Oct 16, 2013
For me, depression does not mean that I can't see the light; every day I search for it and find it.
It means that the light doesn't seem to shine on anything else right now.

It does not mean that I am not grateful and blessed with what I have, for I know that I have much, and I am thankful.
It means that what I have feels wasted, because I do not enjoy it as I know I should.

It does not mean that I think I am worthless; indeed I've spent years discovering my infinite worth.
It means that every day, I see my potential wasted, I see my dreams by the wayside, and I see my achievements clouded by 'so what?'.

It does not mean that I always focus on negative things; it has been a strict discipline in my life to seek joy, to look on the bright side.
It means that fearful thoughts attack me from all sides at once, waking and sleeping, crowding and overtaking me with their sheer insistence.

It does not mean that everything is grey, in varying shades of black or white.
It means that colours don't inspire me or excite me anymore; they just add to the overwhelming environment around me.

It does not mean that I can't get out of bed or off the couch; I do spend much of my time there.
It means that I can't find a good enough reason to get up and go.

It doesn't mean that I don't know what to do, or that I'm punishing myself by limiting creative pursuits.
It means that there's nothing I want to do; even the things I used to love most have lost their appeal and it all looks like chores.

It does not mean that I have lost faith in God; I can hear His whispers of 'trust me' when I call upon Him.
It means that I have lost faith in fairytales and happy endings.

It does not mean that I want to kill myself, or that I have a morbid preoccupation with death.
It means that being both alive and awake is a battle I choose to face every day.

It does not mean that I think I will never get better.
It means that seeing that time and place is impossible, and I'm so fucking tired of waiting around.
Oct 6, 2013
Before you embark on a journey of self-discovery, I urge you this one thing:

Love yourself. Unconditionally.

Because as you journey, you may come across things in your heart you did not expect. In your heart you may find boundless joy and thankfulness, but it is likely you may also find in your heart pain, anger, guilt, fear. You may find any number of weaknesses and any number of broken pieces of your heart. These pieces are the most difficult to share; what we give those pieces to someone, only to have the pieces returned with disgust and judgement?

This is why we must first love ourselves. With all our brokenness and regret and mistakes – love.

When you decide to love yourself no matter what you do or discover, you will find it easier to share the dark places in your heart with someone else.

If they give back the pieces you shared, what does it matter now? Because you know how to hold those pieces; you can keep yourself safe and loved until you find others you can trust to share your heart with.

When you love yourself, even through all your brokenness, you can love others through theirs. How great to be given the honour of holding another's pain or fear and yet to still say "I love you"?

I urge you once again: love yourself. You are worth the greatest price that has ever been paid – it is finished.
Love yourself every day. Love the dark places. Let love shine in and you will know that not only are you loved, you are so worth loving.

Sep 12, 2013
A friend to ask if I'm ok
A friend to give me a smile each day
A friend who will take me out for a walk
A friend who will listen if I just want to talk
A friend that says 'I love you just as you are'
A friend that says 'I'll do anything to just make you laugh'
A friend who's reassuring when I'm scared of today
A friend who's got stories when I've nothing to say
A friend who remembers that I hate the cold
A friend who will keep the secrets I've told
A friend to remind me to eat something good
A friend to make jokes about 'Emily would!'

I'm very blessed to look and see
That I have each and every of the friends that I need.
Sep 9, 2013
The only lasting side effect at this stage seems to be fatigue, I'm sleeping early, sleeping in, and napping frequently most days.

There are other things happening in my world, big things, exciting things, all the things... It just seems that the greyness supersedes it all for some reason. 
Sep 6, 2013

When I'm feeling okay (like I do right now), it's difficult for me to fathom that I have recently felt so terrible. I think 'that's ridiculous! Of course life is worth living! Of course there are reasons to smile and people who love me! I'm not alone! What on earth was I so worried about?'

It's nice, to feel so certain of the goodness in life, but of course the flip side is that it's exactly the same when I'm down; when I feel depressed, it's impossible to take seriously the times like now where I feel calm and happy. When I feel depressed, it's impossible to see hope.

But right now, it's almost impossible to see despair.

It's a strange old life we're living.
Live it - No matter how strange.
Sep 4, 2013
And the beast is back.

I'm pretty tired of this battle. All of my energy is focused on fighting rock-bottom moods, panic attacks, errant thoughts, constant fears. To get out of bed, say 'good morning' to my housemates and make eye-contact with myself in the mirror, willing myself to feel hopeful about the day, is enough to send me back to bed, exhausted. Some mornings I have done that.
I am trying, though, but I can't predict what each day will bring, and it's taking its toll on everything, most recently uni. This semester might have to go on hiatus because I just can't work, and while I feel a little more at ease at the thought of study no longer hanging over my head, there's this voice that follows me around.

'Failure,' it says.

'You don't work, you don't even volunteer anymore or go out or do anything, and you still couldn't keep up with three measly subjects. Not like your housemates, who work and study and are involved with endless other activities and still manage good results. You're incapable, you're a failure, you can't do it. What good are you really? How do you ever hope to make a difference if you can't even write an essay? How will anyone ever love you when all you do is nothing? You're a failure, and no one wants that; no one wants you, you're just taking up space.'

I don't think I'd exactly worked out those thoughts until writing them... But there they are. As a response, here is what I got up to today:

• Got out of bed! Yay!
• Drove to the shops. What an achievement.
• Organised the shit out of the pantry. Yeaaah.
• Pulled up as many weeds as I could find in the 'garden'. Made so many analogies to life as I did so.
• Cleaned the toilets and bathroom. Gee they get gross.
• Had myself a nap. Unintentional.
• Tried organising some 'what the hell am I doing with uni!?' stuff, to no avail.
• Tidied the back room.

Well, I'm sure I'm not quite a failure... But I don't think that voice is going to leave any time soon...
Sep 1, 2013

Aug 31, 2013
Joy! And rapture! And delight!

This morning I woke to sunshine, pancakes, friends, and a distinct lack of that black dog.

I can still hear him barking in the distance, I can still feel the heaviness in my chest and the pit in my stomach, but this morning I feel lighter, I see a tiny ray of hope in the sunbeams streaming through the window.

Having had a chance to reflect on some things, I've come back to a persistent monster: pride. I once asked God to rid me of pride, and I'm not sure that I really knew what I was getting myself into, but it has, more often than not, been quite a painful process. Like pulling weeds, the roots sometimes go deep, and it hurts to pull some of those things out.

I don't, for one moment, think that God wants me to be depressed or anxious, I don't think that he brought this upon me at all, but maybe there are parts of it he can use. I've had to sacrifice a lot of pride recently and it isn't easy, but maybe (just maybe) it's ultimately good.

I've had to sacrifice pride in my relationship with my mother - it has helped to repair some past sadness and scars.

I've had to sacrifice pride in my interactions with others. Well, I'm learning to at least. I've never been one to ask for help, ask for love, or really ask for anything... While there's a large element of trust malfunctioning there, there's also a lot of pride that keeps me from needing anything from anyone. I'm learning that this is not a great way to live.

Similarly, I've had to sacrifice pride in the way I approach my own health. Admitting   things like seeing a psychologist or taking antidepressants has not been easy for me, admitting that I need help. I don't tell everyone I come across about my health because not everyone needs to know, but there's also a large part of me that is scared to let go of that wall of pride and security, to let people see me and make their judgements. I'm not sure what exactly it is I'm scared of - rejection, humiliation, having people view me as weak?

Anyway, that's my thoughts this morning. Time for a cuppa.
It's night, and I feel good. I'm trying to make myself remember these moments, however simple they may be.

• I kept my appointment with the psychologist, and realised quite a few things about my past and myself.

• I gave myself permission to nap.

• I went for a long walk, played silly on a playground and strolled home in the rain.

• I did something creative! 'Winosaurs' ;P

• I went to a trivia night, and while I noticed myself feeling anxious a few times, the scene did not overwhelm me as it often would.

• I had a day and night filled with good people who I love, activity and movement, laughter and life.

I feel peaceful now, cozy and warm... I know that there is hope.
I want so much for it to stay.
Aug 30, 2013
I hate waking up.
I open my eyes and regain consciousness and already my entire body is in fight or flight. Panic. I despair. I don't see hope, I don't feel peace. I am without a horizon in a nauseous, murky sea of wretched feeling and thinking.

Lord, won't you walk to me across the waters? Won't you save this drowning one of little faith?

The thing that bothers me is, I know all about depression and anxiety... I know the pitfalls, I know the lies and distorted thinking it gives, I know the false basis for the emotional wreckage... But I can't change any of it. Though I know there is good in the world, I don't believe it. Though I know I have reasons to be happy, I can't feel it. Though I know depression is telling me there is no reason to live, I can't argue with it. Why, if I can see what a sneaky disease this is, can't I challenge it, why can't I get better? I'm so tired of this torture.

It's like being stuck in a jail cell that has no bars. It should be so easy to escape, but I simply can not. I can't drag myself off the floor to even find a way beyond these invisible walls keeping me captive. I hate this, I want to scream but haven't the energy.
I find that I've been feeling better at nights. Sometimes. Actually I don't think there's a pattern to it, but tonight I feel okay, and when I think about why, these reasons come to mind:

• I've had all day to wake up, move about, eat food and think positively.

• I swept the front steps – a project I've been wanting to complete for a while. Sweeping is my favourite chore, I felt very satisfied 'post sweep'.

• I got to see and speak to lots of people I love today (though to do so required me being in some overwhelming social situations).

• I engaged in worship. Often, even through pain, I find freedom in worship.

• I spent the evening with safe people in laughter, I'm quite sure it helped to lift my mood.

Now if I could find a way for this mood to transfer into my dreams, and stay with me until the morning, that would be great.

If at all you pray, please pray for peace for me to sleep. I have slept fitfully for a couple of months now and it is taking its toll emotionally as well as mentally and physically. Please pray that I am able to sleep the whole night through, preferably at least 7 hours, that my dreams would be encouraging, and that I would wake feeling refreshed, cozy, light, and ready to face the day. Thank you.
Aug 29, 2013
Tired of waking up scared.
Tired of restless sleep.
Do not want.
Aug 28, 2013
'Would you want me when I'm not myself?
Wait it out while I am someone else?'
I'm stuck on the couch worse than before.
I've never felt this consistently fatigued.
Here's hoping it's all worth it.
Anything to help me hear those whispers.
I hear again and again
The softest whisper

'Trust me', it says, 'trust me'.

The whisper carries peace on its breath
But I am not quite sure how to take hold
Of peace, or,
How to trust.

But again I hear the voice,
'Trust me'
The yawning continues
The fatigue won't leave
My pupils are dilated
I crave light but it hurts my eyes.

Here goes.
Aug 27, 2013
I mostly just need

To know that I'm not alone
To know that you won't leave
To know that the sun still shines
To know that I'll feel warm
To know that I am worth something

And more than those
I just need to believe
The things I know

(A postscript apology for the emo overtones spewing out of me right now... Call it cathartic, call it self pity, call it whatever you want, but it's where I am)
The best time is the lull before my body reacts.
This couple of hours before my insides start feeling tumbly and grumbly, before my head feels like gravity's new best friend.

The morning sunshine helps me enjoy these hours, and I look forward to them. That's something, at least.
One minute I feel anxious and panicked, the next everything is beautiful and colourful, next I feel detached and numb, next I feel gloomy and tired, next I feel restless and jumpy, next I feel cozy and happy... It changes every so often and nothing seems to trigger any of the emotions, they just ebb and flow of their own volition.

It's nice when the peace comes for a moment, but I can't seem to make it stay.

I'm so lucky to have the people in my life that I do. They comfort me.
Aug 26, 2013
Waking up in a world that fades in and out of reality.

I'd scream if I had the energy.
Aug 25, 2013
Oh no
How did we get here?
After all I've said and done and written and celebrated...
I'm feeling like a zombie
I'm feeling like I'm watching this all from behind a glass wall where I simply remember things like happiness
I feel like I'm the only one on this side of the glass
Noise, light, taste... It's all muffled and jumbled
Thought, peace, clarity... It's all tangled and broken
Oh my sweet brain, if only I knew how to fix you
I'm not sure that I know how to fully live this life when I can't trust even my own thoughts

I like to call today Day 1 of Medicine
How many days there will be, I have no idea... But today is
Such an unmixable and motley crew of emotions and sensations... They leave me feeling
What am I supposed to do? Living by simply continuing to breathe and eat seems like a start, but what next? What do I do when the nature of things is that I don't, or can't, do anything? How do I make the struggle worthwhile, and is that my job? Because I definitely feel an obligation to get it right, to give back, to serve and exceed.

But I can't do it just yet, so what do I do in the meantime? How long is the meantime? I hate this limbo more than anything... If there was an end in sight, there would be a goal.

I am sad for the child who was excited to grow up. I am sorry that this is what she got.
Aug 23, 2013
I just don't know
If unsure
Is something I can live for

I just don't feel
That unsure
Is something I could die for

But I just wish
That unsure
Is something you would fight for

Because I am certain of one thing:
I am surely unsure.
Aug 13, 2013

Then we talked about anxious things
And I felt the clouds roll right back in
I wish I could think of any other analogy
Than greyness and falling and storms and sea

Aug 11, 2013
Today I didn't even begin on the couch.
Today I stepped outside.
Today I marvelled at Your creation.
Today I tried to photograph Your beauty, but gave up after a few failed attempts.
Today I travelled off the beaten track (and legitimately pretended I was a dinosaur exploring the bush... Let's keep that one quiet).
Today I climbed a tree and felt your glow on my face.
Today I revelled in the excitement of wind through the trees.
Today I smiled past elderly couples, their stories unknown to me but told in their quiet conversation.
Today I giggled at children who knew no shame.
Today I know peace.
Today I seek trust.

Today I feel joy,
And today I know that if it is possible now, it will be possible again.

Aug 9, 2013

If I could touch the edge of your robes
Or eat a crumb from your table
If I could but climb tallest tree and see
The top
Of your head

Aug 6, 2013
I'm sorry, I can't slow down my erratic thoughts.

Despite being on a decidedly un-enjoyable rollercoaster ride right now, there are so many blessings in my life. This is going beyond trying to 'think positive!'ly about the fact that I have food on my plate and a bed to sleep in: these facts don't change anything, and much less when the food on my plate remains uneaten and the bed to sleep in is more of a place to toss and turn in and out of nightmares.

Hope that's not too melodramatic.

Nevertheless, there are many many more things which would show what a 'good' life I lead, and while I try to remember what these things are, they simply have no effect on my thoughts and feelings. As a positive attitude advocate, this strikes me as strange every single day I wake in panic.

The blessings I mentioned at the start are not these facts I've just talked about. The real blessings in my life right now are people. My family and my friends.

I'm blessed with a family who, not matter how dysfunctional, loves me unconditionally.
I'm blessed with a mother who spares no expense to see me well.
I'm blessed with sisters who have never-ending grace, patience, and couches to spend the night.
I'm blessed with house-mates who don't expect me to be anyone other than myself.
I'm blessed with friends who aren't scared by my current state, but ask me whenever they can if there's anything they can do, reminding me that they won't up and leave.

I'm simply blessed with so many people who, when I can't see who I am or what hope there is, see it for me. Who carry my crosses and give me their faith when I've run out.

I am blessed.
It's moments like this that have become the thing I live for, but I confess, they are completely selfish.

Moments like this where for a brief moment, the cloud lifts.

I see a ray of warmth
Hear an echo of laughter
Remember what it is to hope
Know who I am and what I want
I feel the tips of Your fingers as you reach down to pull me from the depths of my own ocean of doubt.

I wish the feeling would stay.
But it's already gone. Again.
Aug 5, 2013
For an interlude to all them emotions... These pictures were taken and edited with my phone - what a world we live in. I do so love to play around with these things.

You Yangs


Choose Life

I Will Love Again


Aug 4, 2013

One day I will get off this couch
One day I will seek the warmth of the sun
One day I will be happy to be with people
One day I will trust
One day I will find my faith
One day I will have my joy returned in full
One day I will not fear the valley of the shadow of death
One day I will do something for someone else
One day I will sleep peacefully
One day I will wake up happy
One day I will think about the past, and not feel pain
One day I will think about the future, and not feel scared
One day I will know how much I am worth
One day I will know how much I am loved


Jul 19, 2013

1. Wash
It falls in torrents




And I am drowned.

2. Spin
All is blurred

Down is left
Left is right

Right is up
Up is nowhere

Seeing is deceiving
Believing is a feeling

Which is not here.

3. Rinse
It stops. Just to start.

The headspin caught in a waterfall
The dizziness stays in this waterlog

The unreachable uncatchable breath
Is above the surface again

But I am sunk.

4. Spin
Again; no silence, no reprieve.

The circles take away choice
And freedom
And thought

The gravity takes away movement
And effort
And light

And I am still. 

5. Stop
And I am still, still.

But even though I


I can not move.
Feb 26, 2013
To the good men in my life,

Thank you.

For my entire life, I've been engaging with the same thing humans everywhere engage in: learning.

Unfortunately, for a large portion of this time, I haven't learned many good things about men. I have learned that men are either aggressive and will hurt you, or are weak and can't protect you. I learned that men are more knowledgeable, important, and stronger than women. I learned that men only want power, money, or sex. I learned that men are jerks, to be feared and avoided, and for the longest time had this sub-conscious thought pattern of women as goodies and victims, and men as baddies and perpetrators.

I'd almost like to apologise for that, but I wouldn't chastise anyone for being simply a product of their environment, especially if they were still seeking to learn, which is what I (hopefully) am doing.

I have since learned a great deal of other things; I've learned about feminism and the suffragettes, I've learned about and from strong independent women, I've learned how to be independent myself, I've learned more about the complexities of my childhood and how that has framed my thinking. These are all good things I've learned, though on their own they did not balance out my fear of men, but only equipped me to feel as if I could defend myself against these predatory creatures God had stuck me with.

So up went the walls, and they were pretty solid. If it was something to be proud of, you bet I'd have the biggest grin around town; not many people could scale the walls, let alone come down the other side unscathed. If I saw someone of the male sex but peek over that wall and even think about getting closer, out would come every effort of pushing him away. Down, you! Back to the depths from whence you came!

I'd actually like to apologise for that one; sorry. I kicked a lot of well meaning guys off that wall.

But back to the learning! I had learned that men are bad, and learned how to protect myself, but then in came... The Good Men *cue superhero music or something cheesy and inspirational*.

It wasn't one big group walking in as maybe I have just made it seem, in fact, I didn't even realise it for many years afterwards, during some reflection that I guess there are men in my life that I... Kinda trust sometimes...

These were men who were not aggressive, but they certainly weren't weak; powerful and smart, but never manipulative; funny, friendly, and encouraging not because they wanted 'more' from me, but simply just because.

I learned that men weren't bad. That men aren't bad. In fact, I learned that there are some pretty gosh darn tootin' good men in the world. The old ways were so ingrained that this fact still unnerves me at times.

If you're reading this, and you know me, you might be able to hazard a guess that you are one of these good men in my life (unless of course you're a woman... In which case, yo).
And if you're second guessing that, I urge you to be honest and talk to me... Face to face or leave a comment, chuck me an email, I love to nut this stuff out because it helps me to make sense of my brain.

But the main thing is this: thank you. Thank you from the very bottom of my beating, bruised, bursting joyful heart, for being exactly who you are.

Thank you for being genuine, for being fun, for having a character of such integrity and honesty that I'm really finding it more and more difficult to sympathise with the 'men are stupid assholes' attitude that is thrown about among some women (Don't be discouraged, it's not all women). Thank you for being an example of Jesus, of someone who is after His heart, and who doesn't follow the rules the world tells you that you should.
Thank you for treating me with respect and patience, for always being gentle and kind without expecting something in return. For making me laugh and sing and dance and dream.
Thanks to you, I no longer count men as monsters; I am no longer cynical and suspicious about every move and motive as 'surely destructive and ulterior'. You have given me hope (one of those essentials to life) in men, hope in people, and through your very existence, renewed hope in God.

It's not necessarily one big thing that you've done; this is not about grand gestures, but it's about your daily living; that you desire to learn and grow and know God; you're not afraid of being yourself; you have the courage to try new things; you know when to have fun and when to be serious; you value other people as God's creation; you encourage others to be all that they can be; you have your dreams and desires and quirks and oddities; you have wisdom and strength (sometimes more than you're aware of) and through it all, you have the honesty to admit that there are gaps; to see where you could have done better, not to live in regret and despair but to pick yourself up and continue in the path of God's grace.

Even if you and I are not particularly close as friends, the way you live your life has had such an impact on mine, as I'm sure it has on countless others. I thank God for you, for the honourable men you've had as examples and mentors in your life, and for the men that you are an example to yourself. I thank God that I know I will never be without a brother in this life.

Know this: You are important. You are valuable, not only to me, but what you have to offer the world and the community around you sometimes goes beyond your knowledge. As a collective effort you have changed my life, and you will continue to do so. This world is better off with you in it.

As for the learning, that will continue... I know I've got a lot of walls to tear down, and it hurts and I'm not quite sure where to start, but until I met all of you, I did not know that those walls have been keeping out the good with the bad. So thank you, for leading me to the realisation I'd built those walls, and giving me a reason to knock them down.

Much love, respect, and laughter,

Feb 23, 2013
This is the prayer I pray when I can not pray

When all is turned to sleep
When sleep is turned to empty
Empty that can't be filled

When the feelings stop before they turn into words
When the words stop before they can fall from the cracking precipice

When my soul is dehydrated
So thirsty it can not get up

This is the prayer I pray when I can not pray

When I close my eyes to remember that You Were
And try to believe that You Are

When I sing the hymns and strum the chords that were once a rhythm and dance
When my Way of Life
Becomes my Way of Avoiding Death

The prayer I pray when I can not pray doesn't begin with
Heavenly Father
Doesn't end with

It doesn't contain repentance or requests

The prayer I pray when I can not pray
Is a nod of the head
A blink of the eye
A beat of the heart
The tossing and turning of a restless spirit
It is the frustrated turning of the pages as I try to focus on some relevant words among the thous and thees
The tears of ache that the minor notes bring
The remorse of my infidelity

The prayer I pray when I can not pray
Is in the holding back of my tongue
In the gentle touch I offer my friend
In the compassionate heart I leave out uncovered in the open

The prayer I pray when I can not pray
Is in the wind as it teases
Is in my breath when I sigh
In my eyes when I see beautiful things
In my heart when I feel beautiful

The prayer I pray when I can not pray
Is a recollection of all the prayers I have ever prayed for the future
Can that not be enough, for now?

Because apart from beat and breath, I have no hold from which to offer prayer

The prayer I pray
When I can not pray
Feb 3, 2013
(November 2012)

I am convalescing, still.

Let me start out by saying: I do not want this to be a depressing piece of writing. I am not depressed. I am sitting comfortably in my house as the afternoon sun streams through the window on what seems the first balmy day in months since winter ended. I am, in this moment, healthy and happy. I baked some biscuits today and played a bit of guitar; two things I really enjoy.

Here I sit, and I am content, but that is exactly the problem: I really should be researching and writing assignments. I have mentioned that I am not depressed, but I once was. I don’t need to go much further into it than saying that for most of my adolescence, and for a brief period into emerging adulthood, I suffered chronic depression (albeit untreated through years of denial).

I am better now (someone please shout ‘hooray!’ with me!) and the past two or so years of my life have been the most different, strange, eye-opening and best years of my life. But they have not been without struggle.

I understand that if you are human, you struggle, I understand that there are daily tasks we must complete and challenges and hardships we must face, I understand that many students find it hard be constantly motivated, balanced, and get their assignments in on time. I don’t want to talk about that so much; though of course my years have been filled with those struggles, but I want to talk about a different one. An ailment of sorts.

Think of a scar you have, particularly from a more gruesome injury if you have one (though I generally try to avoid those... ergghh, blood) and come on a little journey with me.

I have a scar on the inside of my right thumb, just in the knuckle joint. The injury was from a mishap with an s-hook during a camping trip in early 2012; a mishap which resulted in the metal hook being much more embedded in my thumb than in the camping contraption it should have been (or as I put it so eloquently then: ‘that was very in my thumb!’ whilst dancing around in a frantic panic, blood beginning to pour down my arm). Luckily this day was the end of our camping trip, so I went straight home to the all-hours doctor where they patched me up nicely as I tried not to look (regrettably, curiosity got the better of me and while the doctor was out of the room I stole a glance at the ‘unstitchable’ puncture wound. Commencing another round of queasiness).

In the grand scheme of available injuries that life has to offer, I got off pretty lightly with my thumb’s puncture wound; despite being quite haemophobic (note: haemo-, not homo-) and nearly fainting when I even thought about my holey thumb and it’s misfortune, the wound wasn’t at all life threatening or disabling. The worst outcome of the situation was that for a fortnight or so, it was difficult to write, and the accident happened to coincide with the start of semester.

Unsurprisingly, I made it through the ordeal (show me your ways, O wise Emily) but I do have a scar. It runs across the inside of my thumb: a smooth, lighter patch of skin that sits as a lump above the rest. For a long time, after the wound had healed over, that scar was tight, and I could feel it stretching when I bent my thumb back. It didn’t hurt, but it still impaired the use of my thumb and my writing, even if only a little.

Now? There is no pain, the scar is not tight and in fact it’s hardly noticeable unless you know it’s there. But as I sit here, and think back on where the scar came from, I definitely remember that pain. I relive the nausea I felt as I looked into my open knuckle and blood ran down my arm. I remember worrying that the blood would stain my white angora jumper. I remember feeling  horrible that I was no longer useful in helping pack up the camping gear, I remember the long drive home from our trip, as I tried to be the grown up woman of 21 that I was, and not cry (I cried), I remember buying myself a cupcake styled like a happy pig to cheer myself up when we stopped for lunch, I remember thinking that the scar would be horrible and that no one would want me after that (irrationality, would you like a bed to sleep in? You’ve been here a while now), I remember feeling pathetic as my dad drove me to the doctor and I cried, again, explaining to him what had happened.

But I am okay. All is good now. It might seem like I’m being overly dramatic about a little wound, but all of those feelings and thoughts were very real to me at the time.

And sometimes, the wound comes back in the way that it has affected my life. For a long time, I used my thumb awkwardly even though it was healed and pain free. When I touch the scar, I feel nauseous, just from the memory of what happened.

Everyone has been hurt in life, been wounded, and everyone has scars.

Suffering from depression for 6 years (on and off to varying degrees, but fairly steadily from age 15 to almost21) has left me with an enormous amount of scars, not to mention the scars of various events that encouraged that depression to begin.

As I said, I’m not depressed anymore. It’s awesome.
But sometimes, (okay, a lot of the time), I feel or act like I am. Just like I still lived as though my thumb was disabled when it was actually better, I often live as though I have no passion, motivation, joy, or energy. But I do, I have lots of those things, I just don’t know what to do with them. I have surmised (and someone please tell me if I’m wrong) that having depression during your teenage years somehow stunts mental development. The synapses that are created when you respond to life out of depression during those years have got to somehow affect your later life (SO much citation needed).

I have learnt that when life is overwhelming, you sit and cry and stare at a wall. I have learnt that when you have important things to do, it’s easier to sleep.
I have learnt that there is nothing you can do to fight whatever-the-fuck-it-is that goes on inside your head and your heart.

And while I know that those things aren’t true, I still live as though they are.
These are the scars of my depression; the stunted development, the absolute lack of any conviction to stick to my commitments or look after myself, the lack of ability to concentrate and multitask.

And as I sit, and look at my scars, I remember that pain. I remember feeling physically sick with anxiety. All. Of. The. Time. I remember feeling paralysed with fear at night when I was alone, and I remember feeling more afraid than I thought I ever could when I realised that the fear itself wasn’t restricted to the night, but had started following me around during the day. I remember wearing a mask around people, because surely if they knew, no one would want me. I remember feeling ashamed that I couldn’t just be happy like I was supposed to be (as dictated by being a Christian in our ‘privileged’ Western world). I remember thinking that maybe I would always have to live life that way, and know that I couldn’t do that for much longer. I remember not being able to think or concentrate or apply myself to any sort of study. I remember the sadness and despair as I lost the love and joy that I got out hobbies and my favourite things. I remember feeling so worthless and awkward in any social context, wondering what the hell I was wasting my time for when it was obvious that I had nothing to offer anyone and it would be better for everyone if I committed to a reclusive life. I remember not really being close with anyone, and having many surface friendships but no really close friends. I remember feeling pathetic when I would cry and get angry and anxious over little things, I remember feeling helpless and like a waste of space when I couldn’t find it in me to help and love others because I simply could not help and love myself. Sometimes now with a certain smell or song, I’m right back in my depression. (Music I can’t listen to any more: Sam Sparro’s self-titled album, Kate Havnevik’s Melankton, Fragrance I can’t smell: Dove’s cucumber and lemongrass deodorant).

I remember a lot of things, thoughts and feelings that I wish I didn’t. I remember the excuses, because back then I had them; I was well-and-truly depressed. If I sat for too long in a stupor, even though I had nothing going for me and hated myself, the only way I could ever cut myself some slack was saying ‘hey, Em, don’t be too hard on yourself, you’re pretty depressed, remember?’ Encouraging.

Now I don’t have that excuse. I’m not depressed. There’s really nothing holding me back per se. But I do have these scars. And maybe it’s just a way of trying to make more excuses for when I fail in life, but I really do feel as if it’s still affecting me.

Just like my thumb for a little while shaped the way I lived, even after it healed, depression has been doing the same, just on a much larger scale.

How long do I keep these excuses intact? How do I teach and train myself to live in healthy ways instead of the macabre wasteful ways I used to? Where do I give myself grace and where do I give myself a kick and say ‘NO MORE EXCUSES, SOLDIER!’? I’m not sure where the line is, or if indeed there is one, or if I’ll ever cross it. I know that I’ll always remember the times I was depressed, but I definitely don’t want the scars of lethargy and sadness and cynicism to define who I am now or the way that I act.

There are some scars, though, that I want to keep, and depression left me very scarred; with wisdom to look behind people’s masks; with compassion to love people through their hurt; with grace to forgive others their failures; with stubbornness to keep trying even when I fail over and over again; with a desire to learn and grow more; with a passion for seeing other people free; and with a discontentment that I don’t want satisfied until the day I die.

It’s all easier said than done. At the moment, I am just tired. And when I am tired, I’m quick to fall back into the learned ways of depression, when I know that I was built for so much more. When I know that I was built for life, and not for death.