Thorn

Monday, January 25, 2010


I don't want to publish this post.

I haven't wanted to write it.

Writing it would make it real.

But writing it would make me real. And I need that. I need to be real right now.

I need to write off my excuses and face the creeping deadness and bring it out into the sunlight and expose it there. I need to write it here, during my me-time, because it is all the me-time I really get.

I'm barely getting shower time lately.

I need to write it while I can write it, corral it, give it a place so it doesn't rule me, spinning round and round in my thoughts and my head and my heart like the storm that came through last night, whipping rain against window and wall and roof.

Enough is enough. I can't hide anymore by changing the subject.

...

I am a very open person, but there are two topics I don't talk about with anyone but my husband. One is the topic of my first love. The other is my depression.

It was odd to realize this yesterday while I was talking with Pete. Odd to realize that I've been deliberately avoiding writing from where I am over the last week or so.

Repost an old post. Guest posts are a good idea. Keep it clean. Keep it shallow. Your readers don't need to know what is really going on. Just cloak it here. It's not a lie.

But I know it is a lie. I know because I care too much about what you think. Because I've suddenly found myself checking my statcounter and comparing numbers and trying to come up with ways to promote my blog so I get more traffic because I want to be just. like. somebody. else. And it's no one in particular. Just those somebodies I've run across who get a million comments or a thousand visitors a day.

I got about a thousand visitors one day two weeks ago.

So I've been putting my make-up on here. Covering up my blemishes, making me pretty, dressing up and putting conclusions on this barely-dressed me that is really shell-shocked, struggling, staring, weeping, working, waking.

I am trying to believe that what I am presenting is the real me and it is wanted, while I am hiding away the mess that I am, sweeping up my dust, creating myself one more place to hide.

I cannot do that here.

...

Four days of clouds will do it to me. And they did this last week. It doesn't matter what I do.

The first day, I will turn all the lamps on in the house to warm it, drink tea, cuddle in blankets with babies, write poetry.

The second day, it gets harder. I try to have a good attitude. The crying grates more. I start losing patience with Piper. I grasp at grace.

On the third day, the fog sets in. Doing anything requires herculean effort. Focusing my thoughts beyond putting one foot in front of another is almost impossible. I start to feel fat. Ugly. Lazy. I start to notice that I'm not seeing my kids. The condemnation-whispers intensify.

By the fourth day, I'm almost non-functional. I spend long periods of time staring into space, trying to figure out what I need to do to stand up, put my clothes on, get food, take care of babies. I feel wooden, frozen. The guilt is overwhelming; condemnation roars at me. I have no energy to answer it. I pray for sun.

Additional factors worsen the freeze. The new diet I have to figure out for my gallbladder. Tailoring that diet even further for the baby's thrush. Curling up inside because I know his sick is my fault, and why can't I just get this right. Raising garlic and B dosages and setting off a deeper herxheimer - for both Lyme and Candida.

And every time I herx, the depression deepens for a week until my body adjusts to the new treatment levels.

I can't cry.

...

I register things internally that I can't express. I photograph the light so I can see it on cloudy days. I write my rememberies while they are fresh so that I have them in words, etched in my mind so I can look back and remember what was on the other side of these closing walls.

I try to see Piper, try to see Bredon, try not to look at Pete because I know it is happening again and I am so, so sorry that I can't fight it away every day. Ignoring it doesn't work.

It must be engaged.

I read others' stories of their struggle with it, and I acknowledge it deep but I don't admit.

It must be engaged.

I write about everything else in my life, because I don't want my readers to think it is so hard here, because it's not so hard here every day and this is not the sum of who I am.

But it must be engaged.

And so I am writing it here. I am bringing out my unmade face with the circles under my eyes, the slack expression, my thrown-up hair, frumpy clothing, my post-baby-squared body. I'm writing out the unmade bed, the toddler-toys all over the house, the dishes that I don't do, the laundry I barely notice until I realize how much Pete is doing for me, for us.

I'm opening the door, because I can't keep it closed any longer. This needs to be real. I need to leave my denial behind and spill out the dark the same way I need to spill out the fun and the light and the shallow.

I didn't start this blog for the whole world. I started it to write what I couldn't say. My goal here is not to cloak me or present someone I am not. What good is Jesus to you or to me if I write outside my humanity? What merit does my grace-description hold if I don't share my need of it?

...

I suppose I could journal it, instead of putting me out here for examination and suggestion and judgment. But as long as I can hide from it, I don't have to acknowledge it, and for me the writing of it makes it real. The saying of it, the sharing of it clears my head. It takes the swirling, toxic phrases that play on repeat and turns the light on them, revealing them for the lies they are.

Paul wrote to the Corinthians of a thorn in his flesh that God didn't remove.

I know the depression is my thorn.

I am struggling to understand how God's grace is sufficient. I know it is for me. But I need it to be sufficient for Pete and for Piper and for Bredon.

This is not the way I pictured my life.

But it is what it is, and part of living my life means living this too.

I hope, as always, that you will pardon my dust.





(Image © Informal Moments Photography)

42 comments:

Heidi said...

Oh Kelly.

I hardly know what to say...so much of this post, I could have written, only I haven't known how. After being free from depression, the way that it's creeping back with the herx and circumstances is almost worse than before.

All that to say, I'm right there with you. Crying with you even when there are no tears.

Bina said...

Sweet Kelly..
I also could have written this post. Actually, I pondered writing this post over the weekend and instead, found short phrases to sum up the meagerness of where my head was in comparison to where I know it "should" be. I have cried the silent tears...the ones that have no place to flow from because that long since ceased to work. I have shied away from the conversations...the ones that allow people to get in, to see me for who I really am behind the laughter and the smiles. I have wanted to quit...wanted to just have the nerve to walk out the front door and keep on walking because I knew that everyone's life would be better without me in it. I have been there...even if not in your exact shoes or for your exact reasons.

You are not alone...and if that is all you can remember when the fog settles in and the grey blots out the color, I pray you hold onto that. I am praying for you even now...and my heart, tho unknown to you, loves yours.

Bina

Glynn said...

Kelly -- I haven't been precisely where you are, but I've been in a similar place. More than once. A lot of people helped, even when I didn't want them to. I pushed them away because I needed to be "right" for them and I couldn't. A first step, just a step, is to do what you've done here.

Sharone said...

Kelly, this is one of the bravest and most moving things I've ever read. I haven't been exactly in your shoes but I have had very dark days, and I'm praying for you and your family. David wrote in the Psalm 3 that God is the lifter of our heads and our sustainer. I pray that you find Him to be the lifter of your head too during the difficult times. God bless you.

sarah said...

Dear Kelly, I am left wordless after reading this, for all your words and your courage as so profound. I can only give you ((hugs)) and say to you that sometimes I think the darkness comes so we can better look for the Light.

emily said...

I could feel those days progress, each one with you. The lamp light on day one, the extra effort after that, the staring off into space and the voice of shame and condemnation.

You write so well, or is that too obvious to say? I think it is.

You express so well, even in the midst of the mess. Thank you for speaking it.

the Joneses said...

I don't struggle with the foggy, dark freeze you describe. But I am sadly familiar with the gray.

It's no revelation that your dishes are dirty, your hair is a mess, you think you're fat, and you don't want to deal with the children.

I ASSUMED that's how you were doing. That's how I was after Stuart was born. I cried every day when Darren left for work, I didn't do laundry for months (Darren took it over), and every day t 3:30 I wailed that I wanted a new job.

And do you know what a major factor was? That was the year it rained nearly every day. Gray gray gray all the time. It was also the year we moved and I had no friends close by. And while I didn't have Lyme or Candida, I had an awful labor/c-section recovery.

So keep blogging, but don't think it's something you have to hide. You're ill, you have a new baby, and the sun isn't shining. So those of us who know anything about that stage of life know very well what your house looks like and your mind whispers at you.

And we wish very much that we could be closer to come keep the kids and clean the house and make you laugh. The blog will have to substitute -- know that we all come here instead!

-- SJ

HisFireFly said...

Your heavenly Father is so very proud of you today, for taking a step of boldness toward the healing He has waiting for you.

He WILL be glorified in your story.

May you find some peace in the truth of that.

Maureen said...

O'Donohue wrote that frequently, illness (depression is illness and it's complicated by the Lyme) is the body's voice, and it struggles with us to be heard. Today, you gave your body voice, let it express itself in your words. That takes courage, because that voice is one we don't want to hear. Write as much as you need to and talk out as much as you can. Doing those things reduces the fear of the illness, robs it of its power over you, makes it possible to ask for and receive help.

May peace be with you.

Becky@ Daily On My Way To Heaven said...

I never thought your life was perfect...whose is?
We are fallen, we all need grace...grace and grace and more grace.

Much love...

Bonnie Gray said...

Hi Kelly -

Here's a hug from me to you.

I totally know what you're talking about -- and so appreciative of how you are sharing in the moment so well.

It's a release to give words to everything inside --- That's where I go to find healing time and again. Sharing with complete honesty, finding love and acceptance strengthens me to find what is behind the bottom's end.

Erin said...

A very dear friend and mentor reminds me quite often that "He knows we are dust and He loves us anyway."

And when we are honest, we love others more because they are dust. Because we are dust. And we can't relate to perfection.

Prayers for you, Kelly. May there be light and grace and everything you need in this day.

Cassandra Frear said...

Here for you.

Write to me anytime.

I have been thinking of you much lately and didn't know why.

I am behind on my correspondence. I have recipes to help you -- lots of them. I have some experience and research that may help, but we can only know that after we discuss.

Look for an email (or two) from me this week.

Let God look after whether you are lovely enough or worthy enough or doing well enough. These are things we CANNOT know about ourselves. He gave you breath and He is glad.

So am I.

Carrie said...

Oh, sweetheart, i completely understand where you're coming from. Thank you for sharing this - being 'real', as you said. I will be praying for you- this is such a difficult time for you, and it will not always be like this. I'm sorry you have to bear this thorn, but don't forget that the point of the thorn is that God's glory will be made known through the way He uses you through it - and that's why He chooses not to take it away - to show that His grace is indeed sufficient for even this. Praying, Kelly, and thinking of you.

Jessica said...

I'm so glad you chose to write out your thoughts here -- I find it helpful to do the same thing (although I'm not always brave enough to publish them).

I used to wonder how certain people could get so depressed... until I experienced it myself. "This is not the way I pictured my life" -- that thought was (is) pretty much at the center of it. I am *supposed* to be a better wife, a better mom, a better Christian. My life is not *supposed* to look like this. But as you said, "part of living my life means living this too." I think accepting that truth was most of the battle for me. No, it is not at all what I imagined... but God is still here, working in it.

Don't beat yourself up about what you can't get done. God will give you exactly what HE KNOWS you need for each day -- no more, no less... and rarely ever as much as we THINK we need. ;-)

As a side note, my worst period of depression was when I was in the midst of the worst Candida infection I've ever experienced. I wouldn't say the depression was *caused* by it, but I doubt it was fully a coincidence. Take care of yourself!

Praying for you.

Corinne said...

Kelly, I'm so glad you opened up and wrote about this. Hopefully that in itself was a little therapeutic. It's real. It's nothing to be ashamed of, or to hide.

Thinking of you. Praying for you.

(and friend, a thousand views? I won't divulge numbers, but mine are hardly that ;) But those numbers don't matter. What matters is that by writing this, I'm sure you're helping someone realize that it's ok. That you are human, we all are, and are all worthy of His grace)

Janet Oberholtzer said...

I'm sorry ... sorry for the place you are in right now that you didn't picture for your life.

You are brave and wise voicing it here.
Breathe ... breathe deep - each breath is the spirit of God in you. Day by day, minute by minute - live with what is.

Jo@Mylestones said...

Thank you for being real. It's in our weakness that His strength shines through.
I think of II Cor 12:9: "But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me."
May you find Him there, even in the lightless days.

Deidra said...

Your dust is surely pardoned. I kick up and shuffle around in that same dust from time to time myself. It sometimes chooses to coat itself in a thin layer across my mind, my thoughts, my heart. And sometimes it chooses to clog my pores and make me gasp for air. I know the dust and I, like you, know the Light that pierces through...in words just like the ones you've written here. They are true and brave and free. Your words bless.

A Simple Country Girl said...

It is the sweet, sour, ugly, pretty, dingy, and damp of the early motherhood daze that still rattles me if I ponder there too long. I have lost track of how many times I look at my now 6-year old son and wonder what it would be like to do his infancy again. To do it in a different state of mind and place of heart. But God doesn't want us to do that, to look back, constantly.

Do look ahead with hope-full expectation of the looming joy. For when we have worn sadness tight like a drenched sweater, we grab any garments of joy, no matter the size. And friend, your heart may be in a million pieces and your mind scattered to the wind, but look here. Look at all these lovely people as they hold tight while you get the glue.

Can you feel the prayers grasping your soul?

Lyla Lindquist said...

I am trying to believe that what I am presenting is the real me and it is wanted, while I am hiding away the mess that I am, sweeping up my dust, creating myself one more place to hide.

This real you -- and I do mean the real, real one, the one in and with and around and under the dust -- it is wanted.

You are wanted.

Listen to your friends here. I'm afraid I've arrived too late in the day to do much but repeat. So listen to your friends who love the real you and shine light for you.

Kathleen said...

Dusty courage is still courage. You are not alone.
You so poignantly said 'it isn't the sum of all you are'. It doesn't define you. You give courage to those who feel imprisoned in silence. Speaking it, writing it...the strangle hold power is loosened. Your tears my child are growing a heart of compassion.

S. Etole said...

there's never a need to apologize for your dust ... it's gold dust ... you are precious in His sight ... and ours

Anne Lang Bundy said...

Kelly, never forget what the Lord can do with dust. Everything else He spoke into existence. But dust was something He gently caressed, shaped into His image, breathed His kiss upon, and made alive.

Stretch yourself out before Him and invite His kiss.

Jennifer @ Getting Down With Jesus said...

Even in your heartache, you bless and minister. You give us all permission to feel this way from time to time.

You...
you are a lovely one indeed.


Even with thorns, a rose is still a rose. You bear the fragrance of Christ.

I send you my love.

Thank you.

travelmom said...

Kelly - thank you for being authentic and sharing your struggles. So many of us can relate to those dark days of motherhood.

Write and share your heart - it is healing and helpful to those who walk this path, but are unable to voice the pain.

Be assured, God is sufficient for your precious ones. And for you too.

~And breathe.

pinkcamojeep said...

I struggle, as well. This has been my "best" winter ... ever. But, the thought of the cloud is always .... right over there.

I have blogged for a bit as well. I live in Georgia and noticed a few years ago that the sun has .... well, almost everything to do with it. And just a few days ago, just now five to six weeks after the winter solstice, that spring is near. And I am encouraged.

May you be encouraged as well. If you do not go outside during the day - no matter the temperature - FORCE yourself to go out. Sit in the sun. Turn your face towards it's light. Sit. Soak. Just ten minutes can make a difference. Or five twice a day. Truly. truly. It's can be the best spent five mins/2x a day you spend aside from time in the rays of the Son.

Many blessings as you continue to dig deep and share what is difficult. Face it and share. When exposed, it is easier to conquer.

Cyberhugs and bright sunny rays to you.

-|<@ren
(karen)

pinkcamojeep said...

http://waistingaway.wordpress.com/2010/01/25/hydrangea-make-me-happy/

Graceful said...

Kelly,
I can so relate to your dusty soul. I, too, suffer from depression...and these many, many days of grey lapping grey do not help one bit. Just know that you are not alone.

||| laura frantz ||| said...

Sweetie--I wish so much that I could just come over there and cook for you, fold your laundry, and love on your family. *hug*

katdish said...

Thank you. You are not alone.

Claire said...

Kelly I am right beside you. I have no words. Simply companionship. Care to take my hand as I pray for God to do what only He can do?

deb said...

I keep deleting my words.
maybe they aren't necessary.
but I heard you .
felt you.

in the dark, or the light, it is still you.

Danielle said...

Kelly, I wish there was something I could say to take the struggle away, but I can't. I can just say I'll pray for you.

And I understand. I've certainly had days like that and known others who've struggled too. I too, wish I could offer you "real" companionship, but this will have to do.

Heather of the EO said...

I think the shame, for me anyway, in depression (and in my case, addiction) came with such a force when I was quiet. When I wouldn't make eye contact with my Ryan for fear he'd see it and think me a burden. He wasn't going to think that, I was thinking that. I was believing the lies. Of course, I still am to some extent. I might always struggle with this, but there's something about confessing even that, something that lightens it in the telling of it.

I got an email the other day that said "shame is like mold, it grows in the dark, but withers in the light."

I just love that.

Peace to you, sweet lady.

Melissa_Rae said...

"...try not to look at Pete because I know it is happening again and I am so, so sorry that I can't fight it away every day."

I tried to post this yesterday but it wasn't working on my phone...

I so identify with this statement...to me this is the hardest part of dealing with depression. There are times when it feels like a relief to give in to it; to allow it to wrap itself around me and keep me sheltered and hidden. Then I look at my husband and my kids and it spurs me on to fight once again. I prayed for you yesterday that you would have the strength to push back, the desire to raise your head over the waves that can keep crashing down on you. From your post today I can see that the prayers of those who listened to you yesterday are being heard. I will continue praying for you in this that you would feel joy, peace, freedom...

To Think is to Create said...

I have been where you are, and I know it's always *rightthere* waiting for me to slip. To let go of the wrong things, instead of the right things. Waiting for me to just let the river wash me away...

Something I discovered, just last night. As God took another turn at wringing me out...was that I turn to anger and depression as my "paci", my "not-God" way of comfort. Some people have other vices, addictions, some are so dark. But I think that anger and despair are some of the darkest. I couldn't believe it when I realized I was going to "that place" when I just couldn't deal. It was like my drink. I couldn't have just a taste, I had to go all the way.

Not that I won't be tempted to give in to that, but I feel like repenting it and voicing that made me feel so free. Like the grip it had on my heard was gone, in the name of Jesus.

The despair, for me, was so similar to other addictions. It was a place I could go to feel numb, to completely check out and not care about things. A place I could just go and linger, for however long, and at least I wouldn't face reality, face truth or face the pain.

I don't know if any of this makes sense, or you can relate at all. I am still discovering this myself, it's so new. It's also just so systemic.

When I get back from Blissdom let's hang. With or without babies. With or without talking. I think we need nearness, even if neither of us really feels like it. :)

xoxo
Ari

BRITTANIA said...

You made me cry. I'm learning it's okay to cry. Thank you...for your honesty, humility, and sharing your heart. Christ is using it your words to touch and move lives.

Jill said...

Hi,
My name is Jill and this is the first time I read your blog. Thank you for sharing your heart and for your courage. I too believe that the LORD will help you and meet you right where you are. I think that many of us put a smile on our faces and try to be that perfect happy person that is accepted, we just aren't as honest about it. So, you are safe to share. It makes you real. In a hurting world don't we need real? :)

I'll be praying for you. Again, thank you so much for sharing your heart.

Much Love,
Jill

Jane said...

Hi Kelly,

I found your blog because I have a Google alert on the phrase "baby squared" which is the name of the blog I write for Babble.com about my twin daughters.

I also write quite a bit about my ongoing struggle with depression. See this recent post: http://www.babble.com/CS/blogs/babysquared/archive/2009/12/31/buh-bye-2009.aspx

It's hard to be open about this disease, but in my experience, it's worth it. People are much more understanding and supportive that you you can ever anticipate. It's important to know that you're not alone.

I'm sorry you're suffering, and wish you the best. Hold onto hope; you can get better.

Jane

Ann Kroeker said...

You've used your gifts to open up your heart and let us see the thorn lodged there.

I won't say much more, as anything I type seems trite in light of your story, your struggles.

Let me end by saying, simply, thank you for inviting us in.

Kelly Langner Sauer said...

Ann, you are not trite. My struggles are so small compared to some. Simply writing this helped me feel better, brought this part of me into the light so that I wasn't using my blog to escape it. I am so grateful for all of the comments here, so amazed at the outpouring of love and encouragement and accountability, even.

Thanks. Just, thank you.

Post a Comment

Talk to me, if you like.