I remember the feeling when I plunged into something like depression, and I didn’t know who to turn to.
It felt like I’m drowning in this dark void of awful loneliness. So alone. Like everything inside of me, my soul, just sinking into this pool of black ink. Everywhere I look, pitch black—a potent cocktail of desperation and violent rage.
I’ve been wrongly taught by the world that emotions and feelings are not to be trusted. So, I’ve learnt to box them up.
Unknowingly, I became an expert in compartmentalising my pain. I didn’t do it on purpose, somewhere along my life, I just learnt how to function normally.
I went to work ‘normally’, I led my team ‘normally’, I went to church ‘normally’, I laughed ‘normally’, however, I was everything but normal. I was crumbling, and my days just became harder and harder.
I didn’t know how to open up. Who to turn to that won’t:
or worse, ask me to justify my feelings.
I tried to rationalise it away. My problems are small compared to the world.
I tried to pray it away. But the sadness stayed.
I tried to coat it with Words from the Bible. Nothing sticks.
I tried to escape it with Frasier. The laughter lasted only as long as the sitcom.
I felt guilty and weak for feeling this way. I asked myself mockingly, “are you being melodramatic?”
Chin up! The world says.
In fact, someone brutally commented on my blog, “try not to be too dramatic!” I felt at once ashamed that I may be emotional. But angry too, for being judged.
Herein lies the problem.
Some of us are just too quick to pass comments based on our views.
Some of us, too busy to pause and listen.
We have talkers, speakers, self-help, no-help, preachers, teachers.
But we need more listeners. People to listen without passing judgement.
Because pain is lonely.
The shortest verse in the Bible is—
He is not dispassionate. He is empathetic in our weakness. He does not tell us to be less dramatic nor fault us for feeling sad. It is ok not to be ok. We can draw comfort from knowing that.
Don’t apologise for mourning, grieving or weeping. God comes into our pain and feels with us. He will also bring along the right people to walk alongside with us through this wall. Please reach out.
And if you know someone who is going through a tough time in life, please reach out to them.
We don’t need to be a counsellor, but we can be a friend, a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on.
We can be the one to give an encouraging smile, send an encouraging note, deliver a bouquet of flowers or chocolates maybe, or just offer help.
We may not be able to offer solutions to people’s situation, but we can be a comforting presence in the midst of their pain.
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Today, in church, someone asked how am I doing. I gave a genuine answer, “I’m good.” Does that mean I’m no longer sad?
Over these past few weeks, I do wonder whether I am exaggerating my emotions, even feeling ashamed that perhaps I’m just emotional and a drama-queen. I can’t explain why I don’t mope around with a downward turned lips, that I still can work; heck, laugh and make silly jokes. Then I stumbled upon this article—depression doesn’t make you sad all the time. I think it explained the situation pretty well.
Excerpt: When I’m having a depressive episode, I’m not walking around in tattered black clothes, weeping and wailing.I keep working and have friendly chats with the people I work with. Above all, I experience moments of happiness.
Do you experience this situation too?
Major drama—This is how I feel in my head.
But, life must go on. This is how I need to exhibit self-control in front of people, especially at work.
While I’m struggling with these, I struggle with God.
In your anger, do not sin. Let go, let God.
These rage, these sense of injustice, these wanting to burst into tears in public, these loneliness of not knowing who to talk to, who can I trust not to judge? And this thought of I should first deal with this with God, and not run to other people. But, I’m having trouble keeping calm and acting as normal as possible. It’s like this darkness trying to fill up the white space, and it feels good to let it be. Yet, I know I must stand guard and not let the Devil have a foothold of my weakness.
Dear Lord, help.