“Send me a picture, I just wanna see you. You’re not ugly why do you think that? What do you mean you hate yourself? You have no reason to be sad, there’s nothing wrong with your life. Just ignore those feelings, it will get better. You’ll feel better tomorrow. It’s just hormones. Oh you’re moody, you must be getting your period. I don’t have time to listen to your problems, in reality they’re not as significant as you make them out to be. You’re being a drama queen, there’s nothing wrong with you. You’re just looking for attention and honestly it’s annoying. Just love yourself. Why is it so hard to love yourself?”
Stop. Stop. Stop it right now. Who are you to tell me that I can’t feel this way? Who are you to tell me that this is all in my head? Who are you to tell me that my problems are insignificant? Who are you to tell me to just “get over it”? Who are you? You don’t even know me. You think you know me but you don’t. You only know what I choose to show you. I hide it so well. I hide the fact that I’m breaking down. You can’t tell. You never ask if I’m okay because to you, I’m always okay. I’m the girl with a smile on her face, who laughs through the pain, who is always there for you. You don’t know what it’s like to have a guy ask you to send him a picture of your face & meanwhile you’re totally freaking out because you just took a shower & have no makeup on & your hair is a wet mess & you’re thinking oh my god he can’t see me like this. And you don’t know what it’s like to have makeup on & think you look pretty but that little voice in your head says “no you’re not. You’re fat & ugly & worthless & no one one likes you. He doesn’t like you. You don’t even like you”. And before you know it, those voices are drowning your conscience out and you’re falling. Falling into a bottomless pit of pity & self hatred & you’re wondering how you got this way.
I hate the clinical definition of depression. I do. I’m not saying it’s wrong, I’m just saying I don’t feel like they actually understand what it’s like. Because to me depression is more than a bunch of medical terms describing my genetics and a chemical imbalance in my brain that causes me to be this way. Depression, to me, is like a cloud. And not one of those pretty, white, fluffy clouds. It’s more of a dark, rain cloud that hangs over you every day. But that rain cloud doesn’t take up the whole sky every day. Some days you can see the sun and that cloud is just there, just hanging over you but it doesn’t always rain. Some days it might drizzle but it doesn’t always pour. Oh but then there are the days when it pours and darling you don’t want to be a witness to that storm. Because when that cloud opens up & the rain begins pouring down like God is crying, you feel it. You feel it all the way to the core of your soul. You hear those voices telling you how worthless you are & how no one loves you. You feel the pain physically as the rain beats down on you and you sink onto your bathroom floor in the dark crying and you cry even harder when you realize that no one will come and save you. Darling, they can’t save you from yourself. And you cry and think about all the possible ways to end it. You could pop those pills or when you’re riding your bike down the street in the middle of the day & a car is coming your way, you don’t have to get out of the way. You could pick up that blade. You could. What’s stopping you? This isn’t some beautiful love story where a guy saves me or where I have friends who tell me to stop. Oh I was close a few times. I did want to die. But I never could go through with it. You see, I may have been far gone into the depths of my depression but a tiny part of me still had hope. That tiny piece of cliched hope where Hope would tell me “just hang on little fighter, hush darling don’t cry, you will see one day, how it will all be okay, just stay here with me. And Hope would win me over until the storm started again.
I was 13 the first time I cut myself. I didn’t even do it purpose. I was shaving my legs when I nicked myself. And boy did it sting. But it distracted me from the pain I felt. It took my focus off how much I hated myself. And that’s when it began. It gave me a release. Whenever those clouds would rain down over me, I would take that razor to my skin. I never cut myself in a place that could be seen, Oh no I was ashamed of what would happen if someone found out. I didn’t want to be seen as a disappointment even though I already felt like one. Around age 16, cutting didn’t work for me anymore. I needed something more. I was cooking one time when I burned my hand and it hurt like hell. But I realized, it distracted me from the rain cloud. As dark & disturbing as this is, I resorted to burning myself. Not in a way to be noticed, I would do it when I straightened my hair, I would lightly touch my ear or my neck or the tips of my fingers. Enough to be felt but not enough to be noticed. I wish I had some brave story of how someone noticed and got me help or told me to stop. But I don’t.
“Why do you feel this way darling? Why do you hate yourself so much?”
I could blame the way I am on so many different reasons. I could blame my biological mother for the emotional & physical pain I went through. After all she was the first one to call me worthless. I could blame my parent’s divorce. After all, how does love just end? I could even blame my dad’s remarriage. After all, how do you fall in love again? I could blame those girls and boys who made fun of me for countless & honestly looking back, quite dumb reasons in middle and high school. After all they were supposedly my friends so how could you turn on me? I could blame God. After all, how can He let this happen to me? But I won’t. Because well my mother, she is piece of work in her own right. And sure her and my father fell out of love and had their own problems but that’s not where I want to go with this. My dad fell in love again. He fell for the woman who put our family back together and who is the only woman I will ever consider my mother. After all, your family isn’t necessarily who gave birth to you but they are the people who are always there for you even after you’ve tried to push them away. And to those girls and boys who made the most of my teen years terrible, I actually thank you. You, by no means, helped my depression, however you did show me how I don’t want to treat people. And God. He made me whole again. The day I got saved, February 19, 2014, is also the last day I harmed myself. I wasn’t planning on finding God that day. I had gotten off work & had to be back at 3am the next day. My mom & siblings were going to the last night of Spring Revival at our church & I wasn’t going to go but right before they left, I went. I don’t know why I changed my mind but I’m glad I did. The message that night was directed towards relationships. Husband and wife. Siblings. Church relationships. But at the end of the message, it was about forgiveness. Forgiving others who have wronged you. Forgiving yourself. And as the invitation started and people around me begin to cry and apologize to those they have wronged and as my sister started to cry and her and my mom walked to the altar to the pray, I felt it. I felt a stirring in my heart. My eyes begin to water and it was all I could do to not break down. “Don’t let them see you cry, it’s a weakness. Why you gotta be so weak?” I heard that voice say, it was quiet, but I could hear it. I kept myself together as we all prayed and we got into the car to go home. It was quiet on the way home and the whole time I could feel my heart. I could hear each beat as I felt my soul come alive. When we got home, my mom realized we needed milk and asked me to go to the store to get some. I got in my car and started to drive to the store, my heart was beating louder than the music playing in my car. I pulled into the parking lot at the store and stopped my car. I just sat there. I was trying to calm my heart down and I don’t know what came over me but I found myself starting my car back up and driving to church. For the first time in a really long time I found myself praying and actually meaning it, praying that there would still be someone at church because that would be just my luck and then what? I’m not sure what I was trying to accomplish by going back to the church or what I wanted to say but I found myself walking back in there & I remember standing there as the one person I saw was talking to someone else and I almost left again because I felt awkward and uncomfortable standing there but something told me to wait. So I waited and when she turned around and saw me she asked if I needed something. And that’s when the tears started. The tears were falling out of my eyes like the rain fell out of those clouds and I said I needed to talk to someone and she walked me into the sanctuary and another woman joined us and I cried. For the first time in a long time, I just cried and darling it was cleansing. I told them how the message spoke to me but I left but then I came back and they asked if I was saved and I said no. And we talked and we prayed. And when we were done, I went to my car and I sat there before I left. And that’s when I realized, that God was always there. Through everything I had been through to hurting myself to hating myself and it makes me wonder if He ever felt sad when He saw me in all this pain. “I spent so much time on you so why do you hate yourself so?” is what I imagine He would say. God never left me. He was just waiting for me to be ready to be found.
I said that this wasn’t some brave story where someone saves me but that’s not true. Because I was brave when I decided enough is enough. I was brave when I decided to learn to love myself. I was brave when I decided to not hurt myself anymore. I was brave when I decided to go back to church. I was brave when I let God back into my life. I’m being brave right now by sharing my story and hoping I inspire at least one of you. I didn’t need someone else to save me because in the end I had myself, God, Hope and Faith & together we all saved me. Those clouds stay over me. Some days the sun shines and some days it rains. But even through the rain I have God & I have the determination of being a little fighter. I like to believe that everything happens for a reason. It took a lot of pain & hurt & sorrow & a lot of tears & hate but in the end, it brought me closer to God and has given me a greater appreciation of life & looking back, I would not change a single thing that has ever happened to me. Not a single one.