I was 21, and contemplating and standing in the dog food aisle, when I realised that I did not want to kill myself anymore.
I remember the moment clearly; I can even picture the bag of dog food I was examining when I realised that I did not want to die, that I wanted to take another shot at life.
I wanted to breathe, to live, and to stop wishing cars would run me over when I walked to university.
When I was growing up – blowing bubbles, climbing jungle gyms and jumping on trampolines – I never imagined that at 21 I would be unraveling like the hem of my trouser leg and needing to crawl home for some love and repair and hope.
I was broken and shattered. I was unbalanced and confused and bewildered because my dreams had plunged like the neckline of a prostitute’s dress.
I was depressed
I did not know what to do next, or who I was, or what life meant.
I was undefined. I recall sitting for what seemed like three weeks, but was probably only three days and writing the same words over and over.
I wrote these words in big letters; I wrote them in small; I wrote them in journals and on the walls.
I scribbled these words in pencil and painted them in scarlet red; I typed them and printed them and wrote them on my heart.
These are the words that I stole from a shepherd boy who became a King:
God, you know when I can’t get up and when I spring out of bed;
you recognise my thoughts from among millions.
Nothing about me is strange to you God.
You could start my sentences you know me so well…
there is nowhere I can go to get away from you God,
no where I can crawl that you could not find me
and follow me into…
You created me, stitch by stitch,
moulded my arms and legs and liver and placed jewels in my eyes…
all the days that you have given to me were planned
before I drew a breath.
I knew only one thing at the time
Even today there are times when I know nothing else but this one thing. I do not understand it. I cannot explain it easily. And I wrestle and grapple and argue about it constantly with myself, with others, and with Jesus.
The one thing I knew then, that I still know now, was that when I was stumbling through my life, when I was wandering in darkness, Jesus was with me and he liked me very much.
Jesus was with me and I was not alone
I do not know how Jesus happened to be there, and I do not know how he found me; all I know is that he was there.
Sometimes it felt like I was alone; it felt like even hope had left me. I told you this was a hard one for me to explain. But even when I felt alone I knew I wasn’t alone. I knew that Jesus was sitting right outside the door, waiting for me find the energy to unlock it, and invite him in.
Sometimes my life still makes no sense to me. Often I feel myself battling the darkness, but I know now that I don’t fight it back alone; Jesus is with me.
Some other posts on depression I’ve found helpful this week:
- In which depression is not your fault by Sarah Bessey
- What the Church & Christians Need to Know About Suicide & Mental Health by Ann Voskamp:
- The depressed Christian: why the dark night is no measure of your soul by Megan Tietz: