In the middle of the darkness that consumes me, I feel like the sky is falling.
I’m drowning in an ocean of pain that radiates from my chest and wraps around my spine. I’m beyond help in that moment. The only thing I can do is outstretch the strings of my heart to God and wait for Him to send the life boat I need to get back to the shore of myself. The steadiness – the island that I feel stranded on. He sends hands that plunge into the waters to pull me out. Sometimes I can accept them and others I allow myself to drown. In self pity. In worthlessness. In pain.
In the midst of my mind is a labyrinth of diagnoses and medications – all to keep me from going over the edge. Otherwise I can’t. Can’t sleep. Can’t eat. Can’t adult. The me I lost years ago is replaceable by a clone of her, pumped with substances to keep me functioning. When the anxiety hits, I’m punched in the chest with its full force. I can’t breathe. Can’t think. I just want to be able to shut it off but it’s a busted fire hydrant of cement in my soul, determined to deplete me of the ability to breathe. The ability to hope. But doesn’t take away my ability to pray.
I’ve learned to say prayers without breathing.
In these moments, I undoubtedly need the most love but fear I am not easy to love. It is in those moments that I need the most warmth but pull away and retreat into the dark, damp cave of myself. I can’t explain why I insist on the struggle instead of surrendering to love. I’ve only come up with not wanting to infect or affect those that I love with my palpable feelings of nothingness. No matter how internal these issues may be, it is still contagious. I don’t want to dim the lights of others just because mine blows out quite frequently like a candle in a hurricane.
So I fight. And I push. And sometimes getting out of bed is impossible, even with my life demanding it. Sometimes even when I can’t breathe I have to walk and talk and smile and shake hands with strangers. Even when I want to crawl inside the cave, I have to walk in the sun. Because even on those days where I feel most defeated, I know that victory is in the small things: I got out of bed. I brushed my teeth. I hugged my daughters. I spoke to God and He spoke back.
You may have days like these – where the sun seems too bright. Where interacting with people is met with the same bravado as walking into fire. Where breathing is impossible and living even more. I’m not here to tell you how life is supposed to be – I’m telling you what is. And what is, is that you are not alone. Every moment you push through the crowd of darkness until you reach the light, you have won. Every day that you allow the sun to shine on your face, you have won. Every day that you get out of bed – that, is victory. On the days where it is difficult to pray, and you can only turn your eyes up and cry instead, remember – that, is victory too.
In the moments where you are hardest to love, love anyway. In the moments where you are unable to breathe? Breathe anyway – in small sips, in short takes. But breathe. And in the moments where it is hardest to live?