If I had to trace my mental illness back to the very beginning, I would probably say there were signs of it as early as high school. Unfortunately, I wasn’t diagnosed with severe depression until January of 2015.
Preceding my diagnoses, I had about a year and a half of extremely fast-paced, incredible yet chaotic experiences. I ended a very hard relationship, moved from my life-long home in Texas to Seattle for an internship (at a church that fell apart while I was there), began a new relationship that soon led to an engagement, moved back to Texas, dove into some very intense missions training, planned a wedding and got married. SO. MUCH.
After moving back to Texas, I was slowly going downhill mentally. I was struggling to be emotionally stable; I was being irrational in my thinking and sinking quickly into a dark, dark pit. When Jakeb and I got married in January of 2015, we finally decided to get help. We knew something was wrong but we couldn't figure it out on our own. We ended up stepping into counseling. It wasn't easy. I was hesitant because of the stigma around "people who have to see therapists." But in our desperate need for help, we went anyways.
The next few months were awful. Jake and I were always fighting. Our marriage was falling apart. I could hardly function mentally. I felt so far from God. I was losing hope. I kept turning to my tired and weary husband to “fix it” and to “make me happy”. He worked as hard as he could, but nothing he was able to do was good enough to make it all go away.
There was one night in late May of 2015, I remember sitting out in my car in our apartment parking lot. I slowly heard thoughts coming into my mind saying,
“Maybe it’s not worth it. Maybe life isn’t worth it.”
That was the first time I had ever experienced suicidal thoughts. It terrified me. But in my pit of despair and hopelessness, what else was there to turn to? I just wanted it to be better.
That night passed and I held on. Jake ended up asking me soon after if suicidal thoughts were something I was dealing with. In my shame, I shook my head no. But in my tears, he saw the truth. Standing by me and supporting me, he brought me to our counselor to admit my struggle. She highly suggested medication to help get me through this, but I was incredibly stubborn and quickly turned down the thought of that.
Months went by. Some weeks were better, some were worse. Sometimes I was even convinced I was “healed” but sadly that just wasn’t the case.
In October, the depression came back stronger than ever before. One night, Jake and I had another fight and I was panicking as I questioned where I would find my peace and joy. Jake couldn’t be that for me. He wasn’t enough to fix me.
So that night, knowing my parents were out of town, I bought a bottle of vodka and went down to their house. I started drinking as much as I could handle until most of the bottle was inside of my frail and weak body. In my altered mindset, I texted Jake to tell him what I was doing. He rushed to the house to take care of my broken, empty and drunk self.
I wish I could say that was my wake up call but sadly it wasn’t. At that point, I did decide to start on medication. I went down to my normal family doctor that I had been going to since I was 9 years old. I was trying very hard to play it off like it wasn’t a big deal.
I got on my medication and went about life. It HAD to get better now. But unfortunately, about a month later my depression and suicidal thoughts got to the worse place yet. I remember sitting in the Home Depot parking lot, clicking on my Safari app and typing into the search bar “how to commit suicide”. It had finally come to that point. I was done fighting. It was too hard. I had tried for a year to make this go away and it wouldn’t. I was finished.
Knowing that I was in a really bad place, I followed my “battle plan” that I had set up when I began struggling with this and called my counselor. I asked to set up an appointment with her. She told me the first opening she had wasn’t until the next day, but through my tears I quietly answered, “I don’t know if I can make it until then.”
She then told me to meet her right then at the nearest hospital, and with no other options, I went.
That night, November 4, 2015, I spent the night in the mental hospital.
None of my possessions.
All I could force out of my mouth on that dark and hopeless night was,
“God, where are You?”
That was my wake up call. That was when I finally saw how desperately sick I had become. Then, instead of continuing to wallow in my hurt and confusions and discomfort, instead of continuing to play the victim of whatever game I thought God was playing, I started crying out for help. Crying to God to heal me and to be what I needed. I needed HIM to be my joy. I needed HIM to be my peace. I needed HIM to be my healer.
When getting on medication for things like depression, they ask you to fill out a little survey to see how “bad” it is. I remember sitting in the waiting room with my clipboard, answering questions such as, “Have you wanted to harm yourself?” As I was filling out the survey (and lying on ALL of the questions), a lady I knew in high school recognized me from across the room. I made sure my clipboard was out of sight as she began to go on and on about how happy I look and how much she loves following me on Facebook. That moment has never left my mind. It made me wonder who else had been lying just like I had been.
I don’t share this story to gain pity or even recognition of any kind. I tell this because stories are powerful. And one of the most encouraging things during my dark moments was hearing other people say, “I have truly been there too. And I made it through!” There is SO much hope in that.
Don't hide your story. Share it. Even if it isn't "finished."
Stories bring hope. They have the power to change lives.
I still battle depression on a daily basis. But the way God has taught me to fight keeps me alive and moving forward. This website is where I share that ongoing journey. Thanks for reading and stopping in. <3