The passing of Robin Williams brought me to tears last night.
Today, I want to share my story with depression.
As I even think about writing this there's a lump in my throat.
I'm afraid that I'll offend or upset people close to me.
More so though I'm afraid of the judgement.
I fully believe that judgement isn't for anyone else but God to make.
I don't want to live a life where I don't share my story because I'm afraid.
So here I am, sharing my story, hoping that maybe it will help someone else.
To some, this may be graphic (FYI).
Please be kind.
It started in sixth grade.
I didn't know what it was, all I knew is that I felt terribly sad.
I would sit in the bottom of my bunk bed and cry even though I was told to stop crying.
When I was home alone I would lightly run a knife blade over my wrist.
In school I'd pretend that my hand was a gun and like I was shooting myself in the head.
My gym teacher used to call me "smiley" in school, but then one day,
I remember overhearing her tell my music teacher that I had an attitude.
I'll never forget hearing those words and wishing everything was different.
My teacher informed the school counselor of my issues and I talked to her a few times.
I didn't know how to express myself though, not even through all the talking.
I didn't know how to explain...
That even though my parents divorced when I was two,
it was still hard and it affected me, especially because my dad wasn't really there.
How angry I was with my dad because I didn't get to see my half brother.
He cheated on his mom too and they moved away because of it.
That the death of my friend, when I was in third grade, still made my heart ache.
How getting my heart broken by a boy, hurt. Even though I was only in 6th grade.
I didn't know how to express what my heart was feeling when it came to any of it.
All I knew was that I was sad, but I wasn't suppose to cry, according to some.
I wish things had gotten better after that.
I wished that a lot growing up, but things seemed to only get worse.
In junior high school I struggled with making friends.
Mostly, I think it was because I was depressed and that's hard for people,
especially young people, to know how to handle.
I don't blame the friends I lost because I do know it's tough.
Because of this I spent a lot of time on the internet and really without supervision.
I spent a lot of time in chat rooms and talked to a lot of people I shouldn't have.
Once I talked to a guy and gave him my phone number.
He called me (I had my own phone line at the time) and we talked often on the phone.
My parents came to know about him.
Somehow we were allowed to meet (with limited supervision) and we began dating.
Did I mention he was eighteen and I was fifteen?
Not the best decision because really, I was still a child.
He wasn't and things happened that shouldn't have.
I won't go into detail here about that, because its something that's still hard for me.
Plus, I'm assuming you guys don't need explanation of that one.
Poor choices were made by many and I take some responsibility in that,
but I was still a child and pretty immature when it came to everything it involved.
When things ended in that "relationship" my heart was broken.
I'd never felt a pain so bad in my entire life.
I just wanted someone to love me.
I didn't understand why he didn't love me or what was wrong with me.
This was something I've struggled with greatly most of my life, until now.
I became more depressed and started cutting myself.
My parents tried to help, but really I don't think they knew how to handle it all.
I was put on medicine, went to counseling, was in the hospital for a little bit.
Some days I felt better, but mostly I just felt like I was in a dark hole of great blackness.
Things didn't get better for a while.
I struggled with deep depression until I was a senior in high school.
I cut myself a lot and wished I would die.
I would lie in my bed crying at night, praying to God, asking Him to just let me die.
Things got better until I went to college and then the hardest part of my life hit me square in the face.
^^^Me, my junior year of college^^^
In all honesty when I first went to Tabor, a private Christian college,
I thought life would be so much better.
I had become a Christian my senior year and I felt more happy that I'd been in a long time.
The struggle was still there, but I didn't want to die anymore.
Then I met him and my world completely tumbled down around me.
I'm hesitant to write about this relationship.
It not only caused me pain, but has caused others pain as well.
I dated him (I don't say his name anymore) off and on until my senior year of college.
We broke up and got back together probably twenty times over the course of three years.
Part of me doesn't remember a lot about it because in order to deal with it, I think I blocked a lot out.
I remember making poor choices with him,
that again left me wishing there was a bridge to jump off from.
I remember being called a slut and bitch by him. Often.
I remember him playing cruel jokes on me just because he could.
I remember the lies he'd tell me and how he'd laugh at me.
I remember him telling me he loved me,
yet I was always left wondering if it was just so he could get what he wanted.
I became so depressed in college.
Instead of going to class, I would sit in my dorm and cry or sleep.
Instead of having fun, I'd slip into the bathroom and slit my wrist.
It was apparent that I needed help and I tried, but nothing seemed to help.
I felt like I was drowning in darkness.
I felt smothered by the pain of it all and struggled with functioning.
It's something I can't really explain, the weight I had on my heart.
I didn't think the darkness would ever let up.
I never thought I'd stop crying tears or that I'd want to live.
I was so confused about what love was.
I thought I was in love and that he loved me.
I was wrong in that.
Love doesn't call you names.
Love doesn't play cruel jokes on you.
Love doesn't make you feel worthless.
Love doesn't cause you harm.
Love doesn't make you want to end your life.
It wasn't love.
It was only me searching for love.
It was only me confused about love because I'd never knew anything else.
It was only him hurting me because he was hurt and hurting people, hurt people.
I wish that I'd been able to pull myself out of the relationship,
but I hadn't been able to. Not until the summer after my junior year.
That summer he played the cruelest joke on me and something in me was just done.
I can't bring myself to go into detail here about it because it's a very private matter.
I made poor choices and literally thought I was going to die soon because of those choices.
That summer I spent all my extra time sobbing in my bed or in the shower, so no one would hear me.
I would journal my prayers to God.
My journal from that time is full of hurt, anger, and fear.
It was one of my lowest moments in life,
that summer but also when I was the closest to God.
I prayed and cried out to God so much then.
He was there always and I'm thankful that He carried me through it all.
I struggled with this throughout my senior year,
but again I didn't know how to express it all.
I started drinking in college because it was the only way I could cry.
I had stuffed my feelings down so far, that drinking was the only way the tears fell.
My senior year was a mess and I left college even a bigger mess than when I had started.
^^^ Friends that helped carry me through^^^
I came back home after college, still struggling.
I was depressed and angry.
I was scared for my future and what my life would look like.
Then, I met my husband and I was even more fearful.
We hung out a lot and talk about all things.
I shared with him about my past.
I shared all the mistakes, all the pain, all the times I hurt myself.
He listened and loved me nonetheless.
He told me he wanted to marry me and I thought he was nuts.
He still pursued me and showed me what real love was suppose to be like.
I don't know why God placed James in my life.
I didn't expect him to come into my life.
I didn't believe that anyone could ever truly love me.
But God did and James does love me more than anyone ever has.
Sometimes I still struggle with depression.
At times, it can be because of my past or circumstances in life.
Other times it washes over me for reasons I cannot pinpoint.
It can be a daily struggle to get out of bed or to not cause harm to myself.
Often the only way I can deal with it all is talking to my husband
and journaling my prayers.
There's usually always tears involved.
I don't always win, but I have good support from my husband and my God.
This is my story when it comes to depression.
It's been hard and I know throughout my life it will be a struggle.
I know that some of these issues (maybe a lot of them) are because of choices I've made.
I'm not happy with all the choices I've made in my life.
I know many may think, "You're a Christian and you did that?"
To that I say, I'm not perfect. I'm human. I'm a sinner.
Even though I don't necessarily believe God wanted all these things in my life,
He has used it to shape my life and who I am.
I fully believe that all these struggles, all the depression,
led me to where I am in my life and this life I have,
it's not always easy, but it's a blessing.
This is just a glimpse of my story.
Like I said, it hasn't been easy, but I believe the story has shaped my life.
If you struggle with depression please reach out to someone, anyone, even if it's here.
I wouldn't have gotten through these times in my life without reaching out.
I had good friends in college who were there for me.
I've also had my husband and my God to help carry me.
I know I wouldn't have made it without them.
If you struggle, reach out. If you know someone struggling, each out.
Also be nicer than you feel because you may never know if someone is struggling.
You may just save a life this way.