Confession: I’m afraid. I don’t know how to get my life started again. I’ve put it on hold for some months now, it seems. I’ve been drifting, like a piece of a ship broken in the midst of a storm, just following the whims of the ocean and seeing where it takes me.
Can I make another confession? I’m a Christian that hasn’t been to church in a month; I haven’t prayed in eons; I haven’t even cracked the spine of my Bible. I’ve wallowed. I’ve survived by working, sleeping and watching TV or reading books.
Back at the beginning of October, I ran out of antidepressants and wasn’t able to get an appointment to see my doctor for a refill immediately. And for a few days I was fine, so I convinced myself I didn’t need meds. Then I wasn’t fine at all, and I couldn’t bring myself to care about trying to be better.
I sunk into despair, giving way to my depression, allowing suicidal thoughts to take root and grow in my mind. I picked out a few things to focus on — my stalling academic career and my lack of a love life — and I let those two failures completely overwhelm me. I focused on them constantly, ruminating on them in the dark and in the light and in the hours in-between.
I sunk into despair, giving way to my depression, allowing suicidal thoughts to take root and grow in my mind.
I let them fuel me even deeper into sorrow. I focused on one boy whom I’d loved and who had chosen someone else, and I let the hurt of that “rejection” fester in my heart. I was mad at him, mad at me, mad at God. And I wanted to die. I knew I would never be anything more than a tragic heartbreak story.
Somehow (read: through friends who talked me off the edge) I survived that phase, and what came next was a little over a month of numbness.
It’s almost like, when I was faced with the suicidal thoughts and the depths of despair, I just tucked my tail between my legs and tried to make myself invisible.
I stopped creating, stopped dreaming, stopped trying. I just…survived.
Around this time last year, I was hospitalized and released and I wrote a blog post about how I wasn’t just going to “survive” depression, I was going to thrive through it. I haven’t done such a great job of that.
I’m so scared to start again. I’m scared of what happens when I dig myself out of my hole, when I let myself hope for something. Even this…even these paragraphs that I’ve written, it’s like just the act of typing these words is unleashing something in me, unstopping a tide that’s going to wash over me. It feels good to write again, so good, even as terrifying as it is.
It’s like just the act of typing these words is unleashing something in me, unstopping a tide that’s going to wash over me.
Maybe that’s how it starts. Maybe I restart my life by going back to the beginning, going back to what I love.
Maybe I read my Bible, go back to church, hang out with friends, and I write.
Because as terrifying as life is, as comforting as numbness can be, it’s not going to bring me any joy, and it’s not going to serve a purpose.
But neither is death.
I’ve got to live. Life is hard, guys. So friggin hard. There is so much ugliness in the world — disease, natural disaster, poverty, cruel men taking advantage of people. There’s mental illness and physical illness and illness of the heart.
But there’s beauty, too.
But there’s beauty, too. There’s beauty in the elegance of a mountain peak straining to reach the heavens, in the way the sun’s rays stretch across the sky at sunset, trying to give us a few more seconds of light. There’s beauty in the curve of someone’s mouth as they laugh and the way our hearts beat just a little more erratically when we’re happy and the way we can take what we’re given and create something unbelievable.
So I’m gonna live for that. I’m gonna live so I can experience the beauty, so I can try to add to the beauty, so I can grow closer to God and my friends and maybe, maybe someday I’ll be in love with someone who will love me back. He’ll hold me close, run his fingers through my hair and kiss me and it’ll be just like it is in the books, except better.
But I’m gonna live so that even if that doesn’t happen, even if my whole life is just me and God, I can die and know that I lived a full life.
I said it before and I’ll say it again: I’m not just another tragic heartbreak story, and I’m not just another broken girl. I feel like my mind is beaten and battered and bent but that’s not the end of me. I’m lonely and sad and unrequited love sucks, it really sucks, but it’s not the end of me. It can’t be.
Karis is a grad student at NYU in New York City. Her writing has appeared online with Seventeen as well as Good Housekeeping. She blogs at karisrogerson.com. To stay informed about all her writing, sign up here.