Empty SpaceThe blank page told me I was depressed.

It wasn’t just the blinking courser though. It was the silent lips of prayer, the quiet between my wife and I, the ever searching for some music to speak my mood to me. This unrest and stolen words, this is what was manifest on the white, blank screen where my words were supposed to be typed.

I was depressed again.

I wish I could say that this was a story with an easy ending, but this was my Saturday afternoon. Saturday as in yesterday. I realized that I am depressed again. Once more, I have to admit that the gray blanket of semi-sorrow, loneliness, and apathy has covered my days and weeks. I may be able to identify the depression episodes quicker these days, but they still wreck their havoc on my heart, my head, my being.

When my words are stolen, I begin to spin out, loosing perspective and meaning. I begin to question anything and everything and never find the answers. I grow so restless and unsatisfied, yet remain unable to fill that hunger for more no matter what I try. When depression steals my words, I know I am on my way to becoming a wreck so I desperately hunt and grasp and struggle for my words, frustrating myself all the more with my inability to be anything other than depressed.

Silence

It’s not that I want to remain quiet, wordless, silent. I want to speak out, with my voice and my life. I want to go to happy hour with friends, have people over for dinner, take my wife out on a date. I want to take my son to the park and enjoy the long afternoons. I want to start a bible study, develop a place to talk about Jesus. These are all desires I have, but oddly enough I have no desire to do them. I know that sounds confusing. Imagine living with this contradiction in your heart.

This low-level depression that sits like a hand wrapped around my neck steals my energy and my passion. It sucks my confidence like a vampire would drain my blood, and I am left empty and unsure of myself. It takes all the ideas that float about in my head, pokes holes in them all, and makes my life hope deprived and a picture of meaninglessness.

This is low hanging depression. This isn’t even the really bad days. This is the depression I have to try to go to work with, the depression that sits beside me at church, the depression that leaves me functional but empty.

This hurts. This is broken. This is me as I am now.

This is me with my words stolen and silenced.

This is what I wish I could shake off and dance out. This is what I hope will dissipate with another cup of coffee, the right song on the radio, or maybe with the right words pouring from my fingers like rivers of life. The right prayer, the right passage, the right conversation, the right… something. Something has to burn off this fog, this entanglement, this dark blanket. Something has to, right?

Not for Always

BrokenThe unease sits heavy in my chest as I clasp close this cup of tea. I have come to look forward to sleep, because in the morning things may be better. The nature of my illness, my bipolar disease is that things change and moods swing. It blows to feel enslaved by the swings and sway of this illness, but that is how I feel these days, even as I see my psychologist and go to my psychiatrist for medications. My two doctors. I hope that between the two of them I can find the help, tools, support, and courage I need to steal my words back from this depression without going into a mania that spins me out of control.

I don’t want to simply change one mood for another. I want to live balanced, able to function and thrive, able to handle the swings of my moods with skill so that they don’t take over my days. I want to work my words into posts, phrases, and even books no matter my mood. I want to claim my voice back from my illness.

I don’t know if you’ll understand these feelings if you don’t have a chronic condition that saps your life in some way. But this is my story now. My words feel stolen and I long to take them back, even as I know that this too shall pass, and my mood will change, hopefully for the better. This is why I take my medicines and learn coping skills.

I take these small steps because I refuse to be silenced, even by my own condition. I will learn to speak, to steal back my words, and to quietly raise my voice into a roar when I need to. I will do this all despite my bipolar disorder, despite my disease. I will not be captive by my sickness, nor will I be defined by it.

So now these words all feel so shallow and pointless. Still I will write them as an act of defiance against the depression that sits at my door. This is my small rebellion, my revolution.

So, here is┬áto stolen words and the ways we steal them back. Sometimes it’s all we have.