It arrives unexpectedly, and It’s never welcome. The darkness.. I see it in his eyes, the way it furrows his brow, and obliterates his pupils.
I watch with careful deliberation , and everything within me aches to take his pain away.
It is not mine to relinquish. I have learned much, and yet I have learned precious little on this voyage into another’s soul… where I can only observe their heart that is being squeezed so incessantly, and the ache is so tangent, it yearns to give up.
To walk beside another and ” bear witness to their suffering,” is one of the most desperately moving experiences of my life. The struggle of the brain, that will not let this person rest… It is a torture to behold.
He tells me,
” each day is a fresh new hell.”
What do I do with this proclamation?
I’m powerless, and without any comforting words with which to respond. It wounds me incessantly to be unable to offer relief that will stick.
It is all around, this depression and anxiety that steals and robs, and does not care who you are, and where you came from. It just creeps in like a thief in the inky black of night, uninvited, and it has no intention of departing. It is comfortable in its’ disquiet, and seems to relish the destruction it evokes.
How to fight an unseen ghost that lingers, and lounges in your bed, trapping you with the cotton bedcovers, and wants to smother you with lies, and seeks to consume you.
You are desperate to help, to come alongside, to not say the annoying, unhelpful platitudes, but every time you open your mouth.. out they spill..like too much overflow, and yet… you are unable to stop.
Prayer… I do it.. and I will keep doing it.. even when the letting go does not come, and I still wait to see deliverance from this formidable foe called depression.
So much respect for those that fight this opposer, which is unbelievably strong and unrelenting, and brutally intense.
So many things to work through to seek relief… to just be able to live not under a heavy grey cloud, that threatens a downpour of heavy grief at any time… it’s so unpredictable, and I can’t see it, or touch it, or stop it….
You are not alone.. people care… I care…and yet I feel powerless.
Love conquers all.. so it needs to conquer this too.
I have no idea how this feels from the inside, but I can tell you that seeing it played out like a horror movie in front of me, and feeling like a helpless observer has about flattened me many times.
If only we could travel into the brain, and rescue that part that gets affected by depression. This sounds so simplistic.
My Father underwent bilateral brain surgery many years ago, in an attempt to isolate, and cauterize that part of his brain that Parkinson’s disease was destroying. At that time.. it may have been too late, the disease had stolen so much from him already..
We were not sure we saw any improvement from that experience, but He had to, we had to ……try. It was the only hopeful option out there, along with numerous meds that were already on board. This brain surgery was considered new, and untested, and we had to travel to Loma Linda, California to obtain this operation.
The doctors were only able to operate on the one side of his brain, because he could not answer the questions they asked while his brain lay exposed on the operating table, and his head sat immobilized with his metal crown of thorns. The data they received let them know that my Father’s answers, and ability to respond with comprehension was compromised.
But still… this operation was something revolutionary.. It was hope for relief, and a way to turn back time on a brain that was destroying itself.
When you are hurting, and your love one is plagued by disease, depression, cancer… you will try anything to find a way…. because that’s what loving someone does.
Consequences of your actions are not even on the radar… Healing is, and it can distort our choices at times, but desperation wins out… the willingness to try anything…whatever it takes… because healing is necessary, a way through this thunderstorm of disease, that wreaks chaos around every corner.
I have found that just being beside that person in their present situation, even though you feel completely helpless… and you are.. offers them some comfort.
Letting someone be real with what lies deep within the recesses of their minds can bring relief, if only temporary.. the need to be heard and acknowledged is a basic need of the human soul.
Such creativity and anguished beauty comes from the burdened heart… I wish it did not have to be this way… but it is.
The writing of the short stories, fictional ones, that are sprinkled with non fiction , leave me wondering what is real, and what is not.
If only they could see the astounding courage of spirit and beauty that I see.. so much respect.. and a gargantuan stack of love and admiration for fighting to overcome, and just find joy.
Then… I hear it in his voice, the lightness, The sprig of the smallest birth of feeling better, and even from miles away, my spirit soars, because his is lifted up.
So much gratitude when this occurs. The reaching out of this outstretched hand that continues to breathe into the next day… and I exhale, because he is breathing too.
Being in the outdoors, and opening up your lungs to the scent of pine, and hopeful horizons… that is the thing to not let go of.
Pressing your face up towards the light, and feeling it warm your skin, and invigorate your being.. the healing power of just sitting in the great outdoors.. and letting your troubled mind rest.
The moments when you can’t even see the outline of your former or even present self, obliterates hope in that moment, but to hang on, and let your arms go… and be carried… is such a gift.
Friends, community, loved ones, who care, and who won’t stop pursuing your brokenness, because in them, there are also the fractured pieces, that may appear whole on their exterior, but the wounds are still there, bandaged and fragile.
The sign that should read ” careful.. approach with caution,” could hang around most of our necks after all.
Recognizing that the person sitting next to you is fighting demons that you cannot even begin to comprehend, leaves me speechless, and feeling like my hands are tied.
Living water flows in like the gentle rhythmic sound of waves cresting upon the shore, therapeutic, and with a purposeful cleansing.
Talk therapy can be so helpful, the unburdening of your inmost thoughts to a person who is safe, and trained in the discipline of counsel.. is so vital..
Acknowledging to another how deep and dark it gets, and trusting that your confidant will not pass out from hearing your inmost thoughts… is the letting go.. that becomes as vital as the next shaky breath.
He moves from the hellish uncertainty of the breaking of each new day with the daunting realization that this shroud of depression may always be a part of him.
The balance of attempting to stay ahead of his negative self talk, and the frustration of just wanting to be free of the membrane that covers him most times with the hopelessness is consuming.
When I see the light in his eyes, the mischief, and the joy that emanates from him when he discusses with passion something that truly matters to him, with another human who joins him, is profound.
Finding relief from the deep state of disquiet, and letting the light in, as dark curtains are, at long last being pulled back, allows for the daybreak , where there is fresh hope.
He says the worst thing is feeling hopeless, feeling like the fog will never lift. This breaks my heart.
Looking forward, and goal setting, writing, and emoting, and airing it out, allows the cracks to mend.
There is no greater privilege than when another allows you to share in their misery and angst. It cannot be taken for granted… it is a sacred place to be.
The light will always seek to penetrate the dark..and being just there, and acknowledging the reality that you are in it together, as much as you are able, and that you will stand firm seems to allow the arms of comfort to give the tight hug that is needed.
Thank you for letting me in.. it is a supreme privilege. Thank you for trusting me.