7 years ago today, I was lying in a hospital bed in a haze. My parents were on either side of me after having to talk to doctors and nurses about possible stomach pumps and blood test, trying to make sure I hadn’t done my body permanent damage. Luckily for me, physically I was fine. Mentally though? I was in shambles.
And that’s when they said it. That’s when they told us that I couldn’t be released. I had to be put on a 72-hour psychiatric hold, due to my attempt to self-harm. I wasn’t crazy, I told them. I was just having a bad day, I tried to explain. But no one would listen.
No one ever listened, it seemed.
So how did a 21-year-old young woman who seemed to have everything going for her end up in a psych ward for three days?
Well.. that started long before December 13th.
I have struggled with depressive moods since I was a young girl. A depressive mood isn’t full on depression, it’s more like functioning depression. I could get out of bed, eventually, and do my normal activities, but inside I was constantly filled with anxiety. I was either extremely irritable, or extremely quiet and isolation became my best friend. The first time I ever noticed my struggle with depression, I would say it was in 8th grade when my mom had to live in DC for 8 months for work. I just remember my grades began to drop, and I hated being home without her. I would ask her every other week, if I could move to DC but she would say no. My siblings and I weren’t getting along and my dad didn’t know how to get us on the same page. On top of going through all the changes of being a 13-year-old teenage girl in middle school that fathers have no idea how to relate to. I felt very alone and misunderstood.
Depression upgraded to suicidal thoughts my freshman year of high school. I was in some drama over a boy (insert eye roll) and a lot of the girls at my school began to bully me and threaten me. I had never been in drama before this moment, so it was a shock to me and people who I thought were my friends abandoned me and began to talk about me behind my back. I felt hopeless and alone and thought it would be better if I wasn’t alive to endure the mistreatment. It wasn’t until a friend of mine gave me a scripture that he always went to when he felt low, that I realized that I needed Jesus. So, I got saved and filled with the Holy Spirit and I was okay for a while. For a couple years actually. I had Jesus and that was enough for me. I met new friends, I got more involved in church, I gave the gospel everywhereI went. I knew that the same God that rescued me, would rescue someone else.
…and then I fell in love with a boy. And this boy would be the one to break me.
He seemed like an answered prayer at first. He wasn’t like the boys before him. He claimed me. He pursued me. He wanted me. And being a girl who had five siblings that I had to share a father with, having this boy that only wanted and loved me was a dream come true. This here was a love I didn’t have to share. The fairytale I always wanted could happen. The marriage, the kids, the house, the white picket fence. He was supposed to be that for me. He was the answer to the picture I painted for my life and we were to live happily ever after.
Except… that picture was ruined four years into our relationship (long before then really). Another woman was pregnant with his child, ripping my pictured life in half. Looking back, I wasn’t so much in love with him as I was with the picture. That picture meant more to me than anything did.
December 13th, was the day reality hit that the life I imagined, was gone. So if that life was over, why should my real one stay? How was I going to live, knowing that I couldn’t keep a man from cheating on me, that I couldn’t get pregnant, that I couldn’t be the life giver? How was I going to watch him parent a child I didn’t give him? I couldn’t. I wouldn’t.
And even if I wasn’t going to be successful, he needed to know how much he hurt me. I believe now, that my suicide attempt was more a cry for attention and help than it was to actually take my life. I had the means to kill myself, but I was too scared of what would await on the other side if I succeeded.
That was until, I was out ofthe hospital and caught him with another woman on the night of my birthday. Thatttt one hurt. That hurt me to my core. Here I was, thinking that maybe my hospital stay and display of insanity would wake him up. Instead, it did the opposite and completely pushed him away. And in that moment, I wanted nothing more than to die. So I went home, and drunkenly attempted to jump off the balcony of my apartment building. Really wanting to end it all, because in my mind it didn’t matter if I stayed alive. He was never going to want me again. He was never going to love me again. And if he didn’t, what love would I have that would be all mine?
If it wasn’t for his brother being with me, and holding me back from ending my life, I can’t say that I would be here. Shoot, or I would be paralyzed or something. I don’t know. All I know is, the devil wanted me gone that week, and I was soooo close to just giving him what he wanted.
After that time in my life, I suppressed my struggle with depression and suicide. Everyone who knew of my hospital stay, started treating me like I was fragile and broken and I didn’twant to be viewed that way. I just acted like it never happened. I had to be strong. Even if that meant, slowly dying on the inside, I had to appear strong. So I would suffer with my depression in silence. I would go off into my room for hours and not come out. I would go to a quiet place and just cry and not tell a soul. I would snap and be mean to the people that loved me the most, and then come back and say I was just on my period. I hid and I lied, to protect people from the real me. The me that was hurting and desperate to be delivered. I felt that was a person that no one could handle. And if I could keep people at bay when she would rear her ugly head, all would be fine.
I thought I was fine.
It wasn’t until this year that I realized depression was still a major struggle for me. My parents had learned to live with it, but my roommate wasn’t having that lol. She would lovingly call me out on my mood swings and I would blame it on everything BUT depression, because I truly thought it was a part of me. I thought it was who I was. I would say things like, I just have moments where I need to be alone or things like that. But it was much deeper. And God showed me just how deep. He began to show me my cycles of depression. I would be good one week, and miserable the next. One day I would be excited to go to work, the next I would be in tears trying to get out of bed.
It was bad. Much worse than I even thought.
I wanted nothing more than to be free. I would get prayer after prayer about it. I would talk myself up. Speak the word. Everything you can think of.
But I needed more than prayer and hands laid on me.. I needed my mind to change.
So, I found a therapist. And when I say, it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life!
Week to week, I have someone that talks me through my past trauma and my unhealthy thought processes. Someone who connects the dots for me and shows me my growth and also areas I still need to improve. And since then, I have seen a vast difference in me as a whole. It was the missing ingredient in my total healing and restoration process. Everyone needs therapy. Everyone! We’ve all suffered from things in our life that affect who we are as people today that shouldn’t go unchecked.
Though I’m in therapy now, it still doesn’t take away my need for God. I still have moments where I get depressive mood swings unwarranted, and those are the times I lean on God the most. I reach out now. I talk to my pastor or my friends. I get prayer, I get delivered. I actually JUST got delivered the other night to break the generational curse of depression that’s in my bloodline! Like, it doesn’t go away just because I have someone to talk to about it now. It’s a process. But I’m doing things differently.
I’m seeking help.
Depression won’t be my portion. Suicide is not what’s gonna take me out of here. I’m falling in love with the woman God created and learning to be her freely, every single day. Each day brings on different challenges, but I’m freer now than I’ve ever been. First because God saved me, and second because I took the steps to fight back against my own self destruction.
Depression is real, but God is realer. Therapy is important. And your mental health is just as important if not more important than your physical health.
I don’t want you leaving this blog feeling sorry for me. I’m okay. Like truly. I’m getting stronger every day because I have the word of God to stand on. Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4). When I am weak, He is strong (2 Corinthians 12:10). Weeping may endure for a night, but JOY comes in the morning (Psalms30:5)!!! Whew chillleeee!
I do, however, want you to leave this post doing a self-analysis. Are you okay? Is there any area of your life that is hurting you? Is it hard to get out of bed? Do you have thoughts where you wish you weren’t alive? Are you in a situation that’s hurting you daily? Are you suffering in silence?
Talk to someone, anyone! The suicide hotline is always available for you if no one is answering the phone. 1-800-273-8255.
And I must remind you of some truths:
Jesus loves you! Your friends and your family LOVE you! People need you. They need to feel you and hear you. They want the best for you. You matter. You’re important. Your life makes a difference in this world. If it didn’t, God would’ve never saw fit for you to be here. He has a purpose and plan for your life that is greater than anything you could’ve conjured up for yourself. There is life past the bad moments. This will get better. Doesn’t mean the path will be easy, but you’ll make it! I know it’s easier said than done, but the fight is WORTH it! And guess what? It’s rigged! Jesus already kicked depression in the butt when he died on the cross over 2000 years ago! He won so that you, too, can win!
Changing this unhealthy mindset, first starts with you. It starts with a decision. Don’t be like me and let years go by of your depression being unchecked. There’s tons of therapist available to you, there are tons of churches here for you to get plugged in and connected, and Jesus is always with you no matter what you’ve done or where you’re at in life. Jesus is available just for you.
And I promise.. I PROMISE…there is another side to life that is filled with an endless amount of joy, peace and love.
I wouldn’t be alive today if there wasn’t.