I’m standing in church singing songs about a God who has never felt farther away when I notice the deep new cuts in my right leg soaking through the bandages and my jeans. The world softens and fades. I grab my purse and rush for the back doors, but I’m too late. Chairs scuffle as I lose consciousness.
When I come to in the church lobby, the lies bubble up immediately: I missed breakfast this morning. Please don’t call anybody. I’m okay. Please notice. No, please don’t notice. One woman sees my bloody sock but doesn’t say anything. I drive home in tears, re-bandage my leg, and wonder why I bother with this charade when no one knows me or cares about me —least of all, God.
It is still difficult to put myself back in that memory, and the hundreds like it. Those years were extraordinarily painful. I had all but given up on ever finding peace. I was too screwed up and too alone. I assumed I would be dead by suicide before age 20.
The road to where I am today was long. I had to learn a lot, and in my stubbornness, I had to learn it all the hard way. But little by little, through sleepless nights and painful conversations and hospitals and tears, the lies fell away. And the truth that I found saved my life.
Truth #1: Having depression doesn’t mean I’m doing something wrong.
“Your grandmother used to cry and get very sad,” my dad tells me. “I didn’t know what was wrong.” He only understood later, when the depression came for him, as I did when it came for me at age 13. Suddenly the world lost its color. Everything seemed heavy —pointless —sad and dark. I cried and didn’t know why. I felt lost. I ached and couldn’t explain it.