Tag Archives: Pain

Changed.

We were talking and joking and I said something that made you both laugh. My comment made you both agree that nothing has changed. That I haven’t changed.

This was a little concerning to me. My mind spun for a moment before I drew myself back.

I haven’t changed? In over a year since you haven’t seen me, nothing has changed? I’m worried by that sentiment because I know where I was a year ago. I’m coming to one of three conclusions:

1.) I hid it a lot better than I thought I did while I knew you. I must have isolated myself to the point where you really don’t see a change in me since then. Maybe I put on some sort of mask when I was with you and didn’t let anything I was feeling leak from me. The anxiousness and irritability and sadness and utter emptiness… Maybe I kept them all and more from you undetected.

2.) Maybe you saw all those things and still see them now. And that’s concerning because I don’t feel them now. At least not as consistently and constantly. I didn’t feel them sitting there with you two days ago. So if you continue to see those things in me, I’m confused as to how.

3.) You ignored everything I’d said to you in the past. You ignored the pain in my eyes and wrote me off. Even when I told you it was there, you still chose to see only the good things I presented. So of course now I look no different. Of course now I sound the same. Because you aren’t listening. You’re choosing what to hear. You wrote off my depression as just me whining or complaining or being pessimistic. A year ago, you were ignoring… me.

You know, the third point is the one I’m afraid is correct. And that sucks. When I was severely depressed, there were a few people around me who … hurt me. Not intentionally. Not maliciously. I would highly doubt they even know.

I had someone reproach me for not getting enough sleep at a time I was afraid to go to sleep because I’d have bad dreams and it would end in me waking up and having to face yet another day. I had someone tell me how much they cared about me only to never make time for me again. I had people talk down to me, belittle me, and offer a lot of challenge and little to no support. When I told someone I’d been hurt by others during that time because of all of this, she replied, “Well, what do you want them to do?” or “What do you expect them to do?” in a condescending tone. I even had someone, after I told him people never cared enough to follow up with me, promise me he would follow up.

He never did.

Now, I don’t know exactly what I needed or wanted from these people. I guess I wanted to know I was cared for. Because they would tell me they did care for me but then there was never any evidence to support that.

I don’t know what my point is. I guess if someone tells you they are depressed or severely depressed, know they chose those words carefully and they know what they mean. Know that talking down to someone is hurtful and makes them feel like you think they’re worthless. Know that when someone tells you something incredibly painful, you should probably follow up, not act like it never happened.

Know that I have changed. In the year since you’ve seen me, I’m not the same person anymore. The depression is mild and the more severe bouts come in waves that are far apart from one another. I’m not drowning anymore. Breathing comes easily a good, fair amount of the time now. I’m not suffocating anymore. There are still incredibly hard days and some of those days turn into weeks. But now the good days outnumber the bad and, when you last were with me, the good days were so few and far between that I couldn’t remember what they tasted like.

I’m afraid that the fact that you don’t see that change means you were never really looking to begin with.

-Melissa

Robbed.

I could feel shock go through me. My eyes grew wide, my mouth gaped for a moment, and I asked him to repeat himself.

He did. He hadn’t realized I didn’t know.

How was I supposed to know? You haven’t spoken to me in over a year.

Tears came to my eyes immediately, but I quickly composed myself and focused my attention back to him. This wasn’t about you. This conversation was about what he was saying to me, about the life changes he was going through. And I could give him my complete attention.

A little while later though, my mind repeated the same phrase over and over again. Instead of your name, I kept saying “my best friend.”

But really? You? You’re my best friend? You? Of all people? You who left me without looking back? You who made one horrible life decision after another? You who deserted me? You who turned your back on the support I offered you? You who dismissed people who have always loved you? You who robbed me of the honor and blessing of sharing this life together with our other friends and family? You who I called brother unabashedly and proudly only to be tossed aside as if I were someone you knew for a day?

No. No, you’re not my best friend. ‘Friend’ is a sacred word to me and it will be reserved for those who care for me and allow me to care for them.

I have learned one thing within the past fourteen months: You are not the person I thought you were.

-Melissa

Helpless.

“How dare you.

There was a tragedy placed before me and those were the three words that rang through my mind. They were at the very forefront, refusing to be ignored.

“How dare you.”

I filled in the silence that followed:

“How dare you be so selfish. How dare you be so wrapped up in your own damn mind that, even as this story is being shared with you, you can’t push away your pain. How dare you be holding back tears because of your ‘pain’ when there are so many people in this world who are going through SO MUCH WORSE things than you. You are being selfish. You need to get outside yourself. You need to be there for the people around you. You are so consumed with the fact that no one has reached out to you that you’ve stopped reaching out to others. You’ve isolated yourself. You can barely handle other people’s pain because you can’t handle your own. How dare you. You are supposed to be able to carry other people burdens. Why can’t you put yours aside for a moment? Why can’t you get out of your own head? You should be taking care of people- loving people. Isn’t that what you do? You haven’t been doing that lately. You don’t even care about the people around you. You’re being selfish, only caring about yourself. How dare you. This is not how you are supposed to act. You need to snap out of this. It’s ridiculous. You need to get up. You need to do something. All you want is for someone to see you and, yet, you keep to yourself. You want people to ask how you are and then lie when they do. How dare you. How dare you get so wrapped up in your own problems like this. You are supposed to be better than this. What you are dealing with is nothing- NOTHING- compared to other peoples pain. How dare you. How dare you. How dare you.

I had no words to fight back and other peoples pain layered itself on my own and tears came to my eyes and weight came to my arms and my hands shook and my breath fought against me and I tried to think of ways I could help and my mind swirled and I wondered if there was anything that could be done and sadness hit me again and again and again until I fell. Helpless.

-Melissa

Letter.

To the fixers:

Maybe you don’t know what else to do, so you give a suggestion. Maybe my problem seems easy to you. Maybe you can’t relate. Maybe you see an easy solution and you can’t imagine why I haven’t seen it. Maybe I have. Maybe it’s not as easy as you suggest. Maybe I can’t do what you can do. Maybe your solution is just a step in the right direction, but that same solution is surrounded by obstacles in my life. Maybe I don’t need a solution. Maybe I don’t need you to fix this. Maybe you want to help and you want to take control and fix this. Breathe. Just take a breath and be here with me. This can’t be fixed so easily.

To the challengers:

I see my flaws. I know there are many things I need to change. I’m probably more aware of them than you are. You challenge me to have perspective. You challenge me to think in different ways. You challenge me to think passed this. I can do those things. And nothing you are saying is wrong. But you’re invalidating what I’m feeling. I’m in a vulnerable place and you’re telling me, “Hey. I know what you’re feeling. But stop feeling that. Because you haven’t thought about it in this way. You just need some perspective.” I am allowed to feel what I’m feeling. You make me feel like I’m bad because I’m feeling this way. Just stop. Just hear me. Empathize with me.

To the uncomfortable:

You asked me why I was crying. So I told you. So you made a face that said you understood. Then you looked away. And you looked back and talked about something else. You tried to make me laugh. You ignored what I said. I know you’re not comfortable. I know you don’t want to help me carry this burden. Then please don’t ask. If you can’t handle it, please don’t ask me why I have tears in my eyes. Please don’t ask me how I’m doing. Because watching you see my pain and then ignore it? That’s something I can’t handle. So if you want to engage in my pain with me, then please do. But if you don’t want to–if you can’t– then leave me alone.

To the distracted:

You heard me. You not only heard me, but you said all the right things. You are the closest I’ve gotten to feeling a bit of relief from the sadness inside of me. You have gotten my hopes up that maybe, just maybe, I’m not alone. But you are busy. And the hours and the days and the weeks pass by and you seem to forget everything I said to you. When you see me, sometimes I can see you still remember, but you’re hurried. You have to move on to your next task, your next meeting. You say we’ll connect again soon as you pass by. Or you are so busy and distracted that you never follow through. In any way. You don’t even ask how I’m doing. Either be one thing or the other. Either be my friend, or don’t. But do not get my hopes up.

To the listeners:

Where are you?

-Melissa

Missing you.

So… I still miss you.

That shouldn’t surprise me anymore. But it’s been a long time since I’ve had a conversation with you. It’s been a long time since you’ve looked me in the eye… Even longer since it wasn’t followed by quickly looking away when you realized I was looking back. Goodness, it’s been years since I’ve heard your laugh. Years. But I still miss you.

I never want to stop. So maybe that’s why I haven’t. But I never expected that it would still be this strong. That the pain would still be so real.

Then again, I never expected that, by now, we wouldn’t have become friends again. I never thought your silence would last this long. I always thought our reunion was just around the corner.

Now, part of me wonders if I was delusional.

But, when I was at my worst, those delusions gave me hope. And God used that horrible experience to teach me what hope was. And I’m forever grateful for that.

But that was years ago too. It’s been so long. And there’s a very large part of me that thinks if you and I tried to be friends again today, it wouldn’t even work. Because too much time has past. There’s been too much space, and my pain has completely filled it. And your walls have successfully kept me out. And, though I’m sure you’ve changed, I’m not sure you could even remove a single stone from one of the walls.

And that’s the other thing. Missing you is mixed with worry for you. Because I worry you’ve kept everyone else out. I worry you’re alone and lonely. I worry you’re in pain and too afraid to let anyone see the utter goodness you hold inside of you. I just… I worry.

And you would tell me to stop. And you would say you were fine. And you would say that you like living just the way you are.

And I would be able to see through your lies just as clearly as you saw through mine.

I don’t know why you did what you did. It doesn’t make sense, Tyler. You and I had a friendship that most will never understand. Didn’t you realize that? Didn’t you see how well we understood each other? Didn’t you feel the comfort that came from our friendship? Didn’t you know that I would love you, literally no matter what you did? Didn’t I tell you that on more than one occasion? Didn’t you promise you’d never leave?

And was all of that what scared you and sent you running?

We’re less than two months away from it being four years. This is why I’m convinced that, though there may be stages of grief, grief never actually ends. Because, if it did, would there still be tears in my eyes? If it did, would my heart still ache at the thought of you?

I love you, best friend. Haven’t I proven you can’t change that?

Missing you.

-Melissa

Dear.

Dear Future Husband,

I feel a stupid writing this. It was acceptable when I was sixteen, but now it just seems pathetic. Even more pathetic because I still don’t know who you are yet. But I need an outlet, so here we are.

I want you. I don’t need you. But I want you to come to me. I know I am fine without you. I know we haven’t found each other yet for a reason. I trust God in that. I know His timing is best. And I truly want what He wants from me, whatever He thinks is best. It’s been proven time and again that His will is much better than mine and I will happily follow His plan. And I will be patient.

But lately it’s been hard. Really hard. 

And I don’t know what to do. Love is everywhere. In the books I read, the tv I watch. And when I think I could just cut those things out of my life, I realize the amount of couples around me. There is no way to escape this.

Every man I meet, I wonder for a moment if he could be you. Just for a moment (most of the time). Do you know how distracting that is? And I don’t know how to stop.

It’s not that I want anything bad. I just want someone to live life with. I want someone’s hand to hold. I want someone to come home to. I want someone to read in bed with. I want someone to take dancing lessons with me. I want someone to offer comfort and safety and security. I want someone to care for. I want someone to depend on.

There are people in my life that have some of those qualities or who can offer some of those thing, but truthfully, I want them all, and more, from you. 

I just wish so badly I didn’t want it so much. 

Part of me can’t believe I haven’t found you yet. I didn’t think it would take this long. And I didn’t know it would be this painful. The worst part is that I just think it will get worse with age. 

So, wherever you are, know that I am longing for you. I’m longing for your presence in my life. And truly hope you’re not having as hard of a time as I am. If you are, I’m so very and truly sorry.

I know we haven’t met, but I miss you. You’re wonderful. 

your love, 

Melissa

Seen.

For the most part, the room was quiet. I had timed it perfectly to miss the rush, which was also great because then it didn’t look so weird that I was sitting by myself. I was eating, slowly. Something weighed heavy on my shoulders; my entire body felt tired. I did my best not to think too much.

One of the workers came and wiped down all the empty tables around me. He sang softly as he worked. Normally, that would find a way to annoy me but today I found myself leaning into the sound. Every once and a while he would switch to humming and I found myself wishing he would start to sing again. Wishing I could sit there all day and just listen to him.

He was too quiet for me to hear the words of his song. He was too quiet for me to even hear if he was any good. But he was soothing. And I needed soothing.

I stared out the window, thinking about his voice when someone spoke to me: “Hey. How are you doing today?”

I turned and he was down on a knee, looking up at me, an empty chair between us.

I smiled, politely, though I could feel it didn’t reach my eyes. I felt too heavy. “I’m good.” I replied, “How are you?”

Before I finished, he had interrupted me. He asked if I had just answered ‘good’ because society told me to, or something along those lines.

I hadn’t realized he’d been watching. I probably looked miserable. If I had known I’d be questioned, I would have put on a more socially acceptable face. I smiled again, explaining I hadn’t slept well last night. This was true. I hadn’t. Lies work best when they contain the truth. “I’m just tired,” I reassured him.

We talked for another minute or so. I shocked him by revealing how old I was- four years his senior. He was very clearly surprised. I reassured him again: I’d looked the same since I was fifteen.

“Well, I have to admit something to you,” he said, “I didn’t want to come talk to you.”

Flattering. My thoughts were along the lines of, ‘of course you didn’t. I probably looked like I wanted to kill someone.’

“But I came over because God kept prompting me to.” He went on, saying that, the entire time he was washing the tables, God has been convincing him to come check on me. His voice was still soft like his singing; comforting. “So I was just checking in.”

I thanked him; he didn’t realize how sincere I was in that moment. A real smile lightened my face for a moment as we finally introduced ourselves before he walked away and continued his work.

I could feel tears coming on so I was quick to leave.

‘I don’t need this right now,’ I prayed as I left, ‘I don’t have time to burst into tears in public.’

I explained to God that it didn’t make sense for Him to do that. I made a list of reasons why. He knew I was bad at kindness to begin with. And what if it wasn’t even Him?

But what if it was? What if He was reminding me that, yes, He had heard the prayer I had uttered this morning and He cared about the pain I was in. And He cared so much about the pain I was in that He decided to reach out to me in a way He never had before. What if He hand picked the sweetest soul, someone He knew I would be receptive to, just to remind me that He saw me? What if the pain I imagined carrying around on my back He could see and wanted to let me know that He saw it and He cared?

Because… Well, that does sound like Him after all.

-Melissa