Living With Dragons

When I read your blog post about keeping the light on in the darkest and hardest of nights I re-wrote my comment more than 9 times. Your words were brilliant and moved me deeply into feeling suddenly “with” someone. My hesitancy was because no one knows I struggle with depression. Or if they do, they have not said anything about it.

Depression is a silent killer that starves the life from you one minute at a time. Slowly and painfully and sometimes while you are unaware of what is happening. It can stalk you for weeks before it makes its move.  It is a patient predator. When it does finally leap towards you, Lord help you.

10 months ago I made a promise to my bones.

And 8 months ago I made a promise to you.

We would stay.

We both would stay.

That is our deal.

We talk about light a lot.

The Sunrise, the sunset, candles, lamps, all a sign that we are holding a living vigil for each other. A lighthouse of love that stares into every scale of our dragons poison skin and says, No. You can’t have her. Not on my watch.

Last night I stayed up with you till 3am not saying anything. My phone light flickered bluish silver as I imagined you sitting on the floor by your bed. “My light is on- my phone is on. Stay.” I wrote. A minute later you replied with, “Leaving this message open. Holding my phone close. Because I need it.”

Those who don’t fight our war don’t know how much those words cost us. Just saying we need help feels like a surrendering to the very thing that holds us captive.

“We stay.” I said. “That is our deal.”

In the last few days the Internet has exploded with Theology and opinions about the stuff that goes on in our minds and bodies.

Everyone has something to say.

All I can say is Fuck.

Fuck them, Fuck depression, Fuck everyone who has not ever spent an hour with someone in silence, in the dark, in the terror, in the waiting, in the minute by minute battle to take a breath and then another.

Fuck everyone who fails to recognize that waking up in the morning is worth celebrating, who fails to acknowledge the strength it takes to get out of bed, Fuck everyone who can look at Pajama clad human being as anything less than beautiful. Some days my pajamas are the outfit of a Hero.

Fuck everyone who fails to see us.

Fuck everyone who sees us and walks on by.

Fuck everyone who says we are selfish.

Fuck everyone who views us as a disease they might catch, a sin we can taint them with, a sinner who just hasn’t quite figured out Jesus yet.

Fuck every arm that refused to hold us. Every ear that listened to our “Fine” Every question that says, “What can we do?” Instead of running to us and sitting in the dirt, or on the floor of our bathroom, the side of our bed.

Fuck every hand that writes prescriptions without making eye contact and every dispensary that gives us our bottles without emotion instead of taking our hand in theirs and saying, ‘you are strong- It’s not your fault- you are not alone.’

Not every solution or plan of action, or coping skill we learn is going to be enough in itself to keep our dragons away.

Fuck everyone who doesn’t pick up the phone.

Fuck everyone who doesn’t call.

Fuck everyone who says it’s no big deal.

Fuck everyone who is tired of hearing about it, because we are tired of living it.

But we do.

Some of us, a lot of us,

More of us than we realize.

We live it. And we live it as bravely and as strongly and as unburdening to our friends and family as we know how.

Being sworn at might offend some people but this isn’t really about them.

You and I both know that out of all our skills at coping swear words weigh our bodies down the least.

It is hard to live with invisible dragons.

It is damn hard.

But we have a deal, you and me.

We are fighting this same war. Both of us tired. Both of us scared. We both are wondering if reinforcements will come in time, and when they do if it will be enough. We both know what it is to stare into our dragons eyeball and not flinch. We have won this fight before. It isn’t our fault the dragon doesn’t die, but we are so tired of its presence.

It still strikes me as odd how the ones that know the darkness best are the ones who walk into it with others.

Sometimes I wish I could kill the Internet. I wish I could fight for you in more ways than with words. But if words are all I have, Hell, I’m going to use them.

////

Today I keep texting you telling you I love you, telling you I’m here, and that it’s not your fault, reminding you of our deal. We stay.

(You can’t have her. Not today. Not on my watch)

I am hoping to get a reply soon, maybe a picture of your eyeball or the print on your pajamas, the tile lines in the ceiling or the number of times you’ve counted to ten.

I can’t wait to see it, whatever you send.

And whatever it is, we are going to celebrate.

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  • Charlie Walker

    I think you nailed it. It’s brutal, beautiful, uncomfortable and honest. This kind of writing saves people. TY.

  • Dara

    <3

  • Perfect words. So glad you made that promise. You have a lot of truth to tell in this world yet.

  • Michaela

    Oh, Sarah, thank you so, so much for these words! It is a dark, lonely, anguishing place … one in which I currently find myself in. I wish it would go away, I wish I wasn’t still having to deal with this … it’s been 15 years … I’m tired. Somewhere deep inside of me I know that sooner or later warm rays of light will find their way into this dark place if I just force myself out of bed every morning and face my day for one more day, every day.

    • aLovelyFrame

      I am with you Michaela. Keep going. <3

  • Auntie Barb

    So much of this I can relate to, but my anger isn’t with the people who don’t call, or don’t seem to care because for me it’s been a life of hiding, of trying to pretend the dragon doesn’t exist. Or that it is caused by hormones and it’ll pass. I asked my oldest son one day if he thought his dad was depressed and he responded, “we’re all depressed”. There may be some truth to that. I hope having a place to express yourself brings some relief. You are not alone.

    • aLovelyFrame

      Being able to say it is actually incredibly freeing. Trying to pretend it away only seemed to make it worse, and the isolation in doing os is just, meh. Not Good. Thanks for being here, and speaking your truth. So much love to you.

    • Christal

      I loved reading this and so true. The people who don’t call, or don’t seem to really care – it’s really me, a lifetime of hiding and a lifetime of faking happy.

  • Alyssa

    I am literally holding my phone, keeping your message open. Reading and re-reading and grateful I have a deal with someone, somewhere. If I had the strength to take a picture it would be of the wood panels above me where i lay trying to distract myself by making images for hours, sometimes even days

    • aLovelyFrame

      Alyssa, You are brave, and strong, and wanted. I salute you. <3

  • Bekah Harmon

    For every time we hid the truth and showed up at church with our washed and painted faces, for everytime I’ve curled up, not daring to hope that sleep would take away the ache, or that time would find a way out of the pit that was sucking my soul dry, I am here today. We are surviving, we are not alone (even if the lies tell us we are). The light is on, the hand is here and I will stay.

  • Pam Stranz

    My heart is broken, reading of the sorrow you live with daily. I long to be there with you and living nearby. How much I would love to walk over and pick up your boys, to make you coffee, wash your dishes, go to a gym with you. If there is any tangible, meaningful way for me to be there for you with a million trees, houses, and hills between us, please tell me. <3 Forever and ever no matter what. I mean it. That message, created in my heart at the very beginning, spoken over your life over and over, on purpose because it is true. I love watching you be brave and telling the truth. I just wish I knew how to love well from a distance. Teach me?

  • you are amazing.

  • Frank Jones

    For 20 some odd years, I’ve lived with depression. This post really speaks to me as I’m going through a rough patch with it. Thanks for posting.