New years are times I find scary. As we, as a house, lit sky lanterns and let them go into the skies, to see in the new year, I was trembling. With cold, for sure, but also fear. Fear, because, as last year, and for several other years in my adult life, I am not convinced that I can face the challenges that I know lie ahead of me, and am even more afraid of the wilderness of unknowing lying in September and beyond. I have no idea where I will be this time next year.
This uncertainty is not unfamiliar. I’ve been here before. But each time, it feels renewed in vigour, and strength, and impossibility. The challenges seem less surmountable. This time, as I waited for the year to turn, my mind urged death. Told me that I could not face the year ahead. That I would not survive the challenges of the therapeutic community – and even if I did – life challenges would be too much – and I would be leaving TC with several death sentences (read: PD diagnoses) anyway. Every medical problem henceforth “imagined” on my part; deferred to poor mental health. Such is the stigma: I would be leaving labelled ‘untreatable’, ‘awkward’, ‘nuisance’. Why bother?
These days, I find it hard to sleep. I do get to sleep – eventually – and then have no will to get out of bed in the morning. So morning turns to afternoon, as my mood sinks below the sun. Sometimes, I cry. Mostly, I cannot. I am too rubbish to be useful to anyone. Anything else is an exhausting act.
What are you looking for? Jesus asked his disciples.
What do you hope for in 2018? I asked the congregants on Sunday.
Some kind of trust that I can do this, in God’s strength, if not my own. Trust that death is not a better choice than facing what lies ahead of me. Patience to see the therapy through to its conclusion. Hope that it will be worth the pain that I am in, that there is a life worth living beyond it. Trust that this is going to be OK in the end. God sends a rainbow over the playground. Maybe it will be OK, this year, as I am learning and growing, to be me.