after midnight

anxiety is a wave – a tsunami

it’s a sneak attack

it comes when i least expect it

it comes when i most expect it, too

if only i could confine it –

one place

one time

one person

one feeling

 

but i cannot confine it

i can only fight it

 

anxiety is a sneak peak of depression

a trailer as frightening as the main event

 

depression is subtle

not a wave or tsunami –

just a little fall of rain

i don’t see it as quickly

sometimes it’s here for weeks,

settling over me like the thinnest layer of dust

barely noticeable

but impacting everything

depression is gentler –

but so much heavier

 

depression is months and months of numb

hiding behind the appearance of “okay”

it crushes everything it touches

but softly, slowly, gently –

creativity

security

compassion

connection

anything that used to be easy –

it breaks me,

gently

 

i wish i could fight it

but i find it hard to identify it

 

anxiety is flashes of orange and red in a spiral in a kaleidoscope constricting holding me down chasing me trapping me

sudden

harsh

it’s being stuck in an elevator with the walls closing in

is the elevator moving anymore?

will it ever move again?

will i be stuck here forever?

how long will forever be?

what will people say about me?

are they whispering behind my back do they know i don’t belong do they know

????

anxiety is a parking garage and i can’t find the way out how is it holding itself up it’s too heavy i’m too heavy it’s all too heavy it’s going to crush me before i find the way out i can’t breathe i can’t think with all this screaming who is screaming will you stop screaming i can’t breathe

 

depression is a shade of gray covering everything i see

all the things that should be technicolor –

gray

 

peace is knowing the moment i’m in is the right moment

the place i’m in is the right place

peace is calm is home is freedom is happiness

yellow and blue in a swirl

sunbeams reflecting off the water

blinding me to the pain I could be feeling at any given moment

a kaleidoscope I have to pick up and choose to look through

a kaleidoscope moving slowly

pulling the best of me out of me

filling me with the best of me

pulling me out of myself

out of my head

until one day,

i realize that i am happy

i have been happy for awhile now

 

peace is gentle, too

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you were never mine to turn into a poem

you were never mine to turn into a poem

 

i’m sorry for all the poems i wrote you

i see now they were never mine to write

 

every single word was true,

but none of it was mine to say

 

i wish you’d told me sooner

i wish i’d known from the first day,

 

that you’d never write a poem for me

i wish you’d told me right away

 

but i think maybe it’s fine

i’ve checked and i’m okay – besides

 

no matter what you should’ve could’ve would’ve said

i would’ve written them anyway

 

change, pain, and some other things 23 taught me

change, pain, and some other things 23 taught me

I used to believe that no one every really changed.

I guess I didn’t understand Jesus then. I didn’t understand the way He can come into a life, overhaul it, start at the roots, and heal every single broken part.

He changes everything.

Last night someone called out positive change in me, and it felt good because I knew it was true. I knew he was right-that I have grown in my leadership skills and in the way I lead myself. It felt weird and strange to accept the compliment and basically say, “Thank you. I know. Thank you for seeing it too.”

God has overhauled me this year. Year 23. (Year 24 actually, but I was 23 so it just makes more sense to call it year 23.) I was numb for part of it. I chased things at 22 that would make me numb, and it worked. It worked for a long time. I didn’t even realize numbness was what I was chasing. I thought I was just having fun.

For the LONGEST time I didn’t realize I was numb.

Then one day I thought about how long it had been since I had cried. I thought about how long it had been since I experienced life in a visceral way. Since I’d experienced strong emotions of any kind. I was talking about feelings and I was feeling for other people and being kind and being empathetic. But I forgot to feel for me.

I began to retrace my steps. I began searching for the source of the shutdown.

God met me when I started asking Him to. He revealed to me that one of my biggest issues is running from my feelings. (I’m basically Chandler Bing except not as funny, k?) I’d rather make a joke than face my pain, and I’m perfectly comfortable doing that.

I took the enneagram, and I found that I was a type 7. Social. Life of the party. Go, go, go! Runs from pain by finding the silver lining. Struggles with anxiety and depression. Prone to burn out. Overstimulated. Scattered.

I was blown away. Because I thought happy-go-lucky people like me couldn’t also have that flip side. I didn’t think people would believe or understand the pain I felt because it didn’t make sense with my personality. For the first time, I realized I could be both. Heavy and light. Darkness and bright. For years I’d run away from being labeled an extrovert because I wanted to be viewed as someone who has depth, and isn’t a moody introvert deeper than a flashy extrovert? (And okay, I FOR SURE have my moody introverted times, too.)

The enneagram was important. It revealed so much to me and led me to a deeper awareness of who God made me to be, and why He made me this way. It pointed out my weak spots and my strong spots. I flipping love the enneagram. I wasn’t even going to get into it in this post, but I can’t talk about the last year without talking about the enneagram.

I’ve been getting more and more in touch with my emotions. I’ve been writing poetry for the first time in a long time, and it’s been really fun. I’ve been reading Psalms and sending them up to God in my prayers.

I’m still not the kind of person who will cry at the drop of a hat, but I’m becoming the kind of person who allows herself to feel. And it’s good. And I’m excited. Pain is hard and stretching, but it’s part of what makes us human. It’s part of what connects us and makes us authentic.

So if you need me to come cry with you, hit me up. Even if the tears don’t come for me, I’ll hand you tissues and I won’t run away.

The picture above is authentic Carrie. She is happy and free a lot of the time. She will try any food, any adventure, anything that promises an adrenaline rush, and she will be the first to say yes. She’s usually smiling and laughing because it comes naturally to her. But she’s also learning to be still, to not need to be stimulated ALL THE TIME, to dig deeper, to face things instead of hide them away, and she’s learning who she is and how to share that.

Okay, she’s going to stop talking in the third person now.

 

Xoxo,

Carrie Sue

aware

aware

 

when you knew me you knew me as well as anyone did

 

i barely knew myself then

i was a stranger to myself when

i wasn’t aware of what i was going through

 

this year i met myself

this year i saw inside

and i want to tell you

 

i’m so far from what we thought

so much harsher and so much brighter

so much heavier and so much lighter

 

a year? you ask

what can change in a year

i knew you then so i know you now

 

a year ago I might’ve agreed, but I know now

a lot can happen in a year

a lot can grow and a lot can change and a lot of things have gone up in flames

 

this year i became aware of myself

this year i became new

for the first time, i’m aware of what i’m going through

 

 

 

 

Another poem I wrote on an airplane, August 22

My Eyes

 

I see you

 

Do you see me

My eyes find you and move seamlessly away

And then back

And then away, and then back, and away

 

I wonder if you notice

I wonder if your eyes are doing the same thing

 

Away, and then back

 

Do you see me

Do you want me to think you’re not staring

What if you’re not staring?

Do you hope I don’t notice you

What if there’s nothing to notice?

I’m staring and it’s rude and I know

I should say something

 

But saying is scary

Doing is scary

Staying is scary

What if you turn out to be different than I think

Saying and doing are scary

And looking is easy

 

I hope my eyes keep meeting yours and looking away

For a long time

 

I know you feel the electricity in the air

It’s not just me

Why don’t you say something then

Why don’t you do something then

Why don’t you reach out and touch me

Then –

Electrocute us both

Why do you stay in a place only my eyes can reach

 

I hope my eyes keep meeting yours for a long time

I hope one day they learn to stay