When I was 17 years old, I decided I wanted to die.
For over a year I had struggled with a deep sadness, later diagnosed as dysthymic disorder, a low-grade, chronic depression.
The diagnosis of this less severe form of depression was a slap in the face to me, a senior in high school who believed chronic meant I would always be depressed.
Painfully self-aware, I hated my body, my mind and my identity. The future stretched before me, a bleak, gray, interminable landscape. I decided a life like I pictured was not worth living, and I thought it courageous of me to choose my own ending.
A switch in medication provided enough of an altered mentality for me to gather the courage to attempt suicide. First, I cut down on eating. I decided if I were to die, at least I would be thinner.
Days later, I realized how long starving myself to death would take, so I stopped drinking water. I even brewed myself disgustingly strong coffee to further dehydrate myself.
Then I took pills. My antidepressants, leftover pain medication, muscle relaxers, and a couple dozen ibuprofen for good measure.
Still, the medication did not take effect for hours. I wandered by the railroad tracks near my home and thought of heaven. Later that night, I became dizzy and started vomiting in the shower. Suddenly, I knew I couldn’t die.
I told my mother what I’d done, and she rushed me to the emergency room. As we waited, I forbade her from crying.
I spent hours in the ER with an IV in my arm, vomiting as the room spun and visions danced on the walls.
It was only later, in the psych ward I’d been taken to for observation, that I realized what I’d done. I sobbed and pleaded with a doctor to let me out—I couldn’t compromise my athletic and scholastic collegiate opportunities—all to no avail.
Nearly 72 hours later, I left the hospital with my mom, and a new lease: I was going to make my life count.
But that wasn’t the end of the story. No matter the goodness in my life, still I fought darkness with all my might.
I struggled the summer before college, hurting myself as punishment for my perceived deficiencies. And I struggled in college, swinging from high to low, seeking only to numb the pain and distract myself from the voice that whispered death inside my head.
Only later did I acknowledge that voice for what it was: the devil.
Depression is a physical disease, but it’s more than that. It’s a spiritual attack from the devil, who seeks only to steal joy, leaving a void within.
Once I saw myself for what I truly am—a sinner, saved by the grace of God with an identity in Jesus Christ—was I able to love myself as Christ loves me.
And once I did that, I equipped myself to fight depression with truth.
The devil told me I was worthless: God says I have immeasurable value.
The devil told me I was ugly and disgusting: God says I am beautiful, full of His glory.
The devil told me I should die: God says I will live forever in the light of His love.
God has given us the power of medicine to fight a physical illness, but He also gives us the authority of His name and truth to drive out darkness. Both are necessary to battle depression.
Here’s my opinion: Depression can be fought, even staved off, without God, but cannot truly be conquered without His power.
Darkness is temporary, and can always be driven out by the light. Do not give up; the night will always pass.
As for me, I no longer live with the depression I thought would control my life. Though I go through periods of darkness, I am always able to see the light of God’s grace and goodness. He gave me a second chance in life, and He has the power to do that for everyone.
Hope springs eternal.
7 Replies to “Hope Springs Eternal”
Brooke you are so brave to share your story! I never would have imagined you have experienced such lows — you have such a glowing light about you. I am so glad you are seeing that. As Sarah knows I like to put post-it notes all over the house with little sayings and reminders — one such post -it reads “May you respond to the call of your gift and find the courage to follow its path.” I think you are doing that in a big way!
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Another note — I lost my mother to suicide and it has always brought me to tears knowing she died this way– even to this day. I am so glad you do not feel like ending your life this way — it is a very lonely place to be.
I am so sorry to hear that, thank you for sharing. It’s obvious Sarah got her open, loving personality from you! I appreciate the kind words; I felt like it was time to make it open so I could be a resource to others.
Very surprising yet described in such words of a good writer, I believe you. You do not look like you could have ever been depressed. Anyone as beautiful , fit,smart, and so sweet as you, why would you think in that way? .I am glad you are better physically, and in mind about this. Seems you have it together , looking forward to a great Life, I am so glad. “You’ve Only Just Begun” .
I too suffer from severe depression all my adult life. Starting as I heard silence in my Memphis Apt. recovering from a C-section , and having delivered a beautiful 12 lb. 8 oz. darling baby girl with head full of hair……I ran into Kelly’s room to find her chest and face half blue. I was in shock, froze, then called for help. After the funeral , I put a gun to my head with every intent to pull the trigger of the loaded 45 Smith and Wesson . Only to be stopped by my husband. Fell into deep dark depression . Move forward, I was getting thru life finding happiness again with my two sons . On to 2009 when my Army son was in Iraq and hit by an IED. This child now 37 I raised and loved so, a Fallen Soldier . Now I am a Gold Star Mom. . Depression has consumed me , 9 years in April, but I still cry every day as people say to me “Oh I just don’t see how you can stand losing two Children”
…….I can’t stand it !, but what am I to do.? We have two choices in life, “forget it”, or “do something about it.”. Never will I forget either , never!!.
Joyce! Thank you for sharing too. I certainly don’t have it all together, but I have perspective and so much hope for not just the future of this world, but what is to come next. I’m so glad we met, you have obviously been through a lot and are still going. I believe there’s a reason for that. Sending you lots of love and hugs.