TRIGGER WARNING: This post includes information about suicidal ideation. If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, please get help. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifelline at 1 (800) 273-8255. You can also call 911 or go to the emergency room where care is mandatory.
I never thought I would make it to 35. I don’t know where this thought came from but I never saw myself as someone who entered the second third of their life. I could see my young adult years clearly but I couldn’t envision being the age I am now. I used to think that I would be married with kids. That all changed after my divorce, which became official three years ago this month. In addition to that, the more I learned to embrace the fullness of who I am, the further away I got from the vision of being a mother. I don’t know that I’m cut out to parent. In many ways, my life has gone in a direction that I never could have imagined and for that I am grateful. But I never thought I would make it to see myself where I am today. My depression convinced me that my life wasn’t worth living.
Suicidal thoughts used to run rampant though my mind. I would imagine how I would kill myself – nothing too messy or painful. A drug overdose would be right up my alley. I imagined going to sleep and never waking up. I didn’t think I would really be missed. I haven’t shared this reality with many but it’s my truth. For so long I thought my life was a mistake and that I would be better off if I killed myself.
I honestly don’t know where these thoughts come from. I don’t know why mental illness is my shadow. I don’t know why there is a heaviness of my soul when I am not well; a heaviness that threatens to choke the life right out of me. I don’t know how I got to be this way or what it means for my future.
I do know this though – I believe that God walks with me, in the valley of the shadow of death and that I shall fear nothing. It’s easier said than believed at times but it’s all I’ve got.
I woke up this morning thanking God for my life – for all of my life. I thanked God for my family and for my friends; for the people who continually show up in my life in ways that are downright overwhelming; for those who give to me as much as I give to them; for experiences that allow me to connect with various communities; for my story, which continues to teach me about grace, compassion and love. I woke up thanking God today that I’ve made it this far and asking that my life be a blessing to others so that people know that they are not alone and that there is s a God who walks with them, even in the darkest moments.
I also woke up this morning praying for my sisters and brothers who have taken their lives; for those who have lost the battle against mental illness; for their families and those who love them.
The more I learn and experience, the less I know to be true without a shadow of a doubt. Today, the only thing I can say is that God’s grace is amazing and I am oh so thankful. You are in my thoughts and prayers as you come to embrace your WHOLE self and recognize that you are worthy and loved and enough.