I’m feeling under the weather. Not in an “I don’t feel well” kind of way. But under the weather in a way a person can’t talk to others about. You know. In an, “I’m not doing well” sort of way. Emotionally. In my soul. Way down deep inside where the real me resides. Under the weather in a way that a person has to keep hidden. In a way that must be disguised and denied. Because the consequences of letting someone see your heart are too costly. Too painful. I find it to be interesting – or maybe frustrating is a better word – that when you’re not feeling well physically or when you have some great medical battle going on, people are instantly sympathetic, for the most part, and want to do what they can to help you get through it. They rally. They cut you slack. They pray. They encourage. They are there for you in a zillion ways. You still have dark moments in the night when you are alone with your struggle. But you don’t typically have a group of people around you who are telling you to “just get over it” or to “pull yourself up by your boot straps” and to get on with life. To let the past be past. Most people will at least sympathize with your plight and not blame you for being ill…when the illness is physical. But if your struggle is in an emotional realm, you won’t receive the same kind of sympathy and support. Not even close. If your illness is depression, you will be blamed for it. It’s all in your head, after all…you should just get over it! If you have an eating disorder, you will be told to stop doing all the wrong stupid things you have decided to CHOOSE to do (because again, it’s your fault; you are making these wrong choices) and to start acting like a regular, normal person. Just eat…no big deal! If you were abused as a child and badly damaged, you will be told that it was a long time ago and you should be over it by now. What’s your problem? People will look down on you. They will distance themselves from you. You will be considered less than. You will not be valued. You will be seen as defective and unworthy. And you will see yourself this way too. At least, I do…see myself as being defective and valueless. This image has been reflected back to me by hundreds of people over the years, starting with my parents, schoolmates, husbands, church family, right on down the line to present day contacts (there are a few exceptions, but only a few). And, be honest…face it. The business world is built on your performance, so you can’t even get an ego boost at your job. People with physical or emotional / mental illnesses don’t perform as well as those who don’t have these “issues.” So even at work, the reflection you get back of yourself is one of a person who has decreased value. If your illness is medical and physical in origin, it can be accepted, at least for a period of time in the business environment. But if it’s emotional…not so much. Not at all. The make-a dollar-at-the-expense-of-all-else business culture doesn’t tolerate the emotionally defective. They’ve been forced to work with those who are broken physically, but not those who have a broken soul. I have a broken soul. I’m feeling particularly under the weather because of it. And I feel deeply worthless and unwanted. Because I’m not up to par. Because of my illness. The one that isn’t physical. I try hard to hide it as much as is possible. I did a relatively good job of it when I was younger. When I hadn’t been hit time and again and broken over and over. Now, I’m getting up there in years. I’m tired. Can’t find the energy to act like everything is wonderfully fine, thank you very much. And while it’s kind of cool for a young person to be trying to “find themselves,” at my age, it’s no longer cool. At all. By now, I’m supposed to have figured that piece out and neatly have my act together. I haven’t. I don’t. So I’m feeling under the weather and I’m scared and alone. There is no pill that will make me all better. There doesn’t appear to be a cure for my malady. Which is terrifying. Because I truly don’t know how much longer I can go on like this. And there isn’t anyone who will help me or take care of me if I get to the point that I can’t take another step. No one has my back. No one can help me carry this load. I can’t even tell anyone about my struggle. The smile must remain plastered on my face. I must perform. Somehow. Yet I think I’m almost…almost…at the end. Only a whisper away from being enveloped by the darkness that presses in all around me. From being swept away by the storm that ravages, crashes, rages in my heart and mind. We are, after all, truly at the mercy of the weather. Even if the storm is silent. Even if it roars only within the deepest caverns of our soul.