The reason I started this blog was to share my thoughts about how wonderful it is for us humans to recognize how much God loves us. Because He loves us, He makes us worthy of His love. Because He is our Father, He makes us worthy of His love. On our own, we are nothing, but with Him we are His Children whom He loves.
Yet, there are moments in life, when I feel the exact opposite. I feel worthless. Whether this is because I am actually depressed or because I am just in a bad mood or feeling lonely, I am feeling pretty worthless.
Having a community of people around you is a great thing. But, when this community doesn’t life you up, that is a bad thing. When the people in the community are each extremely involved with their own lives, it is no longer a community. It is just a collection of people who are forming a mixture but not a compound. These communities are made of many lonely people, where apathy and lack of love pervade and each person does not have much to give to the others. I admit that I, too, am guilty of this. I, too, am guilty of being apathetic towards others and unable to give love. Yet, when I tired to be more giving and more interested in how others are actually doing, I found myself getting lonelier and lonelier. I kept feeling rejected and uncared for. It is funny how people take you for granted when you are kind to them and then they have no problem throwing you to the side. Whether you leave or stay, they couldn’t care any less.
Having a community and feeling rejected and worthless even within that community has got to be one of the hardest feelings a person might feel. When you speak up, you may find a complete stranger coming to you and pretending that they care about your wellbeing and telling you not to keep thinking about what you said. Your response maybe a polite thank you, but from the inside you’re wanting to tell them: 1) you don’t know me. 2) don’t put ideas in my head. 3) I don’t need your pity. 4) You either really care about me as a person or you don’t, so don’t pretend to care as though my struggles are completely foreign to you.
I went to a talk the other day about mental health in the coptic orthodox church. The talk started off well and then took a weird turn. When I found out that there actually are resources for mental health care within our bigger community, I was surprised why these resources don’t become more available for the congregations. The other thing that bothered me about the talk was that the questions and the responses made it seem as though mental health problems are problems that belong to “others” and not any of the people who were sitting listening to the talk. I know for a fact that was not true.
When individuals in the coptic orthodox church bring up the topic of mental health, if it is even brought up, the idea of shame is still attached to it. Regardless of how open minded the speaker might seem, as long as the talk is about “those individuals struggling with mental health problems” no one will really be willing to open up and share.
I did share, though. I shared some of my anger and frustration with the fact that I have no community and no family outside of my immediate family. My words fell on deaf ears.
I think that if we, as Christians, actually lived in connected communities where people care more about each other and less about money and the stock market, less people would have depression and other disorders. It is true that imbalances in chemicals of the brain can lead to depression, but it is also true that human interaction can increase the release of hormones and other chemicals that are actually helpful as antidotes against depression. Close contact with loyal, trustworthy, and warm humans is needed for a person to able to function normally in today’s societies that are extremely high-stress, impersonal, and fast-speed. I think that when we are involved in this fast-paced world and yet go home at the end of the day and still feel lonely, more chemical imbalances take place and depression gets worse.
At any rate, with a feeling of isolation even when in community, a person can begin to feel worthless as though he is rejected (or unacceptable) by others. Not being personally desired or needed by others is a very bad feeling that many people feel today and yet they continue in their daily grind because at least they are good at their jobs, or at least they can provide for their families, or at least they have the material things they want. Lack of love creates an endless cycle of apathy, self-hate, people-hate, and, eventually, depression.
I have met many people who have many things in life. Yet, they feel worthless. Some of them are brave enough to voice this out and share it, but some of them act like it and never share it. The ones that hide this feeling are at greater risk of becoming a fixed part of that cycle of apathy, self-hate, people-hate, and depression. They hide their feelings because they think that they are better than feeling that way. They are better than feeling that they need people. They are better than feeling that someone offended them. They are better than confronting the people who offend them. So, they keep the cycle going. They put on a mask and keep on living.
Then, they congregate with others like them who have put on a mask of Okeyness. This mask leaves each and everyone of them empty at the end of the day. It is a mask that hides all the truths of who we are and what we need. We begin to believe that we are meant to be plastic puppets moving around, just doing our jobs, and going home when the day is over. Tomorrow, the show begins again. We put on our best face, because we need to “fake it till we make it.” I don’t know what we are trying to achieve. Trying to live as though you are not alive for enough days, months, and years will eventually make you a zombie – a real life walking dead. Where you know that you are moving, you are actually full of death and not life. You try to chase after what you want with your mask on and then nothing happens, you die.
Did you catch that wind?
There are moments in life, like now for me, when you feel that your chase if meaningless, just like Solomon said. You may have finished school and you’re working or doing something else and there are no clear end-goals in front of you. Because for so long other people have your goals for you, you don’t know what you want any more, so you don’t set goals, and you end up working towards a mesh of nothings.
At this point, I would hope and wish that I can put God and the Kingdom of Heaven as my ultimate goal. Doing this is hard, because now you have no one to support you and no one to cheer you on. You try to set God as your goal and the devil doesn’t sit still. You try to work hard to be with the Only Truth and you find emptiness because you feel alone. Even those who are seeking the same Truth aren’t always there, so you are left alone. Utterly alone and utterly directionless. No one guides you and no one helps you. The one who thought was guiding you, left because he had began to suffocate you. Then another comes along and he lets you do anything you want without any clear direction. So you are left behind lost and confused. You are left behind waiting for something to happen to show you some clarity.
As I write this article, the left side of my chest is aching. This seems dangerous but maybe some good news. This might mean that my freedom is soon to be experienced and end is almost near. How much I wait for that end to come all on its own…