I’m sitting in the campus starbucks. I’m surrounded by people– it’s currently packed, at least packed for a Sunday afternoon. Lots of people chatting around me, some doing homework quietly. Some I know, and I wave a hello to them.
I am surrounded by people. Yet I have never felt so alone.
I have so many people around me constantly– friends, neighbors, RAs; tripmates, classmates, professors; campus ministers, mentors, counselors.
Yet still, I have never felt this alone.
I’m sitting here, in a crowd of people, overwhelmed by loneliness. And I don’t know how to fix it.
I’ve surrounded myself with friends– going to dinners and events and reunions of the like. Yet still, I feel alone. Like I’m walking through a fog and no one can see me in the midst of it.
I’m surrounded by people that love me, that support me and constantly help me. Yet I feel none of that right now. And it scares me.
Friends constantly ask, “how are you?” or “how’s it going?”
On a good day, I’ll say I’m fine. It’s fine. when in reality, there’s nothing fine about how life is or how I’m feeling right now. There’s nothing good or okay about how I feel like I’m being swallowed whole by life. There’s nothing okay about how apathetic I am towards life right now, or how terrified I am of the future. There’s nothing good about feeling so alone in the crowd of people.
On the worst of days, I say I’m surviving. I’m making it. Which is true, but not. I’m floundering, badly. I’m barely treading water, keeping my head above the waves that I’m being hit by. I’m making it, but only by the grace of God and the skin of my teeth. I’m only scraping by barely, and every day I wonder if it’s the day I’m finally going to fall off the ledge this season is pushing me off of.
Despite it all, I smile and say hello when people ask how I’m doing, knowing that inside of me it’s dark and sad and I’m falling apart at the seams. No one sees the sad. No one sees the ugly. Because I don’t let them. I’m scared if people see how I’m actually doing, they’ll run. Or they won’t know what to do. (a hug and a listening ear work wonders, in case you don’t know). Sometimes I feel like I could text people and tell them how I’m feeling and ask for help, but the loneliness and depression whisper in my ear that people won’t care. Or people won’t take it seriously. Or people won’t know what to do about it. Or people won’t want to help, don’t want to hear about my problems.
So I stay silent, letting myself fall further off the ledge.
Today, I was reading the lectionary scriptures for this week in my SOD planner. The Psalm for the week was Psalm 30. Because of course it was. God has an incredible sense of humor, I tell ya.
Psalm 30 tells us that the weeping may last for the night, but the joy comes in the morning.
Many times during this mental hell I’ve been comforted by this Psalm– this reminder that God restores us from the pit, that hope will come. But right now, I don’t find comfort in it. Because I don’t know how much I believe it. And I prayed as such. Right now, I can’t find the hope. I can’t see the joy in the morning because this dark night has lasted so long it’s all I know. I want to believe that I’ll get out of this pit and be restored, but right now it’s impossible for me to see.
Today, I’m sinking slowly. And I don’t know how to pull myself back up above the water.