I look back at my life and the struggles I endured because of my depression, and I wonder how I am still alive. I shouldn’t be, especially since I spent nearly a decade on the road to complete and total self-destruction.
But I am alive. I am here.
And I know why.
I was diagnosed with depression at 16 (although looking back, I now realize it began much earlier).
I had been cutting myself for months when I finally confessed to my mom that I was harming myself. She took me to the doctor, who sent me to the hospital. They assessed me and (thankfully) decided I didn’t need to be admitted. I was sent to the Crisis Centre. And thus began my treatment for depression.
I am a person who likes to be in control. Many things in my childhood were beyond my control, so in my young adult life I held on tight to everything.
I tried to deal with my depression in so many [unhealthy] ways. As already mentioned I was cutting myself. This happened, on and off, for about 10 years.
Now I have a body full of scars; reminders of the trauma I went through, but also reminders of what I have overcome.
Aside from cutting I would try to hurt myself by slamming my hand and/or fingers in doors and drawers. I used to boil water and pore it over my hands and arms. Anything to distract from the excruciating pain inside.
In my early twenties I turned to alcohol and drugs to take away the pain and emptiness. I would drink myself into a stupor, pass out and walk up the next day with a vague recollection of the previous night.
After university I tried to find happiness in material things. I got myself into thousands of dollars of debt buying clothes, jewelry, music and more, hoping that one item would be the miracle cure I needed.
Of course, no item was.
How did I survive? How did I find healing and peace?
My father in heaven rescued me. For years I had been trying to mend myself through earthly things. And they never worked.
At 23 I started to go to church again. I found an amazing church in Toronto where I was welcomed and accepted immediately. That was something I had never experienced before.
There, with the help of new friends, great teaching, and amazing leadership I learned what it meant to be a true follower of Christ. I learned how to have a relationship with God.
I began that relationship timidly, but that was all God needed. He needed me to turn to Him and He was just waiting. He had been waiting, for a very long time.
This wasn’t a miracle cure. My life didn’t suddenly become perfect. My depression didn’t just disappear. But as I grew closer to God, I learned to release the control I was desperately holding on to.
I didn’t have to suffer alone anymore. God was with me and all of the pain I felt, He felt too. And through Him I gained the strength to fight against my depression.
God also opened my eyes to all the beautiful people in my life who loved me and supported me. I was definitely not alone.
My life is still really hard sometimes. My depression can get really bad and the pain can feel unbearable. But I don’t turn to negative things to try to put a bandaid over the gaping wound.
I turn to Him, and there I find strength. Because I know that no matter how bad it gets, He will help me through it.
I know this because of all He has already helped through, even when I didn’t seek Him out.
I know why I am still alive after so many horrific years.
God can take anything bad and create something good out of it. He has taken my struggles and given me a voice to use them to help others.
That is why I am here.