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2016 sucks.  It really really does.

Earlier this year, I lost a friendship.  I wrote about it and was sure that it was the right thing to do.  Later on, I felt guilty about it and as I looked back with 20/20 vision, I realized that it probably wasn’t the right thing to do.  I loved my friend and she loved me … and to leave it like that was not good.  We both deserved better than that.

So the friendship was rebuilt.  We started talking again. We laughed.  We joked. We loved. We were trying to get back to where it was.

We failed.

And ever since then, I’ve been trying to change something. I’ve tried to figure out where I failed her. I’ve tried to figure out how to get back to where we were.  Tried going through the motions of going to musicals, to joking about the craziness of this world, posting Joe Biden memes, bitching about the Jaycees, cheering on Michigan and WMU football.

She traveled to the JCI World Congress in Quebec and I lived it through her vicariously.  She was having a great time and she was smiling (something she hadn’t done in a long long time).  I was happy for her.

And I was miserable.  Not being there with her made me feel lost and alone. I felt a distance growing between us because we failed.  She knew we had failed. I knew we had failed.

I just didn’t want to accept it.

But I thought I saw a glimmer of hope for our relationship. I thought that if we could just keep on laughing and acting like things used to be that our relationship would get repaired and we would be OK.

But we’re not OK.  Not even close.

I have to accept that, for her, I am an albatross.  I’m nothing that is good for my friend.  She’s accepted that, I think.

But I haven’t.

I also have to accept that for me, she is an albatross.  I have to let her go or I’m not going to survive.

And so, I’ve hit a huge trigger in my depression.  I haven’t felt this bad since last year when I attempted suicide.   Throw in the stress of the office politics and lack of appreciation in my professional world that I’ve been having to deal with everyday for the last two years, I am really at the edge.

The good thing, I’ve peered over the edge last night and walked back from thinking I should try again. A lesson learned from last year showed me how unhelpful that is.

But the scary thing for me is … I looked over the edge.  I have to stop that. I have to stop thinking that is an answer.

A long time ago, someone asked “Why have you hidden yourself behind a wall? Why won’t you let people in? Why have you closed yourself off?”  At the time, I didn’t realize that I had built a wall.

And so I let it down.  Brick by brick.

And it was good. I felt loved. I felt supported. I felt like I was finally alive.

I also was starting to really get hurt. My level of protection from my depression was gone.  I no longer was numb to the pain that had been with me all along. The spiraling really started.  Small at first, presenting itself in becoming easily frustrated at video games and sports. Then it grew, into restlessness. Into a desire to be seen, to lead, to be loved.  So I started to move forward in the Jaycees. I was on the state board and I was going places.

But when I fell short, when I failed the depression grew more until it developed into something that was dangerous. Something that led to a place of hopelessness.  It grew into something that wouldn’t let me accept failure.  It became something that forced me to find other people who were in pain and to find a way to help them … even to my own detriment.  Because if I could help them stop the hurt, I would find the way to stop hurting.

And when I failed to help, it made me feel worthless and undeserving of forgiveness and love.  It left me in the dark place full of despair and longing.  That’s where I am now … again.

I can’t stay here. I can’t live like this anymore.  I. Just. Can’t.

I’ve become really good at faking it. I’m good at posting jokes on social media, and keeping a smile on when I’m lunching with other people. I’m good a deflecting … I’m a pro at that. Maybe that can be the foundation for a new wall.  I’m good at keeping people from seeing how much I can’t breathe anymore, from seeing how much pain I am in.

But I’m getting tired and I don’t think I can go on anymore doing that.

So it’s time to rebuild my wall. It’s time to build a wall that is tall and strong. One that surrounds my heart and is impenetrable.  I need a wall that is built of concrete and steel. One that will withstand rain, wind, and all the other things that people send me.  Both good things and bad things.

I want a wall that won’t let hurt in.  I want a wall that won’t let love in.  I want a wall that will let me be all alone.  This wall will also keep me from reaching out.  A wall that keeps others out and keeps me in.  I want a wall that will protect me both from others and from myself.  Seal up my heart so I no longer care about my fellow man.  Keep me distant so I don’t have to find a way to make things better for others.

A wall that will just let me be.  A wall that will give me

Solitude.

Silence.

Numbness.

I’ve asked God to take me away so many times this year and He has not given my deliverance.  I asked Him again last night.  In fact, I asked Him everyday this week.

He refused.

So if He won’t let me leave, then I’ll build a fortress so strong that no one will be able to shake me ever again.

If I can get back to that place … if only … before it’s too late.

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