life:filtered

…learning to live a life filtered by the truth of the gospel.

being stable January 18, 2015

Filed under: seriousness — Stephanie @ 2:43 pm
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After a lifetime of ups and downs, riding a roller coaster I never bought a ticket for, I can finally say it: I am stable.

I woke up one morning and realized that I felt good. Not the good that comes from mania, but normal good. I felt normal emotions with ordinary highs and lows. Over time, I realized that the “normal” was sticking around. And that makes me really happy. Because after so long being either in mania or depression, mostly depression, I feel like a human being. No deep darkness, no painful emptiness. No sleepless nights and raging mania. It’s a profound relief that I’m not sure I can describe. It’s like getting off that roller coaster when you hate roller coasters. Like finally crawling into bed after a long day. Like finally holding that baby you’ve carried for nine months. Relief where you close your eyes and sigh because whatever it is, it’s finally over.

It’s a combination of medications and therapy (huge shout-out to my psych nurse and therapist!). It’s striving every day for normalcy. Taking meds every day, going to therapy twice a month. Doing things that make me healthy.

And writing is a therapist prescribed part of my treatment.

So here I am writing. Once again stepping out and shedding light into the darkness. Opening myself up to judgment because of my illness. But I’ve found some things out in the last few months. One, that people are way more supportive than I ever thought. Two, that my mental illness does not define me. Three, that there is Light in the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome it. God has answered my prayer, and the prayers of many others, for rest from the disease I carry.

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for Trip July 30, 2013

Filed under: seriousness — Stephanie @ 6:21 pm
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My cousin has cancer. We grew up together, went to school together, played wiffle ball in the back yard together. Shot basketball at the city park. Marched drum line together.


And now he has cancer. And it sucks. And I’m sad and I admit I don’t really know what to say to him and I’m sure I’ve said the wrong things, but at least I’ve said something.


See, Trip, he’s a big reason I survived high school. Just being his cousin was enough to boost my cool factor but he went beyond that. I remember standing with my lunch tray in the cafeteria, panic bubbling inside as my eyes searched for a seat in the crowded room. Then I’d hear my name and look around. There’d be Trip, grinning at me and motioning me to his already crowded table. He’d pull a chair up right beside him, defiantly squeezing one more chair at a table that was only supposed to seat six. He liked to see how many people he could get around one table and I’m pretty sure he holds the FCHS record. I wasn’t brave enough to sit by myself yet. Did he know that? And he laughed and included me and scratched his ear with his middle finger in my direction. Yeah, it was high school. And his friends followed his lead and I was allowed to join in for a while. To be a part of a laughing group of teenagers cutting up in the lunchroom.


He had my back. And now it’s time for me to have his back.


But I don’t know how.


All I have to give him from 300 miles away is words. So here are my words to you, Trippy.


Thank you. For sharing your candy cane at Christmas. For childhood memories of cheese dogs and soap operas at Mamaw’s and wiffle ball home runs over the old water plant. For games of horse and bike rides around the city park. For always keeping the “kids’ table” interesting (long live Ozzie and the Oysters!). For letting me wear your small fry football jersey to a high school game. For Ale-8s at drum line practice. For always making room for me at the table. For seeing me when I felt invisible. For always laughing that crazy laugh.


And this afternoon I lit some candles and said a prayer—to the God of hopeless causes, the Father of mercies, the God who sees and the God who heals, the God of brilliant lights and the God of all comfort. The one who is always near and who has our back.


If you get there before I do, save me a seat.


I love you, cuz.
PicMonkey Collage

edited to say: rest easy, Trippy Gooding, rest easy. 1974-2013