I have been told that I see to be a bright, cheery person. That it looks like I have everything together. I’m always so positive and inspiring.
Well, as much as I love being viewed that way from the outside, I am about to shatter that view. I feel like this is something very important for people to talk about, and if it’s something that changes people’s minds about me, then so be it.
I have been living with anxiety and depression since about the age of 14, if I remember correctly. If it was before that, I didn’t really notice the signs about about that age. It was just little things at first; I didn’t really like that socialize, the few friends I did have I clung to in a very weird way, I never seemed happy, I always had a bad attitude. Typically, family thought it was just a teenage phase, and even I thought so too. But there was something very odd about when I had those episode.. They didn’t feel like I had any control over them. It was like someone else took complete control over my brain and the rest of my body and they were saying and doing things that I didn’t approve of. I still have episodes like these to this day. I always know in the way back of my mind that I shouldn’t be acting like that. But I can’t, and couldn’t, stop.
My self-harm began around then. Whenever I felt super emotional or lost control of myself, I would find whatever I could to break skin. At first I was cutting my arms, until a friend of mine caught a glimpse once when I was taking a selfie of us and my sleeve slid down enough for her to see. After that, I left them on my thighs and hips. I used anything from scissors and razors blades, to broken plastic and sharp metal pieces you could find on new clothes. I did this for years. You can still catch some of my scars when the sun hits them right. I never really stopped until my freshman year of college, and my only explanation for that is I was in a new location where nobody knew me, so no one knew anything about me nor did they have to.
I’m not going to lie, sometimes I still think about it. I still get those thoughts about hurting myself, and I have tried different things to get them out of my head. I’ll share what has helped me a little later.
On top of self-harming, suicidal thoughts also flooded my brain. I even became obsessed at one point, planning out exactly what I would do, what time of day, and where. As bad as I wanted to use a gun, I didn’t have access to one. Slitting my wrists just seemed too gory, and I didn’t want my family to find me that way. So I settled on pills.I was going to do it right when everyone else fell asleep, so then I’d have the whole night to let the pills kick in before anyone could figure out what happened and try to take me to the hospital. When everyone woke up in the morning, they would just think I was sleeping. Obviously, I never did it. However, those thoughts continue to sneak their way into my head every now and then. I’ve even gotten as close as staring down the bottle of Ativan that the doctor prescribed for my panic attacks. But something stops me every time.
Some people must think, “you’re healed then!” But you cannot be healed from these mental illnesses. It is a constant, every day battle. But there are some things that make it way easier. The chains can be broken, to where your life isn’t dictated by it anymore. I have always wondered who the other voice was in my head. I had one voice telling me to hurt myself, that I don’t even matter to anyone and everyone would just be better off if I didn’t exist. But then there was always the other voice. A loving, warming voice that told me how loved I am and how I have a purpose in this world. That voice always won, from when I was 14 to now that I am 22. I just never realized who’s it was until very recently.
“He sent from on high, He took me; He drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy, And from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me. They confronted me in the day of my calamity, But the LORD was my stay.
He brought me forth also into a broad place; He rescued me, because He delighted in me.” Psalm 18:16-19
It took me eight years. Eight years to realize who was saving my life every single time. Who was telling me that I am loved. Eight years before I realized that Satan was the one snaking into my brain telling me all of these awful things about myself and trying to get me to kill myself.
It’s kind of funny how you don’t realize that you’re crying out to the Lord until it hits you smack on the head. He has been saving me all of these years. He has a purpose for me. He wanted me to live so desperately so I could live in His glory when I finally came to my senses. I am so filled with emotion because of His love for me that I am crying while typing this, guys. He makes me want to live. Someone who was so set on ending everything, suddenly would hate to see it all end.
“As for me, I look to the LORD for help. I wait confidently for God to save me, and my God will certainly hear me.” Micah 7:7
He hears me every single time I have these thoughts again. He hears all of us when we cry to Him. His heart aches for us, because He cannot stand it when we’re in pain. He will come to your rescue, even if you can’t tell right away. He’s that hero who will NEVER let you down. Nobody can stop Him. And that’s why I do not fear my mental illnesses anymore. That’s why I changed the title of this post from “I Kept Living” to “I Keep Living”, because I am still living for His glory. Every day I am shown how much He loves us all and I see how wonderful He is. I have never felt so full in my life. I don’t have any emptiness inside of me. Christ has filled me. And I have no doubt anywhere in my mind that I will continue to live, because He hears me. He loves me unconditionally. He forgives me for all of my issues I still have. Satan will never win my battle. I will not listen to him.
“I know the LORD is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.” Psalm 16:8
My story doesn’t end here. God is still using me. He is still having me serve my purpose.
And I CANNOT wait to see why Satan didn’t want me to live so badly.