It comes suddenly, in words or moments, while I’m engaging in conversation or watching the sun go down at day’s end.
Today, someone talked about painting their toenails. It was that simple, but I immediately felt the flatness of those words. “I used to enjoy that,” I thought, less with words and more with my heart. And then, “There is no life in that for me anymore.”
A few weeks ago, someone asked if I wanted to watch Shrek. Instantly, I was enveloped in a panic attack. I couldn’t breathe or think or function. And why? Because the best moments of my life feel empty and meaningless and not real to me.
That same day I was sitting on a couch in a house as much like home to me as my own. I was surrounded by so much good- snow and love and food and laughter and togetherness and cuddling. And I thought, “This moment is as good as life gets. I couldn’t want anything more for my day than this.” But I couldn’t feel it. And then someone said “Shrek” and I looked around the room at the faces of people I love and I thought, “How are these people living life? How are they finding the good moments and feeling them and using them as fuel to get them through the less-good moments?” And the panic grew until I had to make an excuse and drive home, the drive itself a blur. It’s terrifying to look goodness right in its eyes and not be able to feel it. Everything is hollow and empty. It’s like I’m watching life unfold through a haze. I can see it and acknowledge it, but I can’t touch it or feel it.
I’m taking it a day at a time, this messy unfolding. I am leaving teary voicemails for the people paid to help me. I am chasing, as best as I know how, after life.
I used to feel alive. I used to find joy in my hands kneading cookie dough, or watching the fading sunlight illuminate small bugs flying near the grass, or breathing in the scent of a new body wash. Simple things. The way my friend’s hands hold a cup of tea across the table from me, the squeaky sound the cats make when they jump from something high to the carpet below, the golden glow of lamplight in the evening.
I can’t feel any of it anymore. I can say, “THIS IS GOOD,” and know it to be true, but the goodness feels flat. Lifeless.
There is still a part of me that wants to pack my backpack with sin and run recklessly at God, daring Him to let me crash.
There’s also a part of me so committed to this fight. So, so committed to life and growth and my future. But also so completely overwhelmed with the pressure in my chest and the depression turning everything gray, and I can’t fathom how I’m going to do this.
The sun is going down. I have a whole night ahead of me, and nothing I can think to do holds any appeal. I don’t know what to do with myself. I don’t know how to pass the time. I can’t feel any good.
The sun is going down. And panic might be there, ready to greet me when it does.
But right now, I am writing. I am drinking hot tea. Arlow is asleep at my feet. And a shower is calling my name.
I will take care of myself the best I can. I will fight this the best I can. And I will believe, even as I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, He is leading me to fullness of life.