When I was in the depths of my depression a few months ago, I had thought of three ways I could end my life without my kids finding me. I reasoned that it would be better for them than being raised by a mentally broken mother. I had convinced myself that it would be less selfish to take my life than to subject my children to my flaws and potentially raise them to be the bad person I was. This was my rock bottom. This is a very heart-breaking but real look at mental illness. I know people who have lost loved ones because they took their own lives. I have seen the devastation that it brings. I know the darkness that that hole leaves behind.
If you saw me during that time, you probably observed me as being relatively healthy. I was more withdrawn, I didn’t talk to people when I was out and about. I made it a point to keep to myself. I went through the motions of survival only, caring for my kids’ physical needs but any emotional support they needed, was beyond me. When they’d bicker or refuse to eat what I made for dinner, I would run to my room and scream into a pillow. I’d battle a panic attack until Scott came home to pick up the pieces. I showered each day, although some people going through this stop doing that too. But I made sure people didn’t know how bad it was. I couldn’t handle much beyond that. When friends would call me, I’d tell them I was good but busy; “Just focusing on my family.” I pushed people away because I didn’t even think I deserved friends anymore. No one knew how bad it was and I didn’t want to dump my toxicity into their lives.
I am opening up about this today because I want you to know you are not alone. Ever. No matter what you are going through, no matter how isolated you feel, you are loved (maybe not by everyone, but you need to get over that) and you’re needed in this world. It doesn’t matter how bad things get. If you are still drawing breath and have a heartbeat, there is purpose for you. God isn’t done with you. And if you’re not spiritual, this world isn’t done with you either.
I wasn’t especially spiritual at that time. I have gone through phases of my life when I really haven’t had much faith in God or his purpose for me. But it’s funny, He keeps finding His way back into my heart.
One morning, I remember it well… just before the kids’ Christmas break, I got them out the door for school, I was sobbing and yelling at God, “Why did you make me this weak person? Why did you give me so much brokenness? No one can handle this heaviness! Why give me these flaws when you know I’m not strong enough to handle them?”
I heard this voice right next to me: “You’re right. No one can handle this alone. That’s why I am here with you. And I didn’t give you these flaws. I only gave you freedom of choice. You decide how far you want to run away from me. But I’m always here, waiting for you and I’ll lead you home.”
I know it sounds crazy, I do. I would have read that a while back and thought, “Ok. This lady is off her rocker!” But it wasn’t where I was yet. This voice spoke to me. And I say “He” only because this is how we usually reference God. It wasn’t really a man’s voice. And when I say it was a “voice,” it was actually more of a crystal clear thought I’d never had before and likely wouldn’t have come to on my own, especially not at that time. But it stopped my crying instantly, like a toddler being told, “I have chocolate for you!” in the middle of a temper tantrum, and made me still for the first time in ages. I felt a sense of peace from nowhere come over me.
Now it didn’t stay. Probably within minutes, I was back to questioning everything, but I kept coming back to that message throughout the week…
And it was weird. I had a friend at that time who told me in a text, “It’s time to do the work.” And the message of “Do the work,” kept popping up everywhere I’d go; on signs, magazine ads, instagram posts, even graffiti. And let me tell you, it was work. I had to face some ugly demons within myself. I had to open up to a therapist, a total stranger, and I was filled with skepticism but I decided I was out of options. I had to “do the work.” What I had been doing before wasn’t working. I went back to church. Scott and I went to a new church and the message humbled us. I have no doubt that God led us there.
I still struggle with feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt, but I’m getting faster at tuning into the divine energy that I felt that morning, the one with the chocolate promise of hope and love. I want you to feel inspired to be open to that voice in your own life. Please, don’t give up.
When I tell you these stories, it’s not to seek attention. It’s to encourage you to keep working on yourself and not to settle for mere survival in your life. We are created for more than that. Our mission here is to touch the hearts of others in whatever way we can. I know God is using my brokenness to help heal others. I am so humbled by those of you who send me messages and tell me that you are going through something similar and thank you for giving it a voice.
I am not here to tell you I am healed. I am healing. Maybe I will always be. I am turning my self-pity into compassion for others. Our experience in this world is shared by many. The stories all look a little different, but the emotions are the same.
Do your work. Don’t shy away from it just because it’s hard. Do it because a beautiful, vibrant existence is waiting for you on the other side of whatever hell you’re going through.