At the beginning of this year, I found myself in a major funk. It was the kind of black fog that I go through at the end of each winter.
As winter draws to a close and my body is desperately craving warmth and sunshine, I find myself slipping into a weather induced, depressive headspace. I could easily spend every and all day under my doona, or my ‘cocoon of depression’ as my husband refers to it.
The funk at the beginning of this year however, was different.
It was a depression of sorts, and there were definitely physiological factors that were a contribution, but this was not a psychological depression, it was spiritual.
Have you ever experienced homesickness?
It’s a really horrible feeling. You feel completely disconnected from the safety of your people and your environment. It’s a desperate longing for the security of familiarity.
This funk I was experiencing was a spiritual homesickness.
I was overwhelmed with the feeling and knowledge that this earth, this temporary flesh, this transitory realm was not my home.
My spirit was desperately longing for a place that my physical body had not been.
There are really no words, however descriptive or beautiful, that could adequately convey the intense pain and longing that I was feeling. The only ones that come remotely close, were written by C.S. Lewis and modified into lyrics by Brooke Fraser;
“If I find in myself desires nothing in this world can satisfy,
I can only conclude that I was not made for here
If the flesh that I fight is at best only light and momentary,
Then of course I’ll feel nude when to where I’m destined I’m compared”
(Brooke Fraser, C.S.Lewis Song)
I guess I’m sharing this experience with you for a few reasons. Firstly it would be to encourage you that; whilst it is rather unhealthy to be totally inward in your thinking, it’s important to get to know yourself, to listen to your thoughts, monitor your emotions. Learn to differentiate them.
When you’re in touch with you, it’s far easier to decipher and track your thinking, to be able to discern and pull apart where the thoughts are coming from, and ultimately take them captive, in other words, not allow them to run free.
When I’m in a rut, it helps me when I ask myself (not always in this order):
1. Is this a physiological thing ie; hormonal, dietary, lack of sleep?
2. Is this psychological? And if so, what’s fuelling it? Am I under emotional stress? Are there unresolved emotions or issues that I’ve attempted to push down?
3. Is this spiritual?
Am I just needing to protect myself a bit more, spend some more time alone with or focused on God?
Am I needing to protect my spirit from people/things that are going to drain, distress or draw too much from me at this time?
It’s not selfish to pull back.
The bible tells us to guard our heart (Proverbs 4:23).
Jesus Himself often went away in solitude or just with His core support group.
I truly believe that He, more than any other human in existence would have experienced this homesickness, and I honestly think that this is what some of His solitary moments were about.
I share my experience also because, if you’re in this headspace right now, this may not be a conversation that’s easy for you to have. It certainly wasn’t for me! In fact it only happened when I was with a trusted friend and had the Dutch-courage-prompting of a few glasses of champagne under my belt. Gasp, she drinks!
Yes I do, cheers.
Even with my liquid courage, this difficult conversation went awkwardly along the lines of…
“Before I say anything, I just want to tell you not to freak out… I’m not going to kill myself, I promise. And I’m not saying I want to die…I’m just saying I don’t want to be here anymore. I feel like I don’t belong.”
Super smooth communication right there!
I just know, I can’t be the only person who’s ever felt like this.
But I am the only person I’ve ever heard talk about it.
This is why I’m sharing it here, publicly, for you.
Maybe you don’t have someone in your life that you can talk with about this sort of thing. Maybe you’ll read this and it will bring you great relief.
I’m sure some of you will read this and feel slightly disturbed, or concerned for my mental state. Honestly, I’m fine.
I’m no longer in that funk. Though, as amazing, blessed, fulfilling and full of love my life is, I’m sure there will be a time, when I’m once again aching and yearning with every fibre of my being to be in the arms of my creator, no longer constrained by my flesh. I don’t and won’t apologise for this.
I recently had coffee with some close friends that I hadn’t seen in a few years. We always end up in deep and philosophical conversations, tackling the big questions that are swirling around our busy minds. As our night was coming to a close, my friend asked a whopper of a question about God. I was incredibly reluctant to share my thoughts, and prefaced them with all manner of disclaimers, because I recognised that my response was not exactly going to be ‘conventional’.
With tears in her eyes, she said;
“I feel so nice. So relieved. That’s exactly where I’m at, and it just feels so nice to know that I’m normal and that someone is in the same headspace.”
HA! Did you catch that? Even if only momentarily, I became someone else’s measuring stick for normal!
How hilarious is that?
Or maybe she’s just as nuts as I am! The thing is, even if it’s the latter, we get to be nuts together!
Not trapped in our confusion, feeling alone.
If it’s the former, then we’re normal together and we’ve bonded over our shared experience and thoughts.
Maybe, the people around you are just waiting for someone brave enough to bare their soul so that they can bare theirs also?
You’ll never know if you never try.
What’s the worst that can happen, you end up looking like a nut? Meh, who cares!?!
I don’t want to brag, but I’m kind of a pro, I’ve got the whole ‘looking nuts’ thing down to an art form. Skills baby, skillz!
Join me, the laughs are plenty, the tears too sometimes. But the rewards of authentic relationship and community are immeasurable!
Hey, you might even end up the epitome of someone else’s normal!