when i said good morning, i was lying[…] You grip my wrists,
i was truly thinking of how i might quit waking up
He pointed out how selfish it would be to kill myself
so i keep waking up.
i let go.
—much like falling, flyleaf
This past week, a few things have happened.
1) Today is Bell Let’s Talk Day to bring stories of mental health to the forefront and decrease stigma around mental health issues until we end them. This post is being triggered by #BellLetsTalk, but it’s a story I would have told this week anyways.
2) I hung out with Richard, a conversation which brought forth a lot of reflections on my own faith story.
3) I read The Reason: How I Discovered a Life Worth Living by Lacey Sturm. It made me think, a lot, and reflect on a lot of my own testimony and beliefs.
4) The previous two points, and other conversations throughout the week, prompted me to start taking a look at the Bible again—something I have not done in over a year.
What do these things have in common? Everything.
The summer of ’05 was probably the worst time of my life. For a host of reasons, I was constantly in a state of emotional shakiness—and then, depression and numbness. I was fourteen. I spent a week at a Bible camp after declaring myself an atheist a few months earlier. I resented slowing down each day during cabin time/bible exploration. I sang during worship each night—sometimes—but mostly just enjoyed the music while blocking the words out. I didn’t need God, because God did not exist to me. I struggled the rest of the summer—I contemplated ending my life, but I wasn’t yet at the dangerous step of contemplating how.
A month later, I couldn’t run anymore. I still didn’t even really believe in God, yet I threw myself at Him saying “If You’re real, please show me what to do.”
Around 10:30 PM on September 7th, 2005, I changed. I changed in the fact that I no longer wanted to stop being here.
Still doubting—He made me believe.
Yet He loves me despite it all. He loves me enough that He opened my heart that September day in 2005 by telling me that I didn’t have to end my story then and there. That He alone could get me through everything I was facing–lighten my darkness, take the depression, and heal my grandma of the cancer that invaded her for a few more years.
I’m living a life that six years ago I’d have never dreamed. I’ve had amazing ups, and I’ve had huge downs. I’ve learned, I’ve grown, I’ve danced, I’ve cried. I’ve reached my arms to the sky in worship and fallen to my knees in desperation.
I’ve created new chapters of the same story that God is writing.
I am ALIVE.
Did I have clinical depression? At that point, I don’t think so.
Would I have gotten to that point? I don’t doubt it.
Mental health issues need to be treated in partnership with someone who is adequately trained to address them. Medication is not the only solution: but not talking about what you are facing is never a solution. I dodged a bullet: just because I began to believe Jesus, believe in His healing, though, does not at all mean that I should have continued without a support system around me.
Even though I didn’t know it then, I have ADHD: 20 to 30% of people with ADHD will experience depression or anxiety alongside their attention problems. After starting ADHD medication, my psychiatrist noted that I seemed to be less anxious—I didn’t think I was anxious (I’ve experienced that alongside a very mild case of disordered eating when I was sixteen, and this was not at all like that), but she continued on to note that it was likely the ADHD symptoms creating the now less-present anxiety. I do not at all doubt, or disagree with, this.
For me, these things all go hand in hand. My life, my faith, my mental health—my story. The person I am today is different because of all of the above—yet, I would not want to be the person who I’d be without facing my past.
Rock version or acoustic, the words in the two versions of Red Sam below are pretty much the same—the message definitely is. My story is a lot like Lacey Sturm’s. I have a post coming up on worship (soon!) and these both exemplify so, so strongly the way I respond during worship
I’m still alive. The world needs YOU to continue your story, too.
Stay. Be here. There is HOPE in finding help. (usa)
here i stand
wishing my wrists were bleeding
to stop the pain from the beatings
there You stood holding me
waiting for me to notice You
but who are You?
You are the Truth
outscreaming these lies.
You are the Truth
saving my life.
the warmth of Your embrace
warms my frostbitten spirit
You speak the Truth and i hear it
the words are
“i love You,
and i have to believe in You.”
my hands are open,
and You are filling them
hands in the air
in the air, in the air, in the air.
and i worship
and i worship
and i worship
red sam, flyleaf.