Well. I just had an evening of wine and chatting with a friend. And, I think, she tried to save my soul.
She had told me a few weeks ago that she felt the need to share her testimony with me, and that she really felt “called” to share it. But things have been rough. She has been busy and I have been struggling with depression and anxiety. Finally tonight she texted and invited me over. So, over I went! And we had cornbread and black-eyed peas (delicious southern food!!!) and lots of wine.
We were having some wine and a nice chat when I felt the tide of the conversation turn. I could see that my friend was dragging up issues from my past that I have already dealt with. I think this was an attempt to figure out why I had lost faith, and then fix whatever was broken inside me. Maybe she thought I was still dealing with events in my past and that those things had turned me away from God. Unfortunately, it was kind of awkward, because I have moved past that stuff. Neither my past nor my present are the reason for my depression nor my reason for my loss of faith. I felt like she was pressing me for an emotional reaction that I just didn’t have. I tried my best to just deflect it and turn the conversation back towards my friend. I really don’t want to hear about the how and why that God is intervening in my life when I NO LONGER BELIEVE IN GOD.
It kind of worked. I was able to distract her into talking about herself, telling me about her issues, and commiserating about being stationed in a rather sucky place.
But… ugh… blah… blurg. I really didn’t want that to happen. I am glad that the wine lubricated the conversation so that I could mostly avoid the proselytizing, but I still felt that her attempt to save me stilted the conversation and… I am afraid that it will affect the friendship. 😦 Ugh… blah… blurg…
This is exactly why I didn’t want to tell anyone.
I haven’t blogged in a while. I haven’t felt like it. I haven’t been able to collect my thoughts. I haven’t had the energy to try. Grad school is demanding and deployments are hard, but my current problems has more to do with the struggle I have had with depression for my entire adult life. I have only recently started to think about it outside of the tiny dark hole that my mind has been hiding in. I am carefully and continuously applying all of the tools that I have been given by counselors over the years. I am methodically and grudgingly starting to remember that depression lies. And I know that I will come out of this empty black hole eventually. Mostly that just makes me feel tired rather than hopeful, but hey, that’s okay.
The thing I have begun to think about in the past few days is how faith has played a role in my experiences with depression. I have done a lot of praying, reading, and waiting for my faith to make it better. I can’t honestly say that it has. I have come out of it eventually, but looking back, I don’t see the hand of God or his guidance or anything like that. I see me and my loved ones and good counselors doing hard work. That’s it.
I had the realization a few months ago that I no longer believed anything that was part of Christian doctrine, except that there was probably a God. And then I questioned that. And then it was like the doors on my mind got blown off their hinges and the whole world came rushing in. I have learned so much in just a few months. So much about science and history, but also about myself. Most importantly, I have learned that I have a great capacity for that most beloved-by-the-Army word, resiliency.
I am a resilient person. And it is not because of the hand of a supernatural being, picking me up and puppeting me into the places he wants me to go, or magically shoring me up and teaching me lessons. I am resilient because I have worked hard, and will continue to do so. I have learned that life sucks sometimes, and that I want to make life better for other people. I have learned that depression lies. My world is not empty or hopeless without faith, it is big and amazing and full of life and wonder, and I want to be in it. And that is a pretty fucking resilient outlook.