Monday, June 21, 2010

Show Me...Me.

Up until Noelle was born, I spent the better part of my adult life trying to figure out what was wrong with me. No matter how hard I tried and what tactics I used, I could not seem to break out of this cycle of discontent and depression. About 7 years ago I found myself on the carpet in my den crying my eyes out - begging God to tell me why I was so broken.

It wasn’t the first time I found myself on the floor of that room. It had been a nightly ritual for about a month. The den was dark, we had painted it a deep, deep navy blue and it had bright white trim around the still standing original doorway and windows. The den was a last minute, somewhat shabby add-on to the existing house. I don’t even think it the heating system reached it properly. But I liked it. It was warm and comforting. It wasn’t depressing or cave-like because it had 3 huge windows that we covered in white IKEA shades.

During my nightly ritual, after I put my baby to sleep, I would cocoon myself up in a huge white quilted featherbed. I would play soft music on my CD player and pray. On this particular night, I was overwhelmingly sad. The feeling was so concrete, so intense that it felt like an illness had crept into my body and started eating away my mind and my nerves. I was confused, disoriented and so terribly sad. I couldn’t find any clarity. I just didn’t know why I felt this way. Every part of me seemed to be shaken. I even lost the words to pray.

Depression was not new to me; I have struggled with it for as long as I can remember. Sometimes I could name the triggers, like when my Father passed away, but for the most part I couldn’t. There were times when I was on top of the world, when I had everything that I wanted and before I could enjoy the fruits of my labor – , “Good Morning Heartache, here we go again.”

That night in my den, it all came to a crashing head. I didn’t care about all that was going wrong. I didn’t care that Jon just lost his job. I didn’t care that our car got repo-ed or that we were about to lose our house because of a scam. I knew that those things really weren’t at the root of my pain. And to be honest, I knew we would survive. I had been chasing things and status (if you want to call it that), because I thought those were the things that would make me feel complete – make me feel better about my self. Ease the feelings of dissatisfaction and inadequacy. That night I realized the truth was that it didn’t matter what I had or didn’t have. What I lacked was an understanding about myself. That is why I cried out, “I cannot live like this. I don’t care about houses or cars or things. If things never change for me – I want to be satisfied. I just want to be able to lay my head on my pillow in peace. God show me…ME.”

I got up from that prayer. I wiped my tears. I climbed our creaky steps into my orange- supposed to be terra cotta bedroom and I went to sleep. At least I tried. I tossed and turned as usual and woke up just as drained and sad as the night before. But a seed was planted. A truth that quietly, but steadily pushed through over the course of the next seven years.

Every major event, every challenge, every tragedy and success showed me who I was. I both loved and hated the journey. Facades and pretenses I didn’t even realize existed were being chipped away, like a sculptor chips away at a cold hard formless block of marble or ice. Yet, as the fa├žades and pretenses, and every thing big or small that really didn’t express who I was fell away,  a pretty strong, smart and resilient woman started to emerge. The funny thing – she wasn’t a stranger to me at all. I knew her well. She was all the dreams I had as a girl - dreams that had all grown up. Dreams about music,writing and beauty. Dreams about love, family and friendship. I have it all.

I was never broken and I was never lost. The whole complete me was always there, I just needed to be re-discovered. I just needed to remember.

Life re- introduced me to myself.  I thank God for it every single day.

Photo Courtesy of Dan: Please visit if you would like to see more.


  1. CJ, I think that we all have our own struggles with depression at some level. The fact that you were able to rise up and face it as well as understand it shows what a strong women you are. It seems that your prayers were answered.

    Nicely written.

    PS: It sounds as though we had very similar fathers!

  2. CJ- moving post! Those raw emotional moments are where the writing is...we just have to be willing to go there. God is amazing...and he hears in those pleading moments the willingness to be be seen. Beautiful...

  3. Amazingly honest and moving as always. I feel that it is so important for those of us who struggle with depression to be open about it - and let others know our own path.

  4. It took a lot of courage for you to share that with us - thank you for talking about it.

  5. Wow. so much of this post i could have written myself. I'm glad I've discovered your blog and thank you for sharing your story.

  6. Thanks guys! I really appreciate the comments. GG - Loved your Blog - The Write curl... We could be twins!

  7. Thanks CJ! I was totally sucked in when I saw the name of your blog and tagline. And then when I read the post, I was just floored because I felt every single word of it. I love finding kindred souls in the blogosphere :)