Will I ever be normal?
That’s the question I asked myself when I was 5 years old and couldn’t stop my uncontrollable crying in Kindergarten.
I asked it again when I developed rashes from the untreated excema that puffed and bled from all the scratching that I stopped wearing anything that showed my legs for over 8 years.
I asked that question many times through out my adolescence as I was figuring out that what was the norm for me wasn’t the case for many.
I thought I had stopped asking that question when I finally accepted that I am who I am for what I did and didn’t have in my childhood and growing up.
But then I heard myself ask it again 4 years ago when I couldn’t pull myself out of depression.
Will I ever be normal?
Will I ever know what it’s like to not feel depressed?
Will I ever know what love and happiness is?
Those were the questions I asked myself as I sat in my apartment by myself, trying to call anyone who might listen and not hearing from anyone. I had done it to myself, most certainly, alienating myself from everyone near me. Placing invisible barriers so that those who didn’t really know me, wouldn’t know me any further.
But in that moment I needed to know that someone would hear me, and the world replied with a loud and heavy “no”.
Those were the darkest moments, that even as I write about it, it scares me to think that her and I, that woman curled into a ball on a sofa in her apartment, and this woman laying on her bed, that they are the same person.
I didn’t want to start doing the work to heal, because I was worried healing was a destination that I would never arrive at. I had watched as people close to me suffered with their own depression and had suffered with it their whole life. I was scared that the constant defeat of having spiraled back into the darkness would shatter me more than what the depression had already done.
But I didn’t give up. Something made me fight for the woman I thought I was supposed to be, and I did not see that woman living out her days as a shell, hollowed and empty.
But even as I saw the smile return to my face, the rhythm return to my feet, the sound return to my voice, even then I still had the fear that it would all come tumbling down.
Before, when I felt isolated and couldn’t find anyone to talk to, I would feel the weight of that loneliness. Now I’ve turned to prayer and to writing. But I worry, if I ever fall back deep into the abyss will that be enough to sustain me. Or will my thoughts spiral out of control again?
I worry, as I did all those years ago, will I ever be normal? Will I ever experience life without the shadow of the thunderstorm that’s not far behind from wherever I go?
I ask it again today because I feel myself falling into my patterns again. Distancing myself from people, not taking care of my body as I should, watching more and more television and spending less and less time outside, letting my anger get the best of me, paranoia. All symptoms of when things start turning for the worst.
One of the main symptoms that lets me know that things are turning for the worst is that I spend more and more time thinking about the past. Analyzing what I said, what people said to me, how things turned out and how they could have turned out differently. That over analyzing I do starts to distract from what I have in front of me to the point that I’m not certain I’m entirely present in the now.
There’s only one thing that keeps me grounded. When those thoughts start consuming me I remember the message the priest gave a few Sundays ago.
His message was short but it touched me that day and it was what I needed.
God put us on this earth to live. To feel alive. We were not put here to live with shame and guilt and remorse. That is why God sent us Jesus, to forgive us so that we could come closer to God and feel that light and life we can only receive from God.
I think about that message and think if God is so great that I can be forgiven for my trespasses who am I to not allow myself to be forgiven? Who am I to say that I am not allowed to live? Who am I to decide to choose to live in darkness?
So I have to choose light everyday. I’m not saying it’s easy. I have to arm myself, I have to practice giving light to myself and to others.
Even during those days that I feel the light has extinguished from inside me.