When the Stillness Comes


Nighttime depresses me. That’s when the demons come out. Don’t say that around the kids, my wife tells me. I don’t. I whisper it to her after they have gone to bed.

But she doesn’t understand. That’s why she is downstairs watching old reruns of Friends and I am upstairs in a dark room, praying that God will let Satan and his demons come after me. If you’re gonna let them come after me, then let them come; I’m tired of my life, I tell God.

Then a thought drifts through my bleak mind: A person in a third-world country would give an arm and a leg to have what I have. A good job. A nice house. A healthy family. Parents who love me. Et cetera.

But, what “normal” people (like my wife) don’t understand is that it’s all meaningless without a sound mind.

Again I tell God to turn the demons loose on me. Let them devour me once and for all. A dark, quiet room would normally freak me out, but the air feels almost tranquil right now. Almost like the night that I put myself to sleep with pills and tequila, never expecting to wake again.

“Who else do we turn to?” St. Peter asks Jesus in the Gospel of John. “You alone have the words of eternal life.”

In the Psalms, King David laments again and again; he always seems to find comfort in the Lord, though.

Lately that comfort escapes me.

My new psychiatrist (the first one I’ve visited since January) put me on a slew of new pills that leave me irritable and groggy. Just doing my basic job at work takes everything I’ve got. Other teachers have fun and are so relaxed and easygoing.

It must be nice.

I pray that I can be like that. I have prayed daily for that. But I’m getting tired.

So tired.

As I end this post, the coyotes (real ones; not ones in my mind) begin howling. They will howl throughout the night, signaling the darkness of night that I fear.


About Topaz

I'm a college teacher, writer, and faithful Catholic. I do my best to juggle all of these while dealing with my mental illness -- a constant thorn in my flesh. View all posts by Topaz

4 responses to “When the Stillness Comes

  • Stupid

    Don’t give up, you really have a lot going for you!

  • Therese

    I wonder if I can say this without it being completely misunderstood…

    First, about your last post about Ghost and the comments you received encouraging you to continue listening: massive temptation in those comments! It’s all worded just as Satan WOULD word it: “Life is all about fun. Don’t let abstinence rob you of joy. You need an outlet.” It’s a lie.

    I suffer every single day from depression for myriad reasons, way, way too many to even begin to get into here, and some that are mysteries to me. But I have a very close relationship with Jesus Christ, am a faithful Catholic, and do my very best to respond to God’s grace every day. I’ve had all the “experiences”: conversion back to Christ in a dramatic way, deliverance from evil spirits through the ministry of a certain priest, infilling of the Holy Spirit/knowing the love of God the Father in a life-changing encounter that was the closest to heaven I’ll ever get here and finally and permanently revealed to my my true identity as daughter of the Father… But He has not taken away this depression, heaviness, struggle. I do have health problems, but mentally I am quite stable and what I’m suffering in my soul has nothing to do with the health problems I have. I’m devoted to the family He has given me and do my best to be a good wife, mother and friend.

    After so long, I’ve come to embrace thrree things: 1) this inner suffering is my share in the Passion, particularly the abandonment Christ felt as He died, and I have come to love Him even more for it; 2) self-pity would destroy me quickly if I let it; 3) Christ IS a healer, even if He is not taking away all my pain, because although the pain remains, He gives me the strength and power to move forward and live–without medication.

    Do you go to adoration? There is no healing like you will find there. I’m not against medication, but at this point is it helping much?

    Here is the hard word I have to say to you, but from my own personal experience and from a place of real charity, I promise you: DO NOT let self-pity get the better of you and never, ever give in to it–not even momentarily. Be careful that nothing you say or do is coming from a place of self-pity, because once it sinks in it takes over. Self-pity can mask itself as “honesty,” but God’s voice within us doesn’t manifest in that way.

    It seems to me that you–like me–have a predominantly melancholic temperament (if you don’t know about the four classic temperaments, I highly recommend the book The Temperament God Gave You to get a fresh perspective on yourself as well as others), and this temperament is naturally prone to depression, scruples and self-pity…as well as a wealth of wonderful qualities, too. Knowing the weaknesses AND strengths of our temperaments is a good way to come to love and accept ourselves as we are, while allowing room for change and growth. It helps us to forgive and understand ourselves and others, and it also helps us understand how and why we relate to God the way we do. It isn’t the whole answer, but it helps a lot. It’s humbling and reassuring.

    Self-pity never looks like self-pity at the time when we’re extremely depressed, but it’s one of THE darkest and most powerful and effective temptations for a soul that is suffering darkness. Reject it. Get in the habit of renouncing evil spirits with the authority we have in Christ our Savior: “In the Name of Jesus Christ, I renounce the spirit of self-pity…In the Name of Jesus Christ, I renounce the spirit of suicide…” Don’t wait to feel like it–do it right away.

    Again, please don’t take it as a personal attack or offense if I mention self-pity. I suffer from this temptation horribly and have to really fight it, because the fact is that there ARE lots of reasons for me to pity myself from a human point of view, but what good does it do, and how does it give God freedom to work and act in my life?

    I have been looking at your blog off and on for some time…and I pray for you whenever there is a new post. I’m suffering awfully inside, too, and tend to feel so alone in this, but I am also completely convinced that Jesus is holding souls like this close to His heart and that we are not yet meant to understand how it all works out. Take heart: the Father revealed to me in a direct, personal way that I am His daughter, which changed me forever, and although He did not take away all my inner suffering, HE did take away the worst pain of all: the feeling of being isolated from Him, fearing Him, not knowing Him, not knowing my own identity in Him, and if He did this for me, He will do it for you. Now that I finally know that I know that I KNOW that I am His daughter, I can face my suffering and even thank Him for it. I can trust Him in it. I am not trivializing your pain by saying that; I’m telling you there is more.

    Ask Jesus to lead you to the Father, because He alone can bring you there. And pray for me while you’re at it. 🙂


    • Topaz

      Thank you, Therese, for your loving insights. I really appreciate it. I will pray that God helps me to recognize self-pity in my life.

      The book you recommended sounds interesting. I always thought my temperament was a curse, but perhaps I don’t fully understand it.

      I will definitely pray for you. Please stay in touch if possible.

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