panic. irrational panic. nothing is okay. i am not okay. i do not want to be here. i do not want to do this anymore.
i can’t cry in public. i cannot lose my shit in public, around all of these people, around these strangers. I just want to get home. And cry. and sleep. I could sleep forever and it would be okay.
I hop on the next bus home with blurried eyes and an equally blurried mind. I wonder what people think. I wonder if anyone can tell I’m not okay, that I might not ever be okay. I wonder how many people hop on busses and think this same thing, i wonder how many people wonder if they’re seen.
i type some letters on the screen and then erase them. several times.
i can’t do
i’m really h
i need hel
I’m really struggling right now. Please pray for me.
I send it to a friend and regret it instantly. I get a text back, but I don’t want to answer any questions because I know I can’t rationalize the way I feel, the way I don’t want to do anything anymore. I make a list in my head of everything that I would say to a friend if the roles were reversed:
It’s okay. You’re okay. You are going to be okay.
Your worth isn’t defined by anything or anyone except Jesus.
Your friends and family love you. You have a lot of people on your side.
You are here for a purpose.
In the moment all of these things sound like bullshit. In my mind I know that these words are true– they are words that I live and breathe by, the words I write in blog posts, the words whispered to my friends and family on their darkest nights. But in my heart they feel fractured, somehow unfitting.
I’m sobbing in my bed when the phone rings. I think to not answer, but I know she will just call again. I think to pretend I just fell asleep, but I know she knows better. I do not doubt her ability to have someone at my door, herself or another friend or 911, within minutes of not answering. So I pick up the phone.
“What’s going on?”
“I don’t really want to talk about it.”
“Well, you have to talk about it.”
So I talk about it. I talk very shallowly about an email, and how I don’t feel good enough. She’s very patient and practical and all of her advice seems like the same bullshit that the rational me would have told myself.
I get the words out. “I don’t want to do this anymore, any of it. I don’t want to be here. I don’t want to be anywhere.”
She tells me it’s going to be okay. She asks me what I’m doing the rest of the day.
I tell her that I’m not really doing anything, that I’m supposed to hang out with a friend but I want to cancel.
Expect to see me tonight.”
The phone rings, it’s my sister. I’ve stopped crying but I’m watching Parks & Rec and I decline the call. The phone rings again– maybe it’s an emergency? Maybe something happened?
I answer. I can tell right away that Jesse called her. It’s the caution in her voice, the “how are you doing?”
“I’m fine. Just a rough day.” We talk for a bit and I laugh a little. I have to go, because the friend I didn’t cancel on is calling.
She knows something’s wrong too. I know this because there’s a way that people talk to you when you’re vulnerable. It’s not bad, just different and noticable. I do it too– slow, calm, cautious words all focused on the other person. I feel embarrassed, because I don’t like feeling weak and I don’t like people to know I’m feeling weak. I feel better and worse at the same time. I regret sending that text but I’m thankful I don’t have to pretend.
That night we went to one of my favorite places for dinner (R.I.P., Savoy). Friends gathered in my living room and laughed and talked and stayed longer than felt comfortable. I ached to be alone in my pain, but these people have worked their way into my life and sit with me in the darkness and promise that dawn will come.
It’s been about a month since this happened. And this story isn’t about a single event that happened, but rather a season that looks like many other seasons in my life, and maybe many seasons in your life, or in the lives of people you know and care about. This story is about the slow spiral. The isolation. The irrational hopelessness.
There were weeks leading up to it that felt dark, that felt heavy. And I didn’t wake up the next day feeling all better, or healed, or excited about life. But dawn keeps coming, as promised.
And God must be a pretty big fan of today, because you keep waking up to it. You have made known your request for a hundred different yesterdays, but the sun keeps rising on this thing that has never been known. Yesterday is dead and over. Wrapped in grace. Those days are grace. You are still alive, and today is the most interesting day. Today is the best place to live.
– Jamie Tworkowski, If You Feel Too Much
I’m saying all of this because I know I’m not alone in these things. I know that my story is not unique. I’m saying all of this because I want you to know that it’s okay to not be okay. I’m saying all of this because I hope you have people, or are that person for someone else. People need other people, not because we know how to fix the brokenness of our friends or even know the right things to say. But to sit in the awkward, uncomfortable, darkness with someone is worth something.
Stick your nose in some flowers today. Breathe deeply. Send a brave text. Eat as much icecream as you want. Whatever you do, please know that you are not alone & that today is the most interesting day.
So much love, so much hope for you friends.