Diving In

“Depression: a common but serious mood disorder. It causes severe symptoms that affect how you think, feel and handle daily activities such as sleeping, eating and working.” – Mayo Clinic

Looking back, I can see symptoms of depression in myself as a child. I used to have such severe dysphoria that I would “disappear” in a sensation of floating above my body, unable to connect with others or even myself. I would pinch myself, hoping pain would connect me back to myself so that I could engage in life. Later, this would progress to cutting, burning and hitting myself to try to feel something as I became increasingly numb.
At fourteen I started therapy, ultimately working with five different professionals and methods. At fifteen I was prescribed medication, building to a higher and higher dosage over the next two years in an attempt to lift what had become a cloud encapsulating my entire life and hindering my relationships, education and even my safety from myself.

When I was sixteen I decided to recover. I wanted my life back. I wanted to pursue my dream of speaking six languages and being a writer. I accepted all the help I could get and I improved; I went for months at a time without cutting. I had been told my depression was a chronic state of chemical imbalance, but I could hope to control it and live a normal if sporadically melancholy life.
I was on the mend.

So my suicide attempt surprised even me. One day in Summer 2015 something in me very quietly snapped. I remember walking to buy paracetamol, willing someone on the street to stop me and tell me to go home, but unable to control my robotic movements. I took enough to kill a large man and went to bed.

At 2 a.m I was thrown out of bed by the convulsing pain in my belly. Lying in the hall, unable to speak, surrounded by my confused family, I prayed. Silently I cried out “God, I don’t want to die! Help!” and immediately threw up everything I’d taken.

After I came out of hospital I lapsed in and out of suicidal feelings, but I could never forget that moment of calling on God and literally being saved from death.

I went back to school and kept trying, but it wasn’t long before I fell apart again. I lost control. I was self harming in the toilet, crying in class. The drama culminated in my mother being called to take me home because I was crying too hard to talk, my overwrought teachers unsure of what to do with me.

We walked home. I remember that I cried all the way – not softly. I was sobbing. My body ached from the convulsive sobs. People stared. It was humiliating.
I had fallen apart again. I was losing everything: my friends, education, my dreams. And it wasn’t just my life that was unravelling around me; I myself had come apart inside so completely that there was nothing I could do to fight back the cloud that had now shrouded me so totally that I had lost all sight of the future.

I accepted defeat and left school.

Then a series of strange circumstances led me to Amsterdam. I applied to a Discipleship Training School, a course about “knowing God and making Him known”. I experienced, through layers of pain and bitterness, the presence of a kind, loving God who heals us inside. I began to hear His voice in my heart as I received His love. I stopped taking medication as I began to believe that I could be fully healed instead of just surviving. I was changing.

As a school we traveled to Asia to meet people, learn more and share what we knew of God’s love, but I crashed again in Bangkok. I remember sitting alone, holding onto the couch as mosquitoes feasted on my ankles. I held on because two floors higher there was a roof with a low wall and the familiar suicidal pull scared me.
After a while something prompted me to find my friends. And something amazing happened. Surrounded by people praying for my healing, the cloud lifted. In my mind’s eye I saw it go – not thinning or moved by a sunny day or a kind word – rising and shrinking out of sight. I haven’t seen it since.

A new world has been opened to me. I laugh every day; on the rare occasions when there’s nothing to laugh at, I laugh at nothing. I have a hope and a future.

Every morning I wake up and choose to get up and live fully the life I’ve been given: a life that’s painfully flawed but gloriously beautiful. And I pray again a prayer I’ve prayed several times in the past months. I pray for myself and for every beautiful soul I get to meet the prayer that another person who was transformed by God’s love prayed for a group of people he loved: “That you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend what is the width and length and depth and height – to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge.” – Ephesians 4:17-21

I contemplate the vastness of that love and its power to change and redeem any life. And I dive in.

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2 thoughts on “Diving In

  1. I sobbed reading this. I have no words to express how elated I am at what the Lord has done in you! Truly…no words. Thank you for opening your heart and making yourself vulnerable like this. Make no mistake, the Lord will impact many people’s lives and your own again through your story.
    We overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.
    I love you and am so encouraged that the Lord has got a hold of you and will never let go! I am so overjoyed for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for writing honestly and openly about your struggles but mostly about the amazing rescue that God has and continues to bring into your life. It is wonderful. In my thoughts. Love Gill

    Like

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