Lent Face Value: Days 18-24

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Carrie: …there’s your past, and my illness

Brody: I’m not scared of that

Carrie: You should be 

Brody: Why?

Carrie: I told you, it’s hard. It’s ugly 

– Homeland Series 2 Episode 12

Hey there, lovely readers. Sorry it’s been a while again… (seriously, if you read through my posts most of them start like this. At least you know what to expect now, I guess) I’ll be honest with you, this week has been a bit tricky in my head. After some really good days, some clouds came into view of the sunshine and I’ve been a little bit massively off the planet. There’s been the days when I haven’t been able to hold a conversation with anyone properly, and one night I got under my blanket and just laid there waiting for something to shock me back into the world again. Nothing did, I hasten to add. It was just empty and long and I guess kind of scary too – this hasn’t happened for a while. I’ve also had those days when darker thoughts circle in – if you’re freaking I’m going to mention the dreaded S word, stop reading. Depression loves a bit of the old melodrama. Except, it’s not melodrama. It’s your emotional response to your LACK OF EMOTION and sadness. I mean, what’s the point in carrying on when you can’t even conjure up the capacity to say hello to your brother when he gets in from school, let alone decide where on earth your head is. I’d like to stress now that suicide (there, I said it) is NOT AN OPTION. Okay? 

You are meant to be here. 

Jesus says so. END OF. 

I’m not writing this pretending I don’t know what that feels like or the hopelessness you get when those clouds come right up close and you can’t see light ANYWHERE. But I also know a God who hasn’t left me yet, and won’t ever leave me. He’s promised me all across the amazing love letter he’s written to me (Joshua 1:9, Hebrews 13:5 and Deuteronomy 31:8 just to name a few) and in my day to day life. The beautiful people he’s given to me and the amazing things he’s been saying to me during this time of Lent. It’s not everyday you start a blog post about your experience of a makeup-less Lent talking about suicide is it? But you know what guys? We’re innovating and revolutionising the world here. WOO.

ANYWAY. So I’ve basically been in bed feeling miserable and eating WAY too much chocolate (let alone 5-a-day fruit and veg, it’s 5-a-day CHOCOLATE, you know, Nestle, Cadburys, Galaxy, Kinder, etc…), and I finished the second series of Homeland in about a week. Ashamed? No. It was flipping brilliant. That’s beside the point, but even so. WATCH IT. Also, if you haven’t watched it, this might technically count as a spoiler? Just to warn you…

I really feel like God was speaking to me through this one episode of Homeland. Honestly guys, I don’t really think I’ve been picking up much else from Jesus this week, mainly because – if I’m totally honest – I’ve been way too tired to listen. My prayer time has basically been along the lines of “you know what I’m trying to say. I love you, that’s all I can really say right now”. One time I even asked Jesus how his day was in the hope that some heavenly voice would just start talking at me so I could lie there and listen. Alas, no voice came – but peace did, I hasten to add – but if I get any heavenly updates I’ll let you know. I’m curious myself to be honest.

ANYWAY (again). So I’m watching Homeland. If you’ve seen it or know about it, then you’ll know Carrie and Brody kind of have this weird on-off relationship for a while which doesn’t really make any sense (I mean, come on, CIA agent and terrorist – ooh, or is he a terrorist? WATCH IT) but the main point of all of this is that Carrie has bipolar disorder. Honestly, I thought the presentation of her mental illness was pretty flipping brilliant (new phrase quite clearly) and I could relate to some of things she was saying – like the scene I’ve quoted up there.

I’ve bolded Brody’s bit: I’m not scared of that. Thing is, I assume a lot of the time that people will be scared of me having depression. I give out this whole ‘make people aware’ and ‘treat me like a normal human being’ propaganda – which is ALL TRUE and genuinely what I think – but at the same time I’m a bit like Carrie. I think I’ve even said the words “it’s hard and it’s ugly” to people before. The main thing (possibly the only thing, but who cares? PRAISE JESUS) I’ve learnt this last week I guess is that yeah, depression is scary. Massively terrifying sometimes when I say the crazy wacky things I think and feel and when I take down those masks I’ve talked about before and let people in? If you’re not a bit freaked, I’m freaking for you. But the truth of it all is this: people aren’t as scared as I give them credit for. Sure, there’s the odd person who looks like they want to escape the situation as soon as possible, but the ones who want to be there stick around – even when it is scary and hard. I can almost hear them saying to me “I’m not scared of that” and it brings me a serious comfort.

At the moment, depression is a part of who I am. It’s not who I am, just a part right now. Like the fact I’m a student, or that I’m 19. These things won’t last forever. I’ll get old, graduate (hopefully) and one day, I know Jesus will heal me of my depression. But right now that’s just how it is. This whole series is about feeling beautiful in my own skin and sharing that experience with you guys. Depression is a part of Annie right now; not a part I particularly like or advocate, but it’s still there. It’s a part of me being beautiful I guess. In a weird, twisted kind of way. The people who love me love me regardless. Talk about going through the good, bad and the ugly right?! Like Carrie, I assume people will get scared or want to run away. But like Brody, the people who matter most to me love me anyway and still tell me I’m beautiful and important to them.

Jesus included. He loves me regardless of ANYTHING that might be going on – not just depression. He tells me I’m beautiful and I’m worth it and I’m needed and purposeful before I’ve even WOKEN UP, let alone when the day has actually begun for me. Sometimes telling Jesus about what’s going on in my head can be a bit strange. At least, it was at the beginning. But I guess I worked out who I was talking to, and then I realised. Jesus overcame death. Overcame the world. He can overcome my depression. He doesn’t shrink away, he faces it head on with me and is fighting this for me and with me. Romans 8:31 says: “What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” 

Jesus himself said this:  I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world*” (John 16:33)

*depression/heartbreak/abuse/illness/trauma/loneliness/abandonment/etc.

Brody: I’m not scared of that

Neither is Jesus. 

Peace and blessings x

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