have you ever found yourself asking any of the following questions?
what on earth am i here for? to suffer? is there really light at the end of EVERY tunnel? is this all there is to life? would anyone miss me if i was gone? how can so much hate fit inside this mind? will i always feel damaged? will the tears ever end? do hearts really heal? what did i do to deserve this? in a room full of people -why do i feel so alone? would this world be better -if i was never born? why cant i be normal? why is it that even while everyday life around me might not be horrible – the tight grip of deep pain and sadness are making me miserable anyway? will i always be this unlucky? can life ever really get better? what would be quickest and least painful way to kill myself?
for a long time i did everything possible to keep my emotional wounds covered up with the bandage of a superficial life.
yet underneath the surface – the wounds still festered.
i wanted to just forget the past. i believed (hoped) that eventually “time would heal all wounds”. I WAS WRONG.
eventually – i got sick of faking my smile. i didnt want to rain on anyone’s parade – so i ran away – from everyone.
i struggled to hold on – alone.
i questioned my existence. i questioned my Creator.
at that time - i wrote these thoughts down in a journal:
i dont even know who i am – when will this end? when will my happy mask be replaced with the real thing? when will i rest in peace ? when will my eyes stop filling with tears for every thought? why does life hurt so much? i cant take it. i am tired of pretending that i will be ok … because even if its true -i dont FEEL it. i am sad that my hope – has run out. i cant hear you anymore God -my head is too full of thoughts – thoughts of hatred, anger, pain, loss, and sadness. i am like two people – one can fight this – the other is lost, scared, and hides away – not wanting to face this day. why must i feel alone? for how long? when can i feel – i put this part of me away? everyone betrays. no one is faithful. no one truly loves. Anger overwhelms me. im afraid of myself – what i might do. God – can you hear me? i cant hold on much longer…Do you care? Do you even notice me???”
i am not ashamed to admit – i wanted to die. i begged God to put me out of my misery. i wrestled with thoughts of suicide.
i searched my soul and could not find a reason to chose life.
i hated myself. and i hated everybody else.
some people say suicide is a selfish act. some people say suicide is a sin. some people say suicide is the ultimate cry for attention.
i believe – suicide is an attempt at escape – from intense feelings of deep painful heartache and / or extreme worthlessness.
i believe suicide is a critical decision – made – while under the influence – of mental illness.
those who have never pondered these restless thoughts – may find it difficult to understand…
i remember revealing some of these feelings to a “close friend” – i cannot forget that he told me to just quit dwelling on the negative – and ” think positive “! wow – now why didn’t i think of that before ? at first i was angry that he would think all of my feelings were my choice to feel. that i had the power to just eliminate them with one simple action. later i realized that many people who have never experienced mental illness often judge or criticize others who do- simply because they cannot comprehend it.
clinical depression is not something we can control. it can be caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain and/or in combination with a pain filled past. depression has a way of fogging up or distorting our view -on everything. i actually believed – no one would miss me if i was gone. my wounds were deep – some of them were gushers. i was embarrassed/ashamed that i couldnt just pull it together. i felt like the only one. especially around groups of Christians. i walked away from the church – because everyone else seemed to have life together and mine was falling apart under me. i cried out to God for help – with no result. God chose not to bring healing to my life. i felt betrayed.
after the death of his wife C.S. Lewis wrote:
“where is God? … Go to Him when your need is desperate, when all other help is vain, and what do you find? A door slammed in your face, and a sound of bolting and double bolting on the inside. after that, SILENCE.”
although i believe that God has the power to immediately heal our emotional damage – i now also believe He has purpose in our pain and in His silence….
as if depression wasnt enough – i also experienced severe anxiety ( panic disorder ). my panic attacks could come as frequently as 3 times a day. they consisted of chest pain or pressure, nausea / stomach cramping, difficulty breathing, racing heart, feeling overheated/ sweating but shivering, with extreme and overwhelming FEAR. i also have whats known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. i learned that after traumatic experiences -the fear center of our brains (amygdala ) can be sort of rewired. then usually due to certain “triggers” it can misfire – sending the message to our body – to panic ( feels like the same fear we sensed during that previous traumatic event ).
things getting worse ( and not better ) – was my proof that hiding my pain or trying desperately to ignore it – does not make it go away. it is not TIME that heals all wounds.
my story doesnt end here.
I FOUND HOPE.
the panic attacks disrupting my daily life – pushed me to seek help. i saw a psychiatrist that put me on medication for both depression and anxiety. this helped alot.
recently i read a book called “God is closer than you think” by John Ortberg. he writes: Lewis Smedes was a teacher of mine in seminary, one of the best writers and preachers i have ever known. Even though he was brilliant and accomplished and devoted to God, he suffered from a sense of inadequacy that at times grew into deep depression. At one point in his life he stopped preaching because he felt unqualified. God came to him through two avenues. One was a three-week experience of utter solitude, where he heard God promise to hold him up so vividly that as he put it, he felt lifted from a black pit straight up into joy. The other avenue he describes this way: ” I have not been neurotically depressed since that day, though i must, be honest, and tell you that God also comes to me each morning and offers me a 20mg capsule of Prozac. He clears the garbage that accumulates in the canals of my brain overnight and gives me a chance to get a fresh morning start. i swallow every capsule with gratitude to God.” i love the picture Lew paints. I used to think that taking Prozac would be a sign of weak faith in God. But what if Prozac might be, not a subsitute for God, but his gift? What if refusing might be spurning his hand because of pride? Maybe God is present in wise doctors and medications that makes synapses and neurotransmitters work right. Maybe weakness is really refusing – out of our own blindness and stubborness – the help that God is offering!
someone i trusted said that i was experiencing panic disorder due to my lack of faith -that i merely wasnt trusting God enough….
this reminds me of a story my dad once told us. a story chuck swindoll shared about a blind woman that called him. she said that her friends told her – that she lacked faith- because – if she had enough faith -she would/could be healed or gain sight. chuck replied ” do you use a walking stick? ” she said yes. then he responded ” next time your friends say this – hit them over the head with your walking stick and tell them if they had enough faith – it wouldnt hurt ! “
i also needed a psychologist to help me take off the bandage and treat the wounds correctly. i had to face my past. i had to talk about how i got those ugly wounds so that the healing could begin. it was painful – just as it is painful cleaning out a wound. she asked me questions to sort through my thoughts. she helped me to understand that many of the things i believed about myself were related to my wounds – and not TRUE. she taught me to recognize my triggers and to find ways to overcome/control them. she validated my feelings – and helped me realize it was “normal” for me to be experiencing all that i was – because pain has consequence. i finally began to find healing….
God chose to work through others in my healing. eventually i felt Him join in the process – and i realized that He was there all along. I believe He allowed me to suffer – He allowed me this pain – all the while knowing i would come out stronger and with a desire to help others who are wounded. of course the pain will never be forgotten – but those wounds are no longer open and bleeding.
He turned my wounds into scars.
they serve as a reminder of where ive been, and where others remain.
Scars : A scar results from the process of wound repair. Thus, scarring is a natural part of the healing process. Every wound results in some degree of scarring.