Most people don’t know this about me. Some knew and didn’t care; others knew and tried to help. I didn’t want help though. I just wanted out. I wanted out of my head. I wanted out of my body. I wanted out of life. I just wanted to disappear for good.
Would anyone care? Would anyone miss me? Would anyone wish they’d have reached out to me?
These were thoughts that plagued my mind for years. I suffered with depression from ages 10 to 18. The worst part about all of it was that I never opened my mouth to get help. My closest friends had no clue. My family didn’t know until I started threatening suicide. People were hurt and confused. They didn’t know why this girl that seemed happy on the outside all of a sudden wanted to end it all.
I was 13 years old when I started writing suicide notes. I daily listened to music that talked about death and cutting themselves. I cried myself to sleep every night. I wanted a different life. I daydreamed of dying and thinking maybe it would be different on the other side. I wanted to cry out for help, but my mouth would physically shut any time I’d try to open up.
I was 14 years old when I discovered the truth about cutting. I knew people who did it. I thought I understood the depth of it, but it wasn’t until I put a blade to my own skin that my eyes were opened. Immediately I was addicted. At first I was hesitant, but after a few times, it became easier. Cutting was a way for me to release all the pain I felt inside. The one problem was that cutting was only a temporary release. My friends would still upset me, my depression would come back, and my gaping hole of loneliness would continue to haunt me. The more I became upset with people around me, the more I’d cut myself. When a friend would fight with me or when I’d disappoint my parents, I’d go cut myself. Cutting was my addiction. Like people addicted to drugs, I would get highs and lows.
The first time I cut myself, I felt a wave of relief. Then something would happen at school and I was depressed again. I cut myself a second time and released a little pain from whatever happened at school. Then an argument would break out at home and I was more depressed than before. To get rid of the anger I was holding inside, I’d go cut a third time. Then I’d feel guilty about cutting myself and grow depressed even more than before, but this time I’d also suffer with shame. Shame because I knew what I was doing wouldn’t stop the thoughts of dying. Shame because I knew what I was doing wasn’t right. Shame because I was addicted to something I no longer wanted to be a part of but couldn’t stop. This vicious cycle would replay over again until I was 17 years old.
I was 16 years old when he came into my life. He made me laugh; he made me smile; he made me feel special. But then he made me cry. Then he lied to me. Then he cheated on me. Then he isolated me from all the people I held so dear. With isolation came depression; with depression came thoughts of suicide. I stuck it out with him because I thought he’d change… I thought maybe he’d change for me. I gave him my virginity; I gave him my life. Instead of changing, he just lied even more.
I was 17 years old when I cut myself again. I thought I was cured of the addiction. I thought I’d never deal with the thoughts again. It turned out that temporary time of remission was just waiting to come back with a vengeance. I relapsed. This time, I truly wanted out of it. Overwhelmed with anger and shame, I took a bottle of pain pills and waited to see my fate. I threw up violently and fell asleep. It’s by God’s wondrous grace that I survived that night. The next morning I woke up swollen in the face from crying, dazed, and wanting to change.
I was 19 years old when he was born. His soft skin, sweet cry, and handsome face melted away all my fears. He brought a sense of tenderness to my life. He softened my hardened heart to experience true love. He showed me how God views me as His child. If I loved my son as much as I did and God refers to me as His daughter, then how precious is God’s love for me! There’s no greater love than a parent has for their child. It’s sacrificial, unconditional, and redeeming. God used my son to help me see the love He has for me.
I was 20 years old when God answered my prayer. I never had a problem allowing God to be my savior, but I never once allowed Him to be my Lord. I’ll never forget that summer morning. I begged God to get rid of the one thing that hindered me from fully submitting to Him. I remember saying, “God, if you get rid of this stronghold, I’ll forever commit my life to serving you.” It was literally 10 minutes later and that prayer was answered. That stronghold was forced out of my life. I’ve never looked back.
It wasn’t until I completely gave all of my life to Christ that I finally overcame depression. Yes, there are times that I still struggle with feeling down or upset about something going on in my life, but I no longer face the thoughts alone. I have an unending amount of joy in my heart now. I can honestly say that I’m a new person since I gave my life to Christ. I don’t have to worry about tomorrow anymore. I don’t wake up wishing to be dead. I wake up with a smile, thankful that God has given me another day to live!
In the year 2007 – in the United States alone – suicide was the third leading cause of death for people ages 15-24. If you or someone you know or suspect is dealing with depression, please reach out to them. Be a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen, and a mouth to encourage. You never know how your one smile could save someone’s life.
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
– Psalm 34:18