Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Have I Given Up?

While playing a game the other day, another player dealt me a pretty nasty blow, that left me in a rather crippled position.  Rather than stick it out to see if I could still somehow manage to scrape through the game, I opted to leave at that moment, mostly because I wasn't enjoying the game all that much (being behind in a game can make me irritable at times).  At the time, I thought of how manly I was at speaking my mind and cutting my losses.  Afterward, I felt very guilty for leaving the game the way I did (in a huff).  Somehow, it made me feel like how I approach life: if things get difficult, there's a good chance I'm going to simply give up on the thing, even if it's something good for me.  Friend gets married, I give up.  Too hard to continue interacting with them.  Friend moves away.  Give up.  Too hard.

I'm saying this, because I feel like I've 'given up' in a sense on my healing journey.  I'm exhausted.  I'm worn out.  I regularly engage in numbing and isolating behavior   I build emotional walls between me and the people I spend time with.  Two years ago and two months, I went to Journey Into Manhood.  I was regularly talking with people.  I had a good friendship with another man forming.  I was participating in a community, reaching out to other men.  Giving, growing, and learning.  I was connecting and getting my male to male needs met.  I was even starting to feel sparks of attraction toward a girl I've known since elementary school.

Fast forward a year.  I was barely even talking to this friend.  I had deeply distanced myself from him.  I was slipping into depression.  I had given up on our friendship because it had become very difficult and painful for me (I was overdependent on him).  Fast forward another year.  I came close to acting out with a good friend of mine.  I acted out with four other times with men.  I nearly gave up going to church multiple times.  My depression worsened and I started taking medication.  I grew very isolated.  I've become bitter.  My same gender attraction has become very strong.  I feel a sense of shame as I compulsively check out people to see if they are attractive.  I struggle daily with inappropriate thoughts that are highly distracting.  In short, I almost feel like I've given up.

On a surface level, I try to look confident, as un-needy as possible.  I try to appear aloof.  I often get snappy.  I'm nearly always tired.  Inside, I just want to cry, or act out, or have the nearest object of my lust hold me and help me feel loved.  Guilt and shame seem to be with me nearly every waking moment.  I struggle with feeling connected.

I feel like I'm stuck between two choices: continue to resist (and struggle with acting out), or simply give in.  Honestly, the latter is highly undesirable.  I know there is at least one more choice: open up.  Start to connect again and let the wounds heal.  Forgive, and let the poison seep out. feels very difficult to open up.  Two years ago, it was very natural, if scary for me.  Now, it is so terrifying I clam up at the thought of doing it.

On the bright side, I've also felt a stirring in my breast.  I've felt the Spirit working on me.  I've had moments where my selfishness abates and I feel genuine pain, empathy, and caring toward other people.

It means I haven't quite given up yet, despite how hard the journey is.  Still, I'm afraid of opening up and being vulnerable.  Almost mortally afraid.  I know it can hurt again.


  1. Hi, Andrew, this is Josh (from work), just read this (as it was linked from Facebook, it's the first time I've known you had a blog). Anyway, I've recently been thinking "Andrew is a cool guy, I need to plan a time for us to get together".
    At minimum, I often do Guild Wars with my brothers either Friday or Saturday night, and we'd all enjoy having you along. Though, of course, we should do more than that.

    Now, more directly related to your post, I can say that I've been hurt because I trusted, but I've also been enormously helped because I trusted, as well. Generally, you don't know which one it will be until after you make the choice. Anyway, if you ever do want to talk, I'm a big believer in the "listen without judging" philosophy.

    Anyway, I'll see you tomorrow. Hang in there.

    1. Joshua! This is such great advice! Andrew, you should really take advantage of this offer and at least really contemplate this advice that Joshua gives!

  2. It is in these moments, for they truly are moments; It is in these that we grow the most, for good or ill. Latch on to that light you've felt and it will lead you, as it has in the past.

  3. In all honesty, opening up is hard. It stays hard, because you have to constantly soften your heart--that means no callouses. The choice you have made to do so is the more difficult of the three.

    I get jaded and tired sometimes, too. I, the perpetually happy 'fat guy' have struggled with depression at several points in my life, so I have a sense of that hopelessness you mean. Just keep going, brother. Just keep going.

  4. Andrew,
    We just want you to know we think the world of you. We appreciate so much your openness, your ability to say how you really feel and your willingness to be real. Just know you are not alone. We are praying for you to feel strengthened. You are seen and heard. Sending our thoughts and prayers your way.
    God bless.
    David and Emily

  5. Making the decision to not give up, but to return to the healthy, open, vulnerable position of a couple of years ago is an act of faith. You testify of feeling the spirit. That is evidence that you are not "past feeling" and that God has not given up on you either. I can take solace in those same two evidences in my own life. If God still wants to work with us, we should be willing to give it our best effort. Stay strong in this decision, and keep me on task as well.

  6. Hang in there guy. Sometime i have felt the same as what i think you are describing. That you are the one that has to inntiate the contact and be there for friends but get nothing in return. Hang in there and look for opportunity to serve others during this time of the year. It will bring great peace into your life and make the spirit grow stronger
    DThomas N*

  7. Andy, that Josh MacDonald sounds like a dream come true, a true friend. I am working on developing friendships like that, and its hard. So take advantage of what's being handed to you on a silver platter and go play those games with your friends.

    It was a pleasure meeting you at Jeff's party. Nice to be able to put a real face to the online presence.

  8. Andrew, I love you. Have I told you that? O yea...and I understand virtually everything you wrote -- from my own experience. You aren't alone my friend. Hugs. See you soon.