depression

Exit 247. Because I have freedom.

I didn’t post last weekend like I usually do.  And I almost never post on a Thursday.  I have a few notes scribbled on a paper with future topics for this blog.  But I’m not writing about any of that.

Today is July 4, Independence Day in the United States.  (Well… it’s pretty late as I’m writing this, and it’s already July 5 in most time zones in the world, but whatever.)  On this date in 1776, a group of representatives led by Thomas Jefferson signed a document claiming that the British Crown had abused its power, and that the American colonies had the God-given right to free themselves from this tyranny and establish a new government.

Normally this is one of my favorite holidays of the year.  Because ‘Merica, that’s why.  We get to barbecue and light stuff on fire and make things explode and celebrate freedom and bald eagles and being awesome.

But this year I just wasn’t feeling it.

I’m not making a political statement.  This isn’t about any opinions on the state of freedom in our country, or whether or not the Constitution is still being followed, or because of the current President or Governor, or because of who didn’t become the current President or Governor.  This is just about me being tired and worn out.

It’s been a rough week.  I did some physically exhausting yard work Monday, and I had an emotionally trying experience that I’d rather not say any more about yesterday.  And no one invited me to anything this year ahead of time.  I got an invitation to a small barbecue at the last minute, and I went, but I didn’t stick around to watch fireworks.  I was home and in for the night before the fireworks started.

This isn’t normal for me.  I love fireworks.  I didn’t grow up watching fireworks, so for me, there is still some childlike excitement attached to fireworks.  But I just feel like being alone tonight.

And that’s ok.

It’s ok to be sad and alone sometimes.  I can skip fireworks for a year.  Because I have freedom.  Because ‘Merica, that’s why.  God bless America.

I hope all of you had a happy and safe Fourth of July.  And for those of you in countries where this isn’t a holiday, I hope you had a wonderful day as well.

Exit 163. It all goes wrong again.

I feel beat up.

Defeated.

Hopeless sometimes.

Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is insanity, as the saying goes.  Doing different things and getting the same results is real life.  At least that’s what my life feels like sometimes.  And just when I’m starting to feel optimistic about something, it all goes wrong again.

I’ve been lied to and misled.  I’ve been betrayed and stabbed in the back.  I’ve been the recipient of many empty and hollow promises that never materialized.

Sometimes I feel like giving up.  That’s been on my mind a bit more than usual lately, with a number of friends also suffering from depression, and all the celebrity suicides in the news recently.

But I’m not going to give up.

I’m going to keep putting one foot in front of the other as long as I can.

God still has work for me to do.  Maybe things really will change someday.  Or maybe I have to help someone else out of their darkness.

See you next time.  I’ll still be here.

Exit 120. I know those voices because I hear them too.

Harry Potter has been on my mind again lately.  I just finished reading Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which for those of you who aren’t familiar with Harry Potter, is the script for a play set a generation after the Harry Potter novels, featuring the adult Harry Potter and one of his children.  The play is currently being performed in London.  But that is not the point I’m getting at here.

I spent a lot of time in the car this weekend, and at one point I was thinking about other parts of the Harry Potter story.  I was reminded in particular of a scene that always felt particularly intense and poignant to me, and I’ll try to share my thoughts without giving away any crucial spoilers.  In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the final book in the series, 17-year-old Harry and his friends are on a quest to find and destroy a group of objects that Voldemort (or, as I called him before, Wizard Hitler) has enchanted with some very dark magic, in an attempt to make himself immortal.  About halfway through the book (chapter 19, specifically), Harry and his friends have one of these dark objects, and after carrying it around for a few months, they have found a means with which to destroy it.  While carrying it around, however, it seems to bring out all sorts of dark and negative behavior in whomever is carrying it, at times leading to fights between Harry and his friends.

Harry feels that Ron should be the one to destroy this enchanted object.  But as Ron is about to do so, the object suddenly speaks to Ron, saying that it has seen all of Ron’s greatest fears, and speaking and reenacting these fears in full view of Ron, Harry, and Hermione.  The object reminds Ron that he is always overshadowed.  In his family, he has his older brothers and younger sister, and at school, his best friends are Harry, who is famous within the Wizarding World because of the prophecies made about him, and Hermione, who is a super genius.  The object makes Ron feel like he cannot do anything right, that Harry and Hermione would be better off on their quest without him.  The voices coming from the object mock Ron by saying that no one wants him, and that no woman would ever be interested in him when they could have Harry Potter instead.

I know those voices.  I know those voices because I hear them too… at least in a metaphorical sense.

Of course, I am not carrying around an object that contains a piece of Wizard Hitler’s soul.  This is because Wizard Hitler and magic aren’t real, a fact that Church I With The Problems and many other legalistic conservative churches never fully grasped, but that’s another story for another time.  But all of those fears were already inside Ron’s head; the dark object just saw Ron’s fears and manifested them in front of him.  And some very similar fears are already inside my head.  Those fears become manifest whenever I feel excluded from something my friends are doing or talking about.  They become manifest whenever I see my friends in new romantic relationships while the months since my last date slowly turn into years.  Sometimes I can distract myself from those voices, just as Harry and Ron and Hermione did by taking turns who would hold the evil object, but they cannot be easily destroyed.

But I have to find a way.  I am a Gryffindor, just like Harry, Ron, and Hermione.  I can be brave and silence the evil voices in my head forever once and for all.  I must.

But I’m still searching for a way to do so.  And it won’t be easy.