"I don't like this feeling," I tell her, "I don't want to 'sit with the tension,' I want to fix it, make it go away."
She nods - understanding, not agreement - and I want more than anything for her to tell me the magic cure, the one that will erase the struggle and stitch my broken, fractured self back together. But I know that she doesn't have that kind of power.
From one day to another, I seem to exist somewhere between worlds, drifting from Life to Death to Life again. I am making solid strides towards staying in the realm of LIFE, eating my food and weight restoring and taking my medication and going to therapy, but I am not at all convinced.
I have been toying with the idea of hope lately, tossing it around, tasting it on my tongue. I certainly don't feel hopeful, but the idea of hope is a tiny bit more tolerable now than it has been before. But my mind runs ahead: what if it all falls apart - what if I choose hope and trust and step out into the world holding tightly to a naive faith that things will work themselves out - what if it all shatters to pieces? Everything about the future seems impossibly big and uncertain and scary. Am I supposed to blindly believe things will be okay in the end?
All of the destructive messages I've ever received seem to live in my marrow, my bones ringing with YOU DON'T DESERVE TO EAT / TO BREATHE / TO BE as I stare at the plate of food in front of me.
"What is true for you, Lindsay?" she asks me,"Not them, not what they taught you or what they believe. What is true for you?"
I close my eyes.
Me, in front of a crowd singing and happy and very much alive.
I open my eyes.
What is my truth? The darkness and self-hate are true. They feel true. They must be true. What is my truth? I DON'T KNOW, I want to scream. I JUST DON'T KNOW ANYMORE. Or maybe, a more terrifying answer, is that I DO, in fact, know but I am simply too scared of what it means: I'm not sure if I can be okay with not hating myself. I am not sure I can navigate the unknown of a world in which I am not less-than.
But living in a state of constant self-denial and prostrating myself before the gods and repenting on my knees for my very existence - is that how I want to spend my life?
The answer comes out easily, like a heavy sigh, like I've been waiting to say it for a long time.
Today the depression hangs heavy and I barely have energy to get out of bed. Today I am not strong, today I am not determined. Today I am clinging to my safety valve, fantasizing about the end, because I am scared and I am tired and my brain chemistry is not functioning well.
It feels so counterintuitive that to get out of this suffocating darkness, aside from nourishment and taking medication, I am going to have to start living my truth. That the despair looms larger and more ominous when I live in the truths other people have placed on me: broken / dirty / sinful.
And this is going to hurt, digging these words out of my bones / prying out years of pain. But it can't be worse than the pervasive numbness of depression, it can't be worse than the energy-sapping weight that makes every feat seem like a Herculean task. It can't be worse than what it is now.
I am desperate, so I'm willing to try this thing, this "finding what's true for me" thing, this "working on not hating my self quite as much" thing.
I am still somewhere between worlds, still a skeptic of Life with a Capital L, a girl tip-toeing carefully around the idea of hope and fully noncommittal on the recovery thing. But I am desperate, so I am willing.