By: Kendra Hamby
This global pandemic with the accompanying quarantine has been brutal for me. Hard to endure and hard to process. Everyone processes differently. With the world currently in a state of almost constant confusion and uncertainty, being able to process our surroundings and feelings is even more important. Personally, I process by writing. If I leave all of my thoughts and fears and emotions up in my brain, they play on repeat. Usually, they blow themselves out of proportion as well. It is exhausting, to say the least. So, for me, writing them down helps me “get them out of my brain” and usually helps me make sense of them, see inconsistencies, and recognize the lies.
This quarantine had, ironically, put a pause on my ability to process. I was stuck, unable to write or talk about what was bothering me. I just cried, a lot. I took my inexpressible feelings out on my family. Super not fair to them. Usually, they had done nothing except be present.
I finally noticed the signs of depression and anxiety. All the red flags that I feel I should have caught sooner, but had not due to all of this craziness. I sat down a few days ago with the express intentions of writing. I knew I needed to get some things out and that is what I was going to do. Often, when I write it ends up being sad, whether a poem, song, short story, drama… all usually sad. Sorrow is easy to convey, easy to relate with, to vibrantly express. Since the happy parts of life seldom need much processing, my writing and processing tend to be a little dark. I just start intentionally writing until I “find” victory. Not always, but if I am stuck in a dark place I know that is what I need to get out. So I write until I find joy. Until I find Christ in the madness because he is always there, just waiting for us to reach out of our dark place and come to him.
Just for clarification I often use winter as a metaphor for depression. Winter is when I struggle the most and spring is always a very welcome reprieve. It signifies the coming of a happier season of life for me. So, without further ado:
Stuck on repeat,
Forgot how to breath
Out. Out. Out
When does it end?
When the snow melts and the cold has gone away,
What if all that’s left are shades of grey?
What if spring we never see again?
What reprieve from sorrow have we then?
Winter is a season like the rest
But winter clings too long and we are left
Clawing for the spring were told we’ll see,
But spring, you know, is only for the free.
And me? I’m trapped here in this cage
The one I write myself on every page
Buy what if, what if I wrote joy instead?
Would I then escape this winter in my head?
But winter lies and says I don’t deserve it
The “others” do, but me, I could not earn it.
Then the little voice of spring it shouts “you’re wrong!”
You’ve lived within this winters cage too long
Relearn to breath
Break the cycle
Winter has an end.
That was what was born out of my most recent endeavor to write my way back to God. After finishing I sent it to a few people. My father encouraged me to share it because I am not the only one struggling in this time of chaos. I hope this helps you out of your dark place, I hope that you are able to write yourself back into the Father’s arms of safety and peace. If you struggle with mental illness, know that you are not alone, that this is hard, and that is okay. Notice that the beginning of this poem was not hopeful or bright in any way. You have to acknowledge the place you are in. Just do not stay there. If you do not struggle with any kind of mental illness, this is still hard. Allow yourself to process, allow yourself to not be okay for a bit, and then work through it and find the joy in the crazy.
There has been a related memes going around lately, you know, the “Check on your ___________ friend, they aren’t doing well” ones? They are funny and relatable… and please check on your friends who have fought with depression, anxiety, thoughts of suicide, addiction etc. They are probably not okay.
If you would like to talk to someone about questions or struggles this article surfaced for you, go to the Two Rivers Counseling Center’s website and look around. When you are ready, click the “Get Counseling” link. Or go directly to the “Get Counseling” request form HERE. If you are not local to upsate New York and cannot come to the Two Rivers Counseling Center, we can always make a virtual appointment by using social media to connect face-to-face.