Standing On a Pile of LEGOs: When Depression Turns Beauty Into Pain

From the time I was able to hold a LEGO® I would interlock the pieces, constructing anything I could that might resemble the image in my mind. One piece attached to another, and suddenly I had a makeshift cottage. Simple structures brought incredible joy.

As my hands grew stronger and my imagination bigger, my creations became more complex. One piece attached to another, and suddenly I had a mansion, complete with a swinging door. Majestic structures brought a huge sense of accomplishment. 

As I grew, so did my structures, and each time I celebrated the  beauty that came from small plastic pieces that alone made nothing, but together created a whole world fueled by imagination.

LEGOs have been my favorite since I was a little girl. The ability to lose yourself in any world you want has always felt safe. I could be whomever I wanted to be, live wherever I wanted to live, and during that time nothing else beyond the colors and shapes mattered.

They have long since opened up an amazing world for me. But now that I’m grown, I sometimes find myself standing on a pile of LEGOs.

Standing on the pile, small pieces dig into the bottoms of my feet, leaving their impressions, bruising my skin. But I’m unable to move, can’t merely put one foot in front of the other because what lies ahead might be more painful than where I’m standing. What if the pieces I encounter are smaller and sharper than the ones I stand upon? What if it hurts more to move than it does to stand still? Sometimes I grow color blind and the beauty disappears; all I see are sharp corners.

I’m frozen in fear and can’t see beyond the pounding in my chest.
And I beg myself to move; and then argue with myself for not having the courage.
Negotiate.
Plead.

Sometimes, as my feet begin to move, I realize that the steps aren’t life-threatening, just larger blocks that my feet roll off of. Sometimes the pieces hurt more than I expect, and I have to will myself to take another step. And sometimes I feel paralyzed, simply unable to make another move. I catch myself wondering, When did these objects of beauty become so painful? Why can’t I just see what was once so joyful? How did I let depression gain control?

Some days I’m standing on a pile of LEGOs and I feel stuck, frozen in fear, with numb feet.
Some days I’m standing on a pile of LEGOs and I force myself to move even though I fear what lies ahead.
Some days I’m standing on a pile of LEGOs and I decide to courageously take it step by step.

Sometimes I need to put two pieces together and pretend that it’s something so much more than it really is.

Some days I create nothing.
Some days I create a small cottage.
Some days my mansion door swings wide open.

But every day I remind myself that there is beauty in my pain, and if I ever want to experience the glory of my potential masterpieces, I have to be brave enough to find my way off the pile of LEGOs.

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