sleeping with the light on.

Some nights you sleep with the light on. 

Some days are followed by nights that demand more than a metaphorical light piercing the darkness. So you leave the light on. A tangible weapon to defend yourself from the darkness that threatens to overtake you. 

Tonight I sleep with the light on. 

Bombs dropping. Children murdered. Cities in uproar. Lives being taken by hands of others and lives being taken by our own hands. 

Oh God, it’s dark. 

And as much as I would like to stand up against it all as a beacon of hope…tonight, I cannot. 

Headlines are one thing. Reminding you over and over how everything seems to have gone to hell. It’s a whole other thing to see the demons staring back at you in the mirror. Depression stole another {prominent} life this week. And you heard about it. Chances are your phone buzzed multiple times letting you know that a life was no more. And we wept. And rightly so. It is a tragedy. 

But. What doesn’t make the front page of your newspaper are the not so prominent ones who choose to take their lives each day. Your phone doesn’t buzz. Video montages are not readily available. No one dedicates a twitter feed. And you don’t see a slew of Facebook/twitter/tumblr/Instagram posts proclaiming that the world “lost one of its most beloved artists and beautiful human beings.”

I sat in my car tonight, alone, and I thought about my story. My name would never make CNN or Foxnews or your Facebook timeline. But my story isn’t that much different. Depression is a relentless bastard. Caring not of tax brackets or job title. He doesn’t give a flip about how many movies you have made or how well you manage your home. He lies and cheats and steals. He steals your hope. Your joy. Your sense of direction. He leaves you feeling trapped and suffocated and alone. And after he has whispered those lies for a good long while, he whispers that there is a way out and all too often we choose to believe him. Because, honestly, we just want the shit in our heads to stop. 

So. Tonight I leave the light on. 

It’s the only thing I have right now to combat the darkness.

It’s the only thing I have to tell the whispers – the lies – to stop. 

I leave the light on because the headlines are too much and the despair is so heavy. 

I leave the light on because, while I cannot be a beacon of hope, I believe one still exists. And this lamp is just a reminder. 

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six months.

Dear You,

Today is the day. Well, I guess there won’t ever be THE day. But this is definitely one for the books. Today is day one-hundred-eighty-two. Today is twenty-six weeks. Today is six months.

Some people might say that I am celebrating. But the truth of it is that we are celebrating.

Choosing life always sounds so simple. And sometimes it is. But then there are times where the right step is the blurry step and the right choice is the hardest one. I remember talking to you in those days before. “If I don’t walk away from this – it will kill me” I told you, knowing full well that playing with fire sends you home burned. “Take one step. Just one step. I’ll be here for the first one and for each one after it.”

I had been self harming almost consistently since I was 11 years old – more than half my life. The motivation for walking away was not “I want to be obedient to what God has called me to” or “I don’t want to keep running to things that will never satisfy” or “I want to be faithful even though I am so so tired and I don’t think I can do this.”

My motivation was simply this – I don’t want to die right now.

Sometimes, I guess, that is enough.
So, I packaged up the far-too-many razor blades I possessed and painted a picture.

“I will have JOY in the Lord. I will be glad in the God who SAVES me. the Lord is my strength.”

The envelope, filled with cisterns that can hold no water, was taped to the back of that painting.
It was shipped off for safe keeping.
And then I cried.

On day eight I texted saying there was no way I would make it to day nine.

On day twenty-three I pocketed a razor blade swearing that it was the last day I was going to count.

On day forty-nine you called me out for believing lies and I was adamant that I would never talk to you again.

On day one-hundred-twenty-six there was a feast. We celebrated making it that far. We told stories. We raised our glasses. And we made dessert.

On day one-hundred-fifty-four I realized that it was really only day one-hundred-forty-seven. I resigned myself to defeat and convinced myself there was no point to move forward.

Then day one-hundred-fifty-four came back around. And we celebrated it again.

On day one-hundred-sixty-six we had breakfast and dreamed about celebrating six months.

Day one-hundred-seventy-three we both raised our fists against the darkness. We longed for light and were determined to fight for it.

So today, on this day, I want to say thank you. I raise my glass to those who have called me on my crap, to those who won’t let me continually shut down or check out. I want to give a shout out to those who refused to walk away, to those who have stayed up way past their bedtime to remind me of who I am and whose I am. I am grateful for the truth you have spoken over me. I am grateful for the texts and emails and Facebook chats.

If you come across those today who are walking a hard path would you tell them a few things for me? Would you encourage them to be faithful and obedient to what God is asking of them?

I am familiar with the shaking hands and the weak knees and I would still say that choosing life is worth it. You will doubt almost everything and that is okay. Relax into the doubt. You won’t drown, I promise. Chances are you are going to fail at some point. Maybe not outright, but in little ways. That’s okay too, get back up. You aren’t alone. There will be times when you will be so tired you will think your body is actually failing you…don’t give up. Keep walking. The road is dusty and tiresome, but one thing it is not is empty.

Trust that God is a good father. His heart is kind toward you.

So, on day one-hundred-eighty-two, I raise my glass to hope.

Here’s to day one’s.
Here’s to longing for light.
And here’s to a hope that does not put us to shame.

I’m with you and for you.

All my love,
Alison

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