Diary Page Seventy-Eight
November 18, 2008 - And I've been waiting for the stars to fall...

I had a mostly good day yesterday so once again a blessing. I certainly didn't deserve it. I've noticed just how much everything occurs in steps. Depression - step down, and down some more, and another step down and before you know it you're in the pits. It's not sudden, it's gradual, and I watch it happen but don't know how to stop it. What I am learning is how to recover. But now I see that recovery is a step-by-step process as well. Three days ago I finally broke down and cried and that was the first step on the road to recovery. Depression does just what it says, depresses your emotions. So when I can't cry, can't get really angry (only bitterly irritable), can't buy a laugh to save my life, that's depression.

Three days ago I cried, really cried (and my sweet dog came up to me and laid at my feet which she only does when I'm upset, animals, another blessing from God). Then a couple of days ago I got to empathize with someone else in a similar situation and that got my mind working again. Now yesterday and I woke up feeling refreshed. I took a nice long warm shower, conditioned my hair, ate a nutritious breakfast and just had a delightful morning. Mornings, another blessing from God and I am no morning person. But dawn and daylight are beautiful, if you get the chance to appreciate it and take it in. I used to think showering was a useless hassle (just get dirty again later) but actually it feels really good. Maybe soon I'll start leaving the house again.

December 5, 2008 - the thrill and the hurting....

A lot of recent reflecting and some insightful therapy sessions have brought me to what I believe to be a critical point. I have long perceived a conflict between what I see as my essential personality and the character I need to develop in order to grow and be a whole person close to God. For as long as I can remember I have isolated myself. My therapist suggests it is a defense developed as a child trying to cope with the horrible and violent chaos in my household, as well as the fact that I was very different from most of the people I encountered, and people don't really like "different". I'm sure that is true and exploring that perspective has helped, but it is not enough to push me "over the hump" because I know, I know, that there is something in my being that makes isolation a natural choice for me. There is an essential part of me that is diminished when I am not alone. I was born with these walls as much as I crafted them. Now this may not be reality but it is my reality and has been for a very long time (all of my conscious life). So when I try to climb the walls or knock them down bit by bit, I run into a ferocious enemy: me. This is the one thing I can't talk myself out of, this is the thing I cannot rationalize, this is where my mind fails me. Therefore, I have long felt that it would take something huge, something obvious and catastrophic to knock these walls down. Something very scary, something that could crush me unless it came from God. But God knows who and what I am...right? Isolation cannot be right but for me there hasn't been any other way. And I haven't heard any trumpets.

What really got to me was realizing that I haven't really loved anyone outside of my family. That is painful but it is also true, and for me - truth salves the pain. Love is vulnerable. Okay, that's not what the scripture says. Hmm, love does not keep an account of injury, but I do and always have with every friend I have ever had. Always looking out behind the protective barrier of my Jericho walls, I know what I have done and what I did and did not receive in return from others. My therapist caught me today when I said that I am afraid "I will never be loved, never loved in return". That's saying two different things. To love and to be loved is not tied to having anything "returned". I have kept account and kept so much account that I am buried in my "accounts", so deep I don't even want friends anymore. They seem like such a fantasy-thing. Friendship must exist but I have not allowed myself to experience the grace of it and it is me who did the stopping, not any of the people who tried to be my friend. I do not trust ANYONE. I do not even really trust God. Now I have trusted my family, really had faith in them and been hurt many times. I do not trust them unthinkingly anymore which is a good thing, but there is an emptiness in my life that wasn't there before. As toxic and crazy as my relationship with my family was, there was always love there and it reached behind my walls (while fortifying them all the while). I know I have substituted taking care of my family and relating to them for experiencing intimacy with other, but I don't know how to replace it at all. I don't have much experience trusting and I don't know what it is like to be loved. This is not to say that no one has ever loved me, I just haven't been able to feel it. I wouldn't really recognize it and I know that.

So now what? There won't be any trumpets to knock down the walls. But I can't live with them anymore. Now what?

December 8, 2008 - I feel so untouched right now...

I don't think anyone really cares about anything much to do with me except for me. If I make a friend, I spend far more time hiding things than sharing because I don't think anyone would care. Everyone is interested in their own pursuits, their own opinions, their own lives. That's the way humanity works. Somehow other people are able to find a way to relate in spite of that but I'm not able to do that yet. The more I hear advice to "focus more on other people, empathize more", the more I shut down and withdraw from the world. The crazy thing is that I am the one telling myself I need to relate but it is a pressure I cannot stand. The only reason my family members know anything about me is because I live with them and can't hide in my own home. Well actually I hide quite a bit (for example, no one ever knows what I read and reading is one of my passions) but some stuff you can't hide. Stuff about me:

- I love playing computer games, especially the Sims. I don't know anyone else who has ever even seen the Sims. I would be too embarassed to share this fact with anyone although I don't think it's wrong. But why would anyone care that I love to play the Sims?

That's always the question I ask myself before I share anything: why would they care? The answer is almost always that they wouldn't. So I say nothing. But it hurts, it really hurts, all the pressure. All of the time I devote to this or that passion and it means nothing at all to anyone. And if it's not a spiritual pursuit, it doesn't even matter to God.

- I love reading, I've read thousands of books, and countless articles, stories, and websites. I rarely share what I'm reading with anyone, and I only know one person who ever asks (a sister in my congregation named Dawn).

When someone asks "So what have you been up to?" I wonder why I can't just reply that I've been reading such-and-such and it's good. Maybe because I believe people are judging me. I wonder, is it contradictory to think that people are judging me while at the same time believing that they don't really care about anything to do with me? I think my therapist sees a contradiction, which is why she tries to convince me that people don't care about my flaws or foibles because they're more into what's going on with themselves. But when she says that, all it does is confirm my belief that people DON'T care, but not in the "they won't judge you" way, rather in the "you don't matter" way.

"You don't matter." I don't matter. Now now, that's not true right? People do care about my well-being, I know this. But.....my well-being, my so-called "mental health" (which is a measurement of how much I deviate from the norm), my physical life, my appearance...they all mean much less to me than my mind and my heart and my soul. I could sit silent in an empty room and still have a lot going on. And that inner world is what means something to me, but NOT ENOUGH, not if it doesn't matter in the world outside. So I try to make it matter, try to find a cause that fits my passions, or rather, try to adapt the "worthy" causes (meetings, studying, pioneering) to my inner world and it's taking me a long time. And it shouldn't take a long time.

I don't have enough faith because I won't let go of my self.
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