I’ve been wondering if I’m suffering from manic depression. In the same heartbeat I can feel both the ecstasy of excitement and incomprehensible joy and the agony of desperation and anxiety. The two feelings are so powerful it feels like my ribcage will crack, splitting into two, and tearing my heart apart with flying remnants of its bloodied muscle.
I’ve been thinking about calling my old therapist and asking her what this means, why my ying and my yang seem to be hurtling towards each other at a dizzying speed. But I won’t. The fear of being called back into her office and signed up for another round of soul-bearing, tear-stained sessions won’t permit me. It’s not that therapy doesn’t work, it really does, and it really has worked for me in the past, but it’s that I am mentally exhausted at the thought of going see her once a week on a Friday morning. It’s too much to think about right now.
Life is…good? Sometimes. A lot of the time, I think, yes. Work is going well. Some exciting developments are afoot with Young Motherhood, I’m writing more than I have done previously and I feel like I’m getting better and better at everything each day. I’m getting those morsels of validation and feedback that a more insecure version of myself craved/craves, and unbeknownst to me, somebody somewhere wants me to be a performance poet because after years of silence people are flinging opportunities my way and some of it actually pays. I have so much to be thankful and excited about.
–And so much to be sad about too. I won’t divulge the details of the undercurrent of melancholy that tugs at my soul each day, and not for the sake of maintaining a fragile veneer of glad rags and good times, but because I do not wish to invite pity. That’s one reason I find it hard to answer the “how are you?” question honestly. I would love some empathy, but sympathy and pity seem to be the only thing on offer, and both make my skin crawl.
I read one of my favourite stories in the Bible this morning, it was the story of the Hebrew heroine Deborah (Judges 4-5). She was a leader, a judge, a prophetess and a warrior, she talked a good game and had the actions to back it. She not only encouraged Barak, the leader of the Israelite army, but when he asked her to ride out with him she said “I surely will.”
Will you ride out with me?
“I surely will.”
I wish you would.
I am weary. Being sad is tiresome, it weighs down your bones. I don’t have the energy to react to all the good news in the way I wish I could – the way I know I should – and instead I let it wash over me like a sick and shivering invalid allows a nurse to gently bath their skin: providing momentary relief from the feverish sweat that coats their body.
And when it all gets too much, I type this confessional out piously, ready to post anonymously in a world with too much noise, commotion and distraction. Why? Why should you care dear reader? You have your own your own problems that you would probably tell me about, if I stopped listening to the inward clamour of conflicting humanity for just a second. I don’t know why, faceless friend, I don’t know why. I guess what I’m trying to say is: I’m alive. This life hasn’t killed me yet.