Tuesday, June 2, 2015

A Letter of Okay.

I do not have a predisposition for spontaneity. I like clear plans, set times, precise handling of who should be where and when. If things must change or plans be rescheduled, it is best for my mental stability and breathing patterns to know well before the day things are supposed to happen. It could be said I would prefer these hard-set rules to permeate every area of my life.

The morning routine will be offset by something, no matter the level of significance? I would much rather know a panic attack will arrive approximately five minutes after I pull into work and three minutes into a conversation with my mother.

That Sunday I blocked half the day out in order to hang out with someone? Yeah, would rather not make the plans versus being stood up for hours on end. Would especially love to avoid the painfully, over-critical, analysis of what I might have done wrong to make this happen.

But life isn't like that, is it? We don't get to know what detours lie in waiting. We don't have the option of knowing when we might be stood up, let down, rearranged.

I would have genuinely desired to know at 21, 22, 25, even, that at 27, I would be diagnosed with depression.

I would also, apparently, really desire for the superhuman power to change up the chemical balance in my head and completely avoid said diagnosis.

But I digress.

At 27 I was diagnosed with depression. And there were no flares shot up into the darkest darkness I've ever existed within to warn me that every waking moment I would desire to return to my bed. There were no hot flashes of lightening to warn me of the deepness of undeterminable sadness with which I would fall in to.

There was no warning for the way the desires that once consumed me would dissipate and only exhaustion and guttural desperation for Jesus would remain.

There are no warnings.

And even knowing all of that - that I would never be privy to when panic attacks would take over, or plans would change, or someone would simply change their mind - I was never good with the simple 'okay.'

All my life I have been raised and loved by those who were alarmingly okay with the okay; last minute cancellations? No problem, other plans can be made. A person changes their mind about the role they'd like you to play in their life? No issue here, plenty more fish in the sea. A call ten minutes before something is happening with an invitation attached? Yes, okay. Let's do that.

And I was very likely the one in the corner rocking slowly and proverbially chewing her hair because something changed or went wrong and just what the hell was I going to do NOW?

Okay hasn't ever really had a space in my vocabulary.

Until it did.

I'm not sure I could tell you what changed. Words like jagged glass were thrown at me and something, somewhere inside of me, chipped off and, glory be to God, I think that is just exactly what I needed.

Isn't it funny how absolutely broken we must become - how decimated our innards must be left - how catatonically miserable we must find ourselves before the spirit can be built back up, again?

The pieces lay still where they fell and I felt a rolling heaviness move in and settle right beneath my undetected collar bone; everything felt too hard to manage - breathing without the hiccup of a sob was nearly unfathomable. And all those desires for love - for a relationship, to be seen - they were replaced by the most alarming want to just feel normal.

I started seeing a counselor not too long ago. I managed to make it through an hour and a half session with only crying three times. She laid down the D word and said, "but you don't have to live like this."

I felt myself nodding my heavy head and just whispering, "okay."

Okay, I am suffering from depression.
Okay, I am allowed to break.
Okay, I am 27 and single.
Okay, I want to be Stephi again.
Okay, a relationship isn't a top priority right now.
Okay, I will wail and cry and tear at this darkness and tie myself to Jesus if it means this will get better.

Who woke up this morning and set out to do just exactly what their 18 or 21 or 25 year old self thought they would be doing at this age?

Anyone? No one?

Not me.

Not me, who fell asleep at 8.30 last night and woke up feeling more exhausted than when she laid down.

Not me, who lives alone in a house with rooms decorated all by herself.

Not me, who went to school to be a writer and have her name be known.

Not me, who really, truly, didn't know Jesus until year 26 and is a mere 10 days and 2 hours from sharing Him in India.

Not me.

Because somewhere along the line I miscalculated and led myself to believe that not only was I factual in what I wanted, but also in what I needed. I misjudged what I would know and what I would still need to learn. I made the mistake of thinking that I wouldn't change; that my heart wouldn't transform; that what I wanted at 21 would be, tied and true, the same in all the years after.

This life will wreck you. It's a guarantee. And there will be mountaintops - oh, there will be seats on peaks with sorbet colored sunsets that you can reach out and tickle your thumbprints into.

But there will be valleys, too. They will hurt. They will place their palm over your chest, leading you to believe they're there to soothe, and they will walk away with tattered chunks of your too much feeling heart held tight within them. There will be darkness. And labels. Diagnoses and people you want to forget you ever handed hope to.

Get yourself a tribe. Surround yourself with people who knew you before the dark and twisted moments got reigns over your soul and mind. Make sure they are willing to fight for that person - even when you don't want to be in the ring anymore.

Tie yourself to the belief that there is purpose and authorship behind all of this that serves Something and Someone so much greater than these divides of the darkest hours.

Be okay with what has to come, what has to manifest, what has to be left behind, in order to reach the you that is ahead.

Become acquainted with the knowledge that one night you might be sitting at your kitchen table, eating by yourself, reading notes about how to break through the darkness, and you will find gleeful joy at the knowledge that for the first time, possibly ever, you just want to be whole and healthy and a better version of you.

Be willing to be okay with the things, the circumstances, the people, that will change and alter the course you find yourself on. Be willing to be okay with the unexpected things of a life to become center stage of your life. Be willing to be okay with ending up becoming a version of yourself you could've never imagined -- because it'll likely be better than anything you could've wanted to dream up.

Let's be okay with ok.


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