a reason

This is pretty hard for me to write.

I have so many topics lined up to write about, but this past week I’ve just been paralyzed by stress and depression. I’ve been trying to keep a positive mindset amidst everything, I’ve been trying to be productive and tackle my issues head on, but I just can’t seem to pull myself out of this one. I just want to crawl into a hole and sleep my life away.

I take a lot of my time to self-reflect, to think about how to grow, how to get closer to the truth, how to make everything and anything better. And it’s given me a lot of insight that I’m incredibly grateful for. But, in times like these, I can’t help but feel like I’m not allowed to be upset, despite my world feeling crumbling all around me.

It’s not just me anymore. There are people depending on me. I have real responsibilities and things I need to get done. I have to be better, because I need to be better, and I know how to be better.

But that knowledge alone isn’t enough to pull me out.

Being a man of faith in many ways has compounded these feelings. I’m more aware of the human condition, of self-deception and unhealthy coping mechanisms. And I distinctly remember the moments of unbridled clarity and purpose and drive whenever I draw closer to God. I keep belittling myself… maybe if I just had more faith, maybe if I believed more in the things that I preach, then I wouldn’t be in this mess to begin with.

Which is undoubtedly true. To an extent. After this episode, I think there’s more to it than that.

I used to only write in these dark times because I needed to. I needed validation for my feelings. And I’ve produced some pretty beautiful writing as a result. But I’ve concluded that just because something resonates as true, it’s not necessarily the best thing I can create.

Now, whenever I write, I want to have a higher reason behind it. A lesson learned, a challenge, anything with a net positive that someone may be able to take away. And with my earlier writing, I was the main focus. It was all about what I could gain from writing, and anything else was secondary.

So, amidst this crippling depression and anxiety and stress, I thought to myself, what could I really add to this to have some sort of positive take away?

Maybe a reason why I’m writing this, is to just show that it’s okay to not be strong. To recognize that no amount of insight or conclusions we can come up with can change the fact that we’re still flawed human beings. With broken bodies, tainted minds, and hearts of stone. But in spite of the darkness, there’s always the light waiting for us when we’re ready for it.

I’m still here. We’re still here. And if I can keep going, you can too.

March 5, 2020

Josh Swanson