Into focus

I wrote this post last week. I’m publising it now because I want to start the new year fresh, ready to move forward. I’m still working through things, but by writing about them I feel I can set a new course with a definite place to anchor my thoughts. I’m doing a lot of personal writing with pen and paper now.  I feel quite torn about my writing and where I plan to take it. In the short time that has passed I’ve missed blogging and at the same time not. There are moments when I feel a strong urge to write here and others when I feel like it’s time to move on.  I’m making no commitments, to this place or to myself. I’ll just continue to do what feels right day by day.


I felt a flash of optimism today. Actually it announced itself like a flash, but steadied itself quickly into a flickering light. There it was, dancing calmly in front of me, small, but resolute and strong. With it comes clarity, the kind of clarity that comes with a new set of glasses, the of life finally vibrant and crisp.

Because I wasn’t expecting it, it felt delicious and wondrous.

When you start to come out of a dense fog, the glint of transparency seems to sparkle brilliantly. You reflect and realize how overcome your life was by sadness and despair. The new clarity stands completely juxtaposed to the more familiar grey oppression, tantalizing with the freshness of a sunny spring day. For a short time, I reveled in it and was reminded how good life could feel.

When I first fell into my personal abyss and realized that I would need medication to help me out of the sludge of my mind, it wasn’t long before I started to feel better. Within a week the haze started to life, my energy slowly rebounded, my heart’s cadence slowed to a more manageable rhythm.

Now, many weeks later, I believe I may actually be getting better. I’m more myself than I have been in a very long time. It feels like the return of an old friend who you didn’t even realize you had missed, the familiarity bringing a new sensation full of ripe possibilities.

It’s very difficult to describe how pervasive my depression was. Now with clarity, comes the benefit of hindsight and a feeling of sadness for the self who was lost for so long and all that was missed because of it. I feel like whole pockets of the past couple of years have been taken from me, particularly the last 5 or 6 months.

I’m told this is common, that when people begin to feel better they recognize that the struggle was there far longer than they ever knew. The slide was gradual of course, but it was deep. I think that’s the true horror of this illness—how it squeezes a person’s wellbeing in the most secretive way, so that it’s not obvious to the one who matters most—yourself. 

But here’s what I now know. At the beginning of this year I set out to find myself. In the process I completely lost myself. Now I believe this is exactly what was supposed to happen.

Until recently I fought it, refusing to allow myself to be lost. That is precisely where the sadness and confusion came from. I was afraid to let go and just be. I thought self-understanding came like an achievement, something to reach. Like a place of souls. When all along it was inside me—right now—right here.

It seems cliché, but I really did need to lose myself before I could truly find myself.

I was so blind I almost missed itI floundered and sputtered and practically snuffed out my own breath in a desperate attempt to discover something that didn’t exist.

A self beyond myself.

So here I am, trying this realization on for size and reminding myself to breathe in the simplicity of a live lived each day. This very moment. Consciously reminding myself, as I do so often with my children—stop, breathe, focus. I feeling my thoughts and allow them without judgment. Testing it out, learning it.

Simple, and yet so hard. Practicing. 

Acknowledging that what I feel is real and okay. And then moving on. Deeper. But within the self who I already am.


29 thoughts on “Into focus

  1. Katrina says:

    “When people begin to feel better they recognize that the struggle was there far longer than they ever knew.” This line – and much of this post – resonated with me. After 15 years of struggling through long NE winters, I finally started medication (last winter). I really hadn’t realized how long & how deep the despair had been…

  2. Stacia says:

    “Stop. Breathe. Focus. Simple, and yet so hard.”

    So hard indeed. For all of us. Glad to find your voice here today. Hugs.

  3. Amber says:

    This is very profound. Thank you for writing it and sharing it.

    I’m glad you’re seeing it clearly, although I’m sorry that it’s bringing you some pain. I understand it, though.

    To a better year ahead!

  4. Love you, brave Christine! I’m glad the fog is gradually beginning to lift. xo

  5. Ellie says:

    Oh, Christine. I relate to everything you say – and your writing is just gorgeous.

    I totally understand the difference between feeling better and getting better – and you articulate it so well here.

    I’m glad you’re having better days. In my experience the combination of surrender, asking for help and talking about it can lead to wondrous miracles. Keep on keeping on. I’m thinking of you.



  6. ShannonL says:

    Nice to read your words, my friend. So, so glad you are making progress! xo

  7. Kate says:

    You write so well about feelings which are difficult to grasp, let alone name. I’m glad there is more light!
    Today, the sun peeked out from a gloomy sky, casting the most beautiful light I have seen in ages. I felt transported, but really, I was finally here. Just here.

  8. Bumby says:

    It is good to have you back. Keep um coming 🙂

  9. Rudri says:

    Nice to read your words Christine. I hope that the fog continues to lift. xoxo

  10. Justine says:

    Oh I’ve missed you! And I’m so happy to see that the fog is lifting for you too (albeit in a different manner). Isn’t it amazing when you start to feel more like the person you WANT to be again? Christine, I smiled at this post as I saw and felt the clarity that you feared had evaded you about your own life coming back to you. May you continue on this path to the part of you that you’ve been searching for, and I’ll be right by your side the entire way. Virtual presence still counts right? 🙂

  11. I’m glad that you are back, even if it’s only for a moment. I just had to stop by and say that I think finding yourself is a constant search. We’re always growing, morphing, changing. If we ever truly find ourselves, then we’ve stopped growing. So I truly hope that you don’t ever find yourself, but that you discover some pretty awesome things about you along the way.

  12. Shawna says:

    Coming out of the fog is a vision all of its own. You’ve earned this reprieve from your pain. Thank you for sharing your journey with us, including the move back into wellness. Wishing you only the best.

  13. Soyon says:

    I just happened to get on to your site. I wanted to say, the writing was lovely and expresses so well what many of us go through and have gone through. Coming out of a recent funk myself, I didn’t realize how much it had been affecting me, how pervasive it was, until I started coming out of it. I hope you can continue to find clarity, simplicity and can bring yourself back to the moment. It does require practice and it is hard.

  14. I’m so glad you’re feeling better, and seeing the light at the end of that tunnel, so to speak. I can’t say I can relate on the level you’re describing, but I certainly know how your mind can hold you captive, and how helpless it can feel. Here’s to a great 2011!

  15. Leslie says:

    The way you describe depression here – “how it squeezes a person’s well being in the most secretive way” – is profound. I’m glad you’re finding meaning in both what’s lost and found. I think the feeling that things – even very sad or difficult things – were supposed to happen is a gift. I hope it continues to be a lantern for you as the tunnel becomes a path.

  16. Sweetyflagia says:

    Hi ms christine…Ive been depressed too at some point of my life..And i can tell now after that experience,,,ull never taste how sweet life is until uve tastes how bitter it was..I know God is looking out there for u..Hes jsut there on every situation ur in..More strength and courage..I adore ur writing..Profound and with a lot of substance..Its easy to write about good things and harder writing about ourselves and the difficulties we are going through.~~Godbless us^^

  17. Life is all about practicing, isn’t it? Your words are honest and brave, as always. And I think it is good, so good, that you are refraining from making commitments to this blog and to yourself right now.

  18. Jack says:

    The hardest moments in my life have often been longer than I realized. I have always thought of them as feeling a bit like an anaconda was trying to squeeze me to death.

  19. ck says:

    This is so inspiring, Christine. Having “traveled” much of this journey with you through your words, I am filled with hope. Not only for you, but for people close to me who are considering the idea of dealing with their depression. Thank you so much for sharing all of this.

  20. Kate says:

    You seem to be a brave person . I wish you a happy year ahead !
    Here’s a fun test –
    Are you keeping your promise that you made at the beginning of the year?

  21. Christine, you are an amazing writer. I’m so glad you shared this but totally respect and acknowledge your need to take the blogging thing day by day.

  22. hyacynth says:

    I’m so glad you are getting better. I can only imagine that it’s quite the road. Thinking of you, friend.

  23. Beautifully said, Christine!

    I am sure you will help many with this post. Persons who live with depression need stories such as yours to know that depression is a transitory state.

  24. […] can easily be experssed. I’m ready to see it go, and equally ready to face a new year with a new enthusiasm for life. I see goodness ahead. I feel more confident than I have in a long time. A welcome place to end […]

  25. denise says:

    Oh, I’ve been behind and was just so overjoyed to see in my reader that you’d posted.

    So proud of you. So happy to read your words. Sending many, many virtual hugs, smiles of understanding and my own hand, which, as you know, also weathered this storm. xxoo

  26. Kelly says:

    Love this post. It’s hopeful yet honest. It makes me wonder how many lives would be completely turned around if they could find this clarity.

  27. “Now with clarity, comes the benefit of hindsight and a feeling of sadness for the self who was lost for so long and all that was missed because of it.”

    It’s so true, what you quoted by Mary Karr in your latest post. And for me it has a lot to do with grieving. I haven’t stepped into the light and just easily felt better. I’m adjusting and transforming and that’s painful too. And so is being sad over the period(s) of time when I was gone.

    All that to say I understand. And also. I think you’re amazing.

    Merry Christmas!

  28. The hardest moments in my life have often been longer than I realized. I have always thought of them as feeling a bit like an anaconda was trying to squeeze me to death.

  29. […] delight at the dawn of a new year will come as no surprise. The sense of feeling new and fresh and starting over is intense and important to me this year. It’s fitting that 2011 begins with a […]

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