by carolyn on November 10, 2014

Remember 1998? Remember Shawn Mullins? Remember Lullaby?

I sat in therapy today with my sprained ankle/fractured cuboid and sprained wrist–an outward reflection that doesn’t do my inward brokenness justice. Not a revelation. I’ve felt broken for years and have been in therapy for years. They kinda go hand in hand. We talked through work stuff then family stuff before getting to the brunt of the issue with only minutes to spare. I’m in a crisis of self and now, since getting back into the church, a crisis of faith as well. I fumbled with words trying to explain to my therapist that I don’t know where God ends and I begin and I worry. I worry about glorifying myself instead of him. She reminds me that we can glorify God in all that we do whether it’s scrubbing toilets or singing. And I get that but what do I do with my gift? Is it wrong to write about my weight loss journey instead of my spiritual one? Is it wrong to hypothetically “become” a secular writer instead of penning devotionals? By the way, no news on the weight loss front. I was dabbling in running for about a week before my nondramatic yet incredibly debilitating fall last week. She asked which I wanted to write about and I said neither and the waterworks began, again, as I gestured towards my broken body and broken soul. There’s too much pain. “Write about that,” she says.

This week I have a consultation with a doctor about pursuing Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) because after 8 years of depression and anxiety, it’s gotten that bad. Think One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest but then immediately erase that image from your mind because it’s supposed to be safe, reliable, and voluntary these days. I’ve heard a few second-hand accounts of people with severe depression and ECT was lifesaving, and, more importantly in my opinion, life-changing for them. Between my parents and I, we’ve spent thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours investing in therapies, pills, neurofeedback, diets, and maybe more. I think that list is exhaustive but I may have left something out. I’m exhausted. From what I hear from friends and family, it’s common to go through a depressive period in one’s life. Someone may cite a semester or quarter at college or the transition from college to adulthood and say they were depressed. They then offer their sympathy for my continued struggle and an offer to be there for me if I ever need anything, because they know what it’s like. And I deeply appreciate those kind souls because there is so much stigma surrounding mental illness that it makes me physically ill. But as I graciously accept their kindness a dark, ungrateful, not raised in the South, part of me thinks “you have no idea.” My whole adult life I’ve struggled with this. It’s like comparing boot camp to ‘Nam. Is it totally inappropriate for me to say that out loud?

The depression and the Self vs. God crisis…it brings me to tears more times a day then all other activities combined…as in # of sob sessions > than # of all other daily activities. And I listen to my newly minted playlist “Inspiration — Fall 2014” and go through “Came To My Rescue,” “All the Poor and Powerless,” and “Take Heart.” I have no secular inspiration since Taylor Swift broke up with Spotify. I think I’m taking her Spotify breakup harder than my last personal one… no offense, Ex.

And all I want is for my body and mind and soul to be comforted. When my Nana died in July 2011, her sons gave her eulogy. Nana was sick with multiple systems atrophy and her body slowly and painfully shut down over the course of ten years as she stopped cooking, stopped sewing, stopped walking, planned her funeral, and then spent a few more years waiting for the end.

My dad spoke of how one of her greatest joys was giving each of her grand-babies their first baths. She would gently wash them, rub their soft skin with lotion, savoring the experience. Giving them her undivided attention and treating them like they were the most precious thing on Earth. In that moment they undoubtedly were. Then she’d swaddle them in a blanket and gently rock them. Back and forth, back and forth. In his eulogy, dad said he pictured Nana in Jesus’ arms now. And Jesus was slowly rocking her back and forth, back and forth.

How do I get that on Earth?




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