Monday, May 16, 2011

Plastic Smiles


The Valley: Part 1
Many, many months ago, an unwelcome visitor came to reside with me.
She became my constant companion.

She told me I was incapable.
She told me I had nothing of value to offer.
She called me names.
She wrote obscenities on the back of my car.
She taunted me.
She laughed at my ideas.

Her very presence made my body feel weak.

She pulled a dark cloud up over my head and saw to it that it followed me around.

It blocked the sunlight.
It overshadowed my joy.
It surrounded me with a mantle of despair.
It became easier to curl up in the warmth and safety of my bedcovers
than to try and outrun its presence.

Still I ventured out.
With a smile and a prayer.
And I played a part.

Many parts... all with different masks.

A wife
A mother
A sister
A friend
A helpmate in ministry
A teacher
A volunteer
A fieldtrip planner
A Bible study leader
A mentor
A counselor
A singer

The masks began to suffocate me. 
There were tears welled up behind the eyeholes and a frown behind the plastic smiles.

And she was there laughing most of the time.

You have no power over me, I would insist.
Flee from me, in Jesus' name, I would demand.

And she would.

For a while.

She is my enemy.

I have come to know her well.

Her name is

Depression.

And she has a sister.

7 comments:

Jen said...

Oh Linda, I am so sorry. I've been there too. In fact, I was there (but didn't know it at the time) when we first met all those years ago. Turning thirty was a happy day for me because it meant I could say good-bye to my twenties and leave those awful years behind.

Those years were difficult but I learned so much while they challenged me, tested me and ultimately strengthened my faith. God is good.

How can we be praying for you?

The Schmidts said...

You just gave me chills Linda. Praying for you. -Rhiannon

Simply Sara said...

sweet linda.
i have suffocated under those same masks.
you are beautiful.
so very, very beautiful.
thank you for writing through your journey.

praying friend.

Denise said...

i love you.

i've known your visitor too.
known her well.
entertained her.

she blocked the Light.
eventually i entertained more than just depression, i entertained an end.

suffocation does that. not feeling His air in my lungs does that.

BUT i had to walk through the valley of the shadow of death with this visitor, depression.
"even though i go through the valley of the shadow of death, You WILL go with me."
had to go through it... so depression could DIE. so i could live.

surely goodness and mercy will follow (me) you linda, all the days of your life...
may you now dwell in the house (in Him, breathing life into you) of the LORD, God almighty (God of angel armies) forever!

i love you.

Jen in SLO said...

I think more people than you'd suspect are well-acquainted with your visitor and especially Christians are prone to assume that if they were better Christians they wouldn't have this problem, which absolutely isn't true. Thank you for your courage in sharing.

I'm so glad you're blogging again. You have a way with words that is encouraging and uplifting without being preachy or precious.

Tamera Beardsley said...

I know your visitor and I can feel your story.

Susan said...

I'm playing some more catch up. I think we've all been here ~ not claiming to share your pain but I have dealt with anxiety...it just creeps up on you and is so hard to get rid of.
What an amazing post this is.

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