#depressionis… awake at 4am

#depressionis... awake at 4amI gave up. Shoved back the yellow comforter. Stumbled to the bathroom.

My eyes did not want to be open. But my brain would not. stop. spinning.

Got back in bed…

Now it’s creeping on toward 5am. I should be asleep. But I’m not. Can’t sleep. Can’t sleep. Can’t sleep. So tired.

I had a bad dream. The details aren’t important. Well… they are important… as they reveal the deep-seated inadequacy I just can’t shake. But you don’t need the details right now.

I’m so tired. Can’t sleep…

There’s some kind of pollen in the air. Stuffing my nose, so I feel like I’m not getting quite enough air. Swelling my eyes and making them water a bit, so I feel like I’ve been on a crying jag. My weepy eyes even feel like I am crying. Feeling the evidence of sadness on my face, I feel sad. Sadder. Part of me wants to cry for real. But I’m too tired.

So, yes, I woke from a bad dream. And I couldn’t get it out of my head.

I picked up my phone. I know, I know; no electronics in bed!

I read an article someone suggested to me. Someone who doesn’t know me. Someone who obviously knows how to drive traffic to her site better than I. I won’t be thanking her.

If I didn’t feel inadequate enough already.

How easily shame finds us in the wee hours we can’t sleep…

The article was about written by a woman who suffers from horrible depression and anxiety, “the evil twins birthed by PTSD” as she calls them. I appreciate her sharing the horrors she went through as a child and a teen. I appreciate her being vulnerable in her trauma. I really do. And I should thank her for that.

But I felt condemned.

The refrain: I am mentally ill but it’s not my fault.

That is such a powerful, good truth for her to hold onto. Nothing she was put through was her fault. Her mental illness left in the wake of abuse is not her fault.

But what about me?

Once again reading, and reviewing, Ken Mansfield’s Stumbling on Open Ground made me think about how little I’ve suffered.

Reading this post made me think about how little I’ve suffered.

So what’s my excuse?

Why am I so broken? Why do I get lost in the darkness, panic over nothing, get overwhelmed at just the thought of going to the grocery store alone, feel like I’m doing something wrong if I go out in public by myself…

It seems my darkness is all out of proportion to what I’ve been through.

I don’t deserve my despair. Not in the I’m-a-good-person-why-do-I-deserve-this? sense, but in the where-do-you-get-off-being-such-a-mess-when-you-don’t-know-real-suffering?!? sense. I haven’t been hit hard enough to be shattered the way I am, doubting I’ll ever have all the shards back in place.

I’m tired. Can’t sleep.

So here I sit. In the glow of my laptop.

Dawn is creeping in. Birds were singing morning songs, but they’ve moved somewhere I can’t hear them. Maybe to the other side of the house where the bird feeders are.

It’s 5:37.

My alarm will go off at 6:30.

I want to go back to sleep.

I’m so tired.

I’m so far behind. There is no area of my life in which I am caught up. And I need some sleep. Because lack of sleep makes the fuzzy-brainedness worse. And it’s so much harder to function because I forget so many things. It’s almost impossible to keep everything straight. If I don’t look at my calendar repeatedly throughout the day, I forget to go places. I’ll have multiple things going at once. Because I get distracted and forget I’m in the middle of something and start something else…

My eyes are drooping. Writing can do that to me. Sometimes the images that dance are inviting…

God is God, even when I can’t sleep

I’d like to say that I’m one of those people who, when awakened in the middle of the night and unable to quickly go back to sleep, uses the time for prayer and has awesome sessions of intercession and alone time with God.

But I’m obviously not.

When I can’t sleep, it’s usually because I can’t stop thinking.

It’s not that I don’t try to pray… I’m just too easily distracted by all the noise in my head.

My lack of success is no reason to quit trying.

Sometimes I read the Bible, and now that I have the free Kindle app for Android, I can read on my phone… which kind of goes against my no-electronics in bed advice – the trick is to not do anything but read, turn the display as dim as possible before I go to sleep (just in case), and set the book page setting to black. I just started Sheila Walsh’s The Longing in Me: How Everything You Crave Leads to the Heart of God. So far, so good. I’ll be reviewing it soon. I’m once again a BookLook Blogger.

God is God, even when I can't sleep. #depression #insomnia Click To Tweet

How about you?

What do you do when you wake when you should be asleep and can’t get back to sleep?

Do you seek distraction when your brain spin, spin, spins?

Are you one of those people who can naturally connect with God in the night? Have you learned the habit? Or, like me, are you someone who would like to learn to let go and make the habit?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

And if you’d like to share a story of what #depressionis to you, get in touch!

It really is a great post…

The post I read really is a great post. Here’s a link: I’m Mentally Ill, but It’s Not My FaultAnd I do thank Tammy Perlmutter. That’s a post that took a whole lot of courage. Check out the rest of the blog: The Mudroom.

9/20/16 update: I recently read Gillian Marchenko’s Still Life. It captures so well what it’s like in a depressed mind, the reality that is difficult to articulate. I recommend it to any reader of Fruit of Brokenness, to anyone who struggles with depression and seeks hope, to anyone who wants to understand where a loved one disappears during the bad times. Gillian didn’t suffer any major traumas in her growing-up years, yet suffers from major depressive disorder and dysthymia. You don’t have to wait for my review… Check it out now!

How easily shame finds us in the wee hours we can't sleep... Click To Tweet


This post is part of Gracefully Overcoming‘s Testimony Tuesday Linkup! Care to add your story of how God is working in your life?


8 thoughts on “#depressionis… awake at 4am

  1. I am so fed by reading the honest posts and heart deep shares here. Thank you Melinda and all the ladies that have responded. It has been a very busy week for me but company left yesterday and hubby left for 2 more weeks in Virginia so it is Claudia and Herbie (my Shih Tzu) here with God for the next 2 weeks.
    Sometimes I feel God’s presence, sometimes I don’t but I DO know He is with me whether I “feel” Him or not. Sometimes I must repeat the truth of His Word over and over AND OVER to myself, “I will not leave you nor forsake you” and sometimes I’m able to fully embrace His truth for me. Then there are the times I just can’t wrap my mind around it. It’s not because there’s something wrong with His love for me, nor is there something wrong with me… though, at times, the lies in my head do try to make me hold on to their ugly whispers. No, It’s because I am weary, I am overextended or I am too long away from thoughts that are lovely, and pure and true and good and eternally secure in basis. If my mind can’t wrap around the truth of who I am in Christ it’s NEVER because God moved… sometimes my mind does.
    During those times I’d like to say I RUN to His Word but I confess that isn’t always the truth. Sometimes I allow myself to swim there because it’s “comfortable”. It used to be my regular position… swimming in self-loathing, that not good enough place of dark muck.
    Somehow, just knowing there are women that, like me, experience the battle and pull up their “big girl pants” and put one foot in front of the other DESPITE the feelings and “voices” gives me strength. Knowing that I do indeed have Dear Ones that may not have walked my exact steps yet still know my path, my heart, my struggles, my insecurities, my fears, my “voices” is a comfort, an encouragement, a light of hope and strength. Though I know, in reality, because I have just recently been led to ‘The Fruit of Brokenness’ none of you really do ‘know me’… yet… I come with an open heart willing and wanting to share my journey, encouragement, strength and hope as well. I thank God for bringing this blog to my awareness and I pray He will allow me the honor of linking arms with you Melinda and ladies to stand strong, stand tall and stand confidently in His grace.

    • Claudia… So glad I caught your comment this morning. Sunday is my unplug day. But I’m “breaking the rule” to cast my daily vote for a friend trying to win a much-needed wheel-chair accessible van. And here this was in my inbox, too… I don’t know what to say… I’m so glad you found your way here. I see that you started a blogging journey, too, but left it… Maybe it’s time to pick it up again? If you do, or you’re THINKING about it, you should join the FB group, Christian Women Bloggers Unite. A fair number of these lovely ladies are part of this group for which I am so grateful. I hope I can continue to encourage you; as you see, I need encouragement, too… And encouraging others encourages me, if that makes sense. I’d be honored to link arms with YOU. God is good… all the time.

  2. This post is beautiful and breaks my heart at the same time. I have on and off struggles with anxiety, and have many sleepless nights. I will pray for you with your struggles…they really are not your fault…..but I know from my own experience that it’s hard to believe that.

    • Thank you, Kori. Guilt and shame are such sneaky little snots that especially like to creep in when I can’t sleep, and only make depression and anxiety worse. It’s funny, not ha-ha, how some days I can feel all “I’ve GOT this!” and others I’m a complete mess. If you struggle with anxiety, you know what I mean. Most days are somewhere in between. Regardless of how in-control of my emotions I’m feeling, God does “GOT this.” Always. I need to be better at remembering that.

  3. Melinda, this is a fantastic post. You perfectly describe insomnia and how it just breeds more panic and shame. Those sleepless nights are a nightmare themselves. I appreciate your honesty so much. This reminds me of a post I wrote for Five Minute Friday a few years ago. The prompt was “What mama gave me” or something like that. As soon as I read it I got angry. I couldn’t relate to all these happy shiny posts about their favorite memories with their mothers. You know my story, so you know my mother gave me nothing but heartache. I was going to protest the prompt by not writing something. But then I was like, “I’m going to write it ANGRY.” And I did. It was brutally honest. I’m so glad you wrote this. I totally understand your thought process of comparing your own symptoms and history and feeling like nothing you’ve gone through is “bad enough” to explain your depression. I go through the same thing. I read stories of people with worse trauma and I feel like my story doesn’t matter. But it does. And so does yours. You don’t need a traumatic experience to “deserve” your depression. Whatever losses and wounds you’ve suffered–size doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter how you “got depression,” what matters is that you give yourself the care and concern you deserve. If you want to talk more, hit me up. I’d be happy to.

    • Thank you, Tammy… My mom stories are a mixed bag. My mom was mentally ill, too. Never properly treated. I know she loved me. But sometimes it was difficult to believe. She was oh, so broken. There are times I miss her and how she was during good times, and wish she could have lived long enough to be a grandma. And there are times I have bad dreams that she’s alive again and my life has to go back to the way it was for a while with her. Yes, we all have stories. And they all matter.

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