I told you in my last post that my next post (this one) would be about the time I felt most lost, and the time I felt most happy.
I’d been slowly eaten by depression, up until the night of Tuesday, March 22. I was wandering much farther than I ever should have dared to wander. I wandered too far, and I got lost. My diary entries are filled with the things I wrote at a time that I was convinced I was nothing. I would lie on my bed and sob and write, because all I could do, then, was spread my tears and ink all over my diary. I spent hours soaking up my gutter. I hated life. In a particular entry, I wrote, again and again and again, “I am nothing. I am nothing. I am nothing.” Just that, for a whole page. I don’t know why I was so angry at myself. Every time I made a mistake, instead of letting it go and allowing myself to be human every once in a while, I rubbed it in and assured myself that because of this, because I hadn’t finished my homework or forgotten my stuff or not done my chores, I didn’t deserve anything. I was useless.
My mom’s outbursts didn’t help. Those two months, for some reason, she seemed particularly bitter. She seemed completely jaded to all of my insecurity and emptiness and sorrow. I doubt she really was this way. But it seemed so to me, at least, since my vision was blurred. I was watching rain through a stained-glass window.
I normally consider encouragement to help success. If I’m confident and others are confident in me, and are kind to me and encourage me, I usually do fairly well — or at least, I am content with my completed work. Because I tried. And I did it with a good attitude.
But during this phase of my life, I didn’t have a positive outlook on anything. I told myself that I should do well because I was nothing. If I didn’t do well, I told myself it was because I was such a useless piece of crap, in the way of everybody else.
This continued until one day, I thought, If I’m so useless, and get in the way of everyone else’s progress, I should just die.
I wanted to die.
I’d told myself I was nothing until I believed myself, and then I thought I should die.
Maybe the only thing that kept me from killing myself was my knowledge of the existence of hell.
I wasn’t sure, not 100%, that I would go to heaven when I died.
Would I go to hell if I committed suicide?
But I kept wanting to die. I wanted to commit suicide. But I couldn’t. Something, something deep deep inside of me — God — said, “No. No. No,” every time I said I was nothing.
You aren’t nothing. You aren’t nothing. You aren’t nothing.
I didn’t kill myself, obviously. But all I saw, everywhere I looked, was darkness.
Then came Spring Camp, on March 22. I went to that camp, what I got from my youth pastor’s first message was this:
When you tell yourself you’re nothing, you are telling Jesus that He died for no reason.
I was sitting on the floor as I listened. And right there on the floor, right in the middle of his lesson, right in the middle of all those High Schoolers and Junior Highers, right in front of God, I began to cry.
My youth pastor and God had just told me I was COMPLETELY wrong about myself.
And it was the most beautiful news I’d ever heard in my whole entire life.
I WAS NOT NOTHING!
The message ended, and my best friend and I went back to our room and I cried some more. Then I talked to my youth pastor, and he got our other pastor, and I kept crying.
I wasn’t crying because I was sad. For the first time in years, I cried because I was so, so, so, so so so so so so so SOOO relieved.
It was like I could finally breathe, finally see, finally hear. Finally LIVE.
I came home from that camp, and two days later, walked into my friend’s house. And she looked at me and she knew I was different. I was better. I was finally, finally healed. She told me that she and another friend of mine had gotten really worried about me. They were concerned about me. She said they’d been planning on literally sitting down with me and asking what on earth had happened to me. What on earth was wrong with me.
She said, “I saw you, just now, though, and I knew you were finally okay.”
I was happy. I was so, so happy. My friends, and my youth pastor, shared my happiness. They knew how much I’d changed.
My mom said she’d noticed I was sad, but she hadn’t known I was that sad before. “I wanted to talk to you,” she said, “but you were so busy pushing me away, I didn’t want to make it worse.”
I was so depressed I had scared my own family away from me.
I had been a plague.
I know that was no mere depression. “Depression” is an understatement, BIG time. That was a spiritual attack. That was Satanic. That was living death.
But once it ended, I was so happy, I was glowing. I watched a video my friend took of me after Spring Camp, and I was so different. I didn’t even LOOK like me. I looked happy. And from my experience until then, happy wasn’t something I’d have called myself. But now, I was certainly happy.
Actually, something I thought described how I felt really well was Psalm chapter 40. I found it on accident at Spring Camp, and I took it to heart. It’s become my signature chapter, I think, a chapter that means a LOT to me.
This is part of a passage from my diary, written on Monday, June 6. Around this time, I was writing A LOT. In my free time, I wrote in my diary.
“It’s like I can see. Not just happier. It’s honestly like I can SEE clearly. Like the very colors are brighter. […] All I can say is this–
“I have been saved.”
“It’s just like Psalm 40. God brought me up out of the darkness and the pit; He heard my cry, and He took my hand and pulled me close and breathed life into me.
“And I can SEE.”
Around that time, a quote popped into my head. I remembered something we’d read about, in a History book. It was some book by Albert Marrin (he’s my favorite History writer) and in the prologue, I believe, he’d said he’d found a postcard jammed in the cracks of a war memorial. On it was written a quote by Aeschylus. I loved that quote. I memorized it. I thought about it when I was saved by God from my depression. It was this:
“In our sleep, painful memories fall drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom, through the awful grace of God.”
I was relieved. Completely relieved. My arched back was straightened, the weight of depression removed from my weak, human shoulders.
One night, I wrote this poem.
That used to be me
That dead corpse laid in waste
Long given up on living free
I should perhaps have listened
The words on a page just blended
I pulled away when I could have been lifted
But then I was struck, and I broke
It’s stupid, but that took me by surprise
I stepped out of that musty cloak
You saw me, and You took my shame
Now it weighs me down no more
Now I see, all I did was
Just a game
So You took my pieces, and put them together
And now I finally see
It’s best to stay with You forever
My life might still be just a moment
But with You, it’s so much more
And You will always love it
I might just be a stupid kid
But as long as You’re with me
You’ll wipe away even the
stupidest tears I’ve cried
So I’ll reach out to touch You
For my entire life
And even though the devil will allure
Through all the pain and all the strife,
You’re here, at my side
And no, You’ll never leave me
And even those same hands
That traced the lakes upon the lands
With their time-old fingers
Will wrap themselves around my own
And there His presence lingers
So I’ll take off my own crown
And lay it at Your feet
Because, my Lord, all that I am
Cannot compare to You.