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Putting The Hope In Hopeless

This is an excerpt from the chapter I wrote for Who's Going To Stop Us Now? You can find it here:


After my initial collapse, the void grew and grew. I drifted past childhood and parental care, into the arms of boyfriends I hoped could love me back to well. (It doesn’t work that way, does it?) I saw counsellors, I saw ER rooms; I saw the heartbreak that befell my parents.

I also went through happy periods of relative stability. Excepting the lowest of lows, I found humour in my difficulties. One of my favourite qualities about my mother is her lack of artifice, her ability to laugh at herself without reservation. I used self-deprecation liberally to get by. Depression defined me at a macro level, arresting my growth during an already vulnerable time—but I still experienced joy, still had hope that one day I’d find the peace of my childhood and raise a family of my own. I dated believers and non-believers, but I preferred the former. I suppose I was drawn to the familiarity of those old church promises I’d disposed of rather hastily. I knew I could never be loved for who I was, but if loving your partner was some sort of moral imperative, then that was the best I could do, I reasoned.

Love one another.

Depression is absence, nothingness, a hollow sensation that smothers your soul. It's very different from sadness, an actual feeling that is necessary for well-being. Regardless of how many times I’ve experienced depression—later rejoining reality as my authentic self—episodes continue to feel like a permanent, downward change in trajectory. Only in retrospect, having returned to baseline, can I use speech that indicates a chronic, up-and-down condition. Severe depression robs me of reasonable perspective. It is a terrible, unrepentant liar. When I’m in the throes of it, I have no past or future; this is who I am, this is the way I was made. I house pain. I am pain.

I fantasize about the relief death would bring, but I know I’m just an amateur. There are those who stare death in the face on a daily basis. I’m just a kid who can’t dream anymore…

How often I looked for a man to be my personal saviour, my void-filler, and the answer to my ongoing spiritual quest. How often I found myself on my knees, broken heart in hand, pleading for help from a higher power I felt unworthy of.

Help me, God; I can’t do it on my own.

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