I felt awful. It was after midnight, and I couldn’t sleep. I stared at the ceiling, as I had been doing for the last hour or two. I hid under the blankets. I wished that I wasn’t alone. I wished that I could call someone. Therapy and psychiatry weren’t doing it for me. I wished that I was loved, that someone, anyone, was there to hold me.
Life had taken its twists and turns and I had found myself in Tokyo, staring at the ceiling, gripped by severe depression, incredibly alone. Longing, needing help, needing someone, anyone, to look after me. So I decided to pray.
Despite the fact that I’ve never seen any reasons to believe god exists, the childhood indoctrination I received has never entirely gone away. While I swear like a sailor at times, I basically never blaspheme.
Some part of me still believes in the notion that god is out there somewhere and wants to look after us, that non-Christian religions are somehow malign, and that there is a heaven and hell that we get sent to after we die. That we really do have souls, despite a lack of any good reason to think so.
So I sat up, pushed the blankets back, got on my knees and prayed. Said that I needed help. That if god would talk to me, give me some sign that he was real, I would believe. That if there was any time when I was open to being changed, it was now. And I waited. And waited some more. And received the answer I had expected. Silence.
I flopped back into bed, and eventually managed to get to sleep. I got through the next day. And the day after that. And so on until the present day. I’ve been up and down, and have managed to reach some level of stability through learning to deal with my depression and learning to be more accepting of myself, and of others. I am very far from perfect, but I am also very far from the person who first fell into prolonged depression four years ago.
It is irrational, but even now there is some small part of me that feels vaguely guilty, that maybe I didn’t pray hard enough, that maybe I am being tested somehow. That I need to have “faith” and then I will see the light and be shown the path to salvation.
But the only light that ever comes is that of the morning sun, as another day dawns. Any path I find will be my own, but will not be to salvation or damnation. But it might just be to a better tomorrow.