I still believe God answers prayers. I think He answer’s prayers that are never even said.
Everyone in my family suffers from depression. Which means temperaments run high and our ability to interact with each other is often obstructed by our internal struggles.
In spite of this, in recent years, we’ve really begun to learn how to take care of each other. Half of it, I think, is the acknowledgement of it. Of my mother saying out loud, “I am depressed,” of my brother telling me how hard it is for him to interact with people, of my own declaration of, “I am not okay,” sitting on the kitchen counter in tears one Sunday afternoon.
This is half the battle.
All last year, I sat in a room in Dublin, from which I could see the brick walls of the Guinness Factory and thought about the fairy tales they told us growing up.
That if you’re silent and still enough, someone - some man - will come to save you. Someday.
Be patient. Wait.
I still believe this is the most poisonous lie they ever fed me.
Because I waited and no one came. Instead, I had to learn to befriend the beast. And was bit for the effort.
Temperaments run high and I almost disowned my brother over something that was, in fact, stupid but felt like an incredible insult at the time.
He came around, apologized, and I too, in turn.
Then sat on the floor of my room and said, “I think you feel very alone and you keep putting yourself in places with people who have nothing in common with you and hold beliefs that you really don’t like, but you should know that many people do love you very much.”
How much having it laid out like that is like being broken open.
I listened to Springsteen all the way down the mountain, coming back from visiting a friend in Colorado, and it felt good, like bathing a wound, that, in spite of my bleak out look on reality, there are people left to love. People who care about me, even when, or especially when, I’m starting to feel anonymous.
When, nowadays, most days, I spend locked up in my room, never coming out.
I still believe in some profound goodness - in humanity, in God - that there is empathy left for us drive forward on. And maybe it’s not in any great quantity, I know it’s not, but I think it’s what lets us do this and be this and believe that we could change the world.
Cause I think a lot of this - social justice and feminism - is really founded and rooted in the cry for empathy. For treating each other like we’re worth something, like everyone has the ability to hurt and we should do everything in our power not to hurt each other and what if we, as people, as humanity, a culture, a society, reacted to that? Predicated the rest of our lives on that one assumption?
That everyone’s human. Everyone’s a person.
That might be a little touchy-feely. A little too liberal for my father (who is one of the kindest, most empathetic men I’ve ever met), but I don’t care.
Because that’s the heart of the pain, and often the thing my depression laches on to. Because depression is ethereal, in a way, it comes from nowhere, some swamp within, perhaps, and looks for something to cling to. This is what it’s chosen for me.
A man in my class got me started talking about social issues (this is the kind of person that I am, you might’ve noticed) and was on the same page as me. What a surprise, actually. Asked if we could continue talking, outside of class.
Spent three hours talking to him in an alternative clothing store downtown. And it was the reminder I needed - that just because I gravitate towards places that are full of people who have no similar ideologies to mine, doesn’t mean that people who are like me don’t exist.
And this is what I mean when I say that maybe God answers prayers that aren’t asked. Because I don’t remember the last time I prayed, not really, but I still think He’s there - this divine Being looking out for me - and reminding me that not everything is broken, even if I am, and that there are still good people in the world, even if I can’t always find them.
There comes a point in your loneliness where you being to feel like you deserve to be lonely. That there is something intrinsically abhorrent inside of you that scares everyone else off, that if you weren’t so fucking twisted and messed up, you wouldn’t be lonely.
That’s where all of this ties in together. That I’m sick but that illness is not a bad seed of darkness inside of me that makes me inherently unlovable.
It’s taken me a long ass time to realize that. Other people’s inability to handle my illness is not a character flaw in either them or me, but a simple fact of life that needs to be forgiven and forgotten.
That I was not lonely for a year in Dublin because I’m disgusting.
That this is a rocky patch and I’m still learning, still healing, still growing and I will get through this.
That there is a God who is still looking out for me, and a bunch of kind-hearted atheists, agnostics and Christians here on earth looking out for me, too.