I’m feeling empty inside. Just empty.

I have no reason to feel this way. My loving wife is working at her desk beside me. If I said the word, she would turn to me and smile, hold my hand, give me a hug. My faithful companion Briley is lounging in the room next to us. If I got up, she would come bounding to my feet with a look of sheer affection in her eyes, panting in adoration. I have shelter, my favorite travel mug filled with coffee, a top-notch computer. John Prine is singing over my Bose speakers. Life is good.

So why do I feel so lousy?

No reason, really. None but that the chemicals in my brain are attacking my mind and body, convincing them that I have done irreparable damage to people in my relationships, that my work is worthless, that I am a lazy slug, no better than a worm.

Am I alone in feeling this way?

No, but it sure seems like it when I get like this. Delight is something shared. Despair is something we must face on our own. Misery may love company, but I have found little relief suffering in a crowd. Instead, the connection others seem to experience is lost on me. I go deeper into hiding, building barriers to protect my pain.

It is what it is, as they say.

But it shouldn’t be this way.

Why is it like this?

Right now it has to do with my writing, or the lack thereof. I was working at a feverish pace on my book when suddenly I hit a spot that brought back a painful memory I had suppressed. I have written next to nothing since. Instead I have taken to my bed, zoned out on television, calculated my budget so many times the numbers are blurry on the screen.

What is it going to take to break through this block that is pinning me down? How can I move from despair to delight?

From Despair to Delight.

If I’m going to write this book, I should know what I’m talking about. I shouldn’t be so stuck in despair that I fail to experience delight. But I am. All the evidence of a delightful life that surrounds me is not lifting me out of this pit. I see no hope on the horizon.

Maybe if I look to the subtitle.

Stories to Cultivate Compassion for Those with Mental Illness

Lord knows I could use some compassion now. Said better, I need to receive the compassion people are extending to me. Many people have shown me compassion in spite of my struggles and I owe it to them to tell their stories. I owe it to those with troubled minds who feel shunned, judged, excluded, to offer hope that it doesn’t have to be this way. I owe it to myself to be reminded of Christ’s compassion for me.

I have a story to tell. And I will tell it. But not today. Today I am spent with a peculiar sorrow that has no true source. Pills and prayer will help, but only in God’s good time will the dark clouds lift so I can share my story with clarity and hope.