Birth Pains

 

Today, something new birthed within me.

I’ve struggled with this birth for decades now. I don’t know when this labor first began. I’ve felt the birth pains for so long now, and they nearly crippled me. Surely, I could be forgiven for believing that my spirit was dying inside for several years.

Maybe I did die… Maybe I’m still dying. Something needs to die to make room for what’s being born, and for longer than I can recall I’ve felt something dying deep within my soul, clawing and scratching against the turbulent walls of my psyche as it rasped its final, agonized, howling gasps before a different cry inside me sounded out amidst the dull din within.

Perhaps I should start again…

My name is Dunebat. I am the sole member of the Desmodus desertus species, and I have suffered, endured, anguished over, bitched about, screamed, and cried through severe depression for well over twenty years now. I’ve had very little treatment through this ordeal — I either couldn’t afford it, couldn’t reach it easily, or I’d given up on it after treatment didn’t yield the results I’d sought — and it steadily grew worse as the years slouched past. Indeed, by 2020 the depression had deepened and settled into a fathomless, anhedonic oubliette nestled somewhere betwixt the top of my head and the seat of my heart. I’d given up believing it would ever lighten or go away by then. I experienced moments of respite on occasion, but the overall experience gave the emotional effect of traversing a gradient from gray to darkest black, as I slowly lost interest in one blessed and cherished thing after another.

Yet, my spirit never died completely. I’d flake on assignments, lose jobs and friends, end a marriage, endure homelessness, but something inside me kept kicking at my mental womb. I’d scribble a sketch, or I’d take notes for a story or an essay, but nothing moved beyond that. I’d go back to work or putter about the house and bemoan what was slipping away inside me, never really noticing what was growing deep within. When I experienced actual homelessness last year, I believed that whatever was dying inside my heart had been mortally wounded. Even as I wrestled with cold and showered at truck stops, my drive to survive the ordeal was the strongest it has. Through all that angst and pain, I believed the fire within me was fading when it had only frozen in icy dormancy.

Today, however, the bitter, snarling remnant of the person I once was officially perished, and something new screamed into this world afterward. Something, someone, different woke up inside me. I don’t know much about this new entity nesting within the freshly opened wound where my heart once resided. What parent truly knows their infant so soon after their eyelids first flutter open?

I’m still getting to know whoever — whatever — it is that has taken its first halting steps as it crawled out of the crib formed from the carcass of my former self. I have no idea who or what I will become over the next few months, or how I will change as an individual… Meeting this new me will be the adventure of a (new) lifetime.

I would be honored to have you on this journey with me, fellow travelers.

 

“Just as a pregnant woman writhes and cries out in pain as she gives birth, so were we in your presence, LORD.”
~ Isaiah 26:17 NLT

 

 

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