anyone is prepared to hear. You’ve got blood on your hands, and what’s inside you is gross. No one will want to look at that, touch it. No one wants to get their hands dirty to help you out. All you can do is make small talk, act like you’re okay, and hate yourself when someone isn’t more interested in talking to you than they are. Just keep on bleeding.”

It really makes me wonder how many people we see every single day who are having that exact conversation in their heads. How many people who are going around just trying to hold it together, but feel unable or unworthy to reach out for help.

I’m at war within myself. I feel so much right now, I hurt so much. I think so often about why I’m hurting, what I can do about it. I KNOW what I can do about it, but to my mind, it would mean diving into the pain and immersing myself in it. Fully feeling it. And I really don’t know if I can do that. I continue to torture myself by thinking about it all.

And so I sit here, wounded. People see me. If they know me, they know I’m hurting, but like many people who know their friends are hurting, they expect me to reach out to them if I need help. They don’t seem to recognize how very rarely I ever ask for help even when things are great, how rarely I talk about these things, and so they assume that I don’t need anyone right now. Maybe they think it isn’t their place, that we aren’t THAT good of friends.

And then there are just so many people who don’t know me as well, who may know I am hurting or may not, and who feel it isn’t their place to reach out to me. Who might think I’m strange for wanting to strike up conversation. Who might feel I come on very strongly, or act a little too familiar with them, and it pushes them away. These people don’t recognize that the reason I’m coming on so strongly is because I feel like I’m bleeding out, like I’m drowning, and I’m looking for someone just to keep my head above the water for awhile.

It honestly does not help one bit that I initially resist all efforts for people to help out or cheer me up if they do offer. It’s offputting and it gives the wrong impression. I know why I do it. I want people to be more invested, more than just the casual “Is everything okay?” that we throw around so loosely. I want them to recognize that if they really want to help me, they aren’t messing with some splinter or a sprained ankle. There’s going to be gore, they will get dirty, and it will be gross. I want them to push past my protests, I want to know that they are really invested and more than just curious. I want to know that they will see it through to the end and won’t run for the hills once they find out what they’re getting into,

I think the hardest part of all of this is that many people continue to ask me why I don’t just pray about it, what I’m doing about my faith, why don’t I turn to God. Well let me ask you this: Would you want to meet your celebrity crush right after you had gone dumpster diving? Silly question, I know. But the purpose of the question stands. God is Almighty. He is holy and pure and awesome. And I feel absolutely filthy going to Him and asking for help.

I recognize that I feel that way even on my best days, but when I’m depressed and I am thinking and feeling more deeply than ever, approaching God feels pointless. Like sending a fan letter to Brad Pitt, asking him for a phone call on your birthday or something super personal or expensive. God obviously feels no obligation to me for anything, and my whole life I’ve believed that God only did stuff for us when we were worthy of it. You know that whole prosperity gospel thing, where God blesses you when you’re a great person? Well, as much as I hate that message, I buy into it so much in my own life. And that message is shouted loud and clear when people tell me to pray about it or call on God right now.

What they say is the a  half-truth. Prayer has power, absolutely it does. But what I hear, the other side of the coin, is,

“Elliott, if you had a little more faith, none of this would be happening.”

“Elliott, if you were cleaner, BETTER, more good, God would make this better too.”

“Elliott, why haven’t you called on God yet? Obviously your lack of communication with Him has resulted in these feelings and this problem you’re having.”

“Elliott, if only you were more. If you were more, you wouldn’t feel this way.”

I’m waiting for more than directions. I’m waiting on more than a sign. I’ll bet the man who was passed by when he was mugged by robbers probably knew which direction he could go to get help. I imagine he was just too injured to go that way. He needed help. He needed God’s hands, one of His children, a good Samaritan, to pick him up and take him there. I need so much more right now than just a point in the right direction. I need someone, or many someone’s, to carry me in that direction, until I can walk on my own.

If you know me, don’t take any of this to mean that I blame anyone for how I feel, or that I’m playing a martyr to guilt someone into helping me. I don’t mean to sound that way. It’s just so hard to ask for help right now.

I guess I just hoped that it was so obvious, I wouldn’t even have to ask.

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