You’ve been expecting to hear from me, haven’t you? Maybe not today, but you knew I’d be back one of these days. You’re never quite sure when you’ll hear from me, are you? And that’s just the way I like it. I like to keep you on your toes. Although sometimes it’s fun to just let you do your thing for a while. I’ll sit on the sidelines and watch. I’ll move out of your line of sight. Then, when you least expect it,
SURPRISE! Me again!
You should see the look on your face! It’s so satisfying.
I like to wait for just the right moment. Though you persist in believing it’s always the wrong moment.
Maybe it’ll be when you’re walking down the aisle at the supermarket, looking for the pasta sauce and wondering what you’ll cook for dinner tomorrow. You’ll be lucky if you can find the next aisle. Forgot your list? Just leave your cart and go, Honey. I don’t care what you think you came here for.
Maybe when you’re driving to work I’ll slap you when you pass that street, you know the one. Feeling shaky? Sweating a little?
Maybe I’ll decide I’d rather have you stay home alone with me when you’re getting ready to go meet some friends for lunch. I mean, there are so many choices to make, you know? Like, what should you wear? Purple or red? Or maybe green? Is it warm enough for that shirt or is it cool enough you’ll need a jacket? Where will you meet? What time? When you get there, what are you going to order?
You just never know when I’ll show up, do you?
Your heart will speed up. I may feel like a heart attack. I love to send people to the emergency room. Especially if they’ll feel humiliated by being told you’re fine; it’s just an anxiety attack.
Sometimes when I decide it’s time to pay you a visit, you’ll just feel overwhelmed. I’ll just sort of creep up on you and squeeze you tightly.
You may just freeze.
I know. I’m kind of a jerk.
Okay, maybe not kind of.
I’m a jerk.
Maybe there are some situations you’re just wired to find more difficult than typical. I want to make them worse. I wouldn’t want you to go getting all independent on me. I’d feel lonely and neglected if it was easy for you to just get on with your life.
There are things I want you to remember. Things that bother you. I want to make it difficult to get past them. Triggers, you may call them. You may not even be sure why the trigger bothers you, you just know it’s not pleasant. But I remember. And I want to keep you close to me. Trauma is my friend. If you don’t want to face it, all the better. Because the longer you refuse to bring it out into the light and take charge of it, the longer I can use it to hold onto you.
Sometimes I’ll just show up. For no reason at all, other than that I can. I don’t care what you’re doing or who you’re with. Sometimes I just want your attention. Sometimes I’ll steal the air from your lungs. You’ll need to get some air. That’s it. Run away.
Then I’ll have you all to myself, won’t I?
But, NO, you take some deep breaths. Your thoughts begin to slow so you can understand them. And your vision begins to clear. You realize I’m nothing. I seemed so strong, but I’m nothing.
I’m defeatable. You don’t have to let me win.
You may never be free of me. But you can learn to limit my power over your life.
If I’ve been bad enough, you may find a medication that will keep me in check.
You may not believe it, but since it’s coming from me, you should: you can beat me.
But I’m going to hold onto you as long as I can.
I’ll be watching you.
What are you going to do about it?
Melinda VanRy writes about mental illness and faith on her Fruit of Brokenness blog. She wants everyone to know they have inestimable worth, though she often fails to believe it for herself. Bouts of severe depression have nearly destroyed her but instead make her stronger and give her a desire to help others who struggle with mental illness and faith as she does. Melinda lives in New York with her husband, their three kids, and more cats than she ever wanted. If you’re thinking big city, don’t. The VanRy family makes their home in rural Central New York. Way closer to Canada than New York City. And not far from Lake Ontario, which she loves.