The following post is serious in content. Now that I am pretty much out of the woods, I think of my story as a testimony of what God can do in the lives of the hopeless.
As the school year comes to an end, I cannot help but look back at the person I was when the year first started. My roommate and I went through hell and back, but we always stuck together despite everything. I really don’t know how I made it through the year… Only by the grace of God did I literally make it out alive.
I look back at it now and I realize that it has been one of the toughest years. I can honestly say I hit rock bottom and kept hitting rock bottom. I was just talking to my roommate and we were discussing how this year happened. Most people in my life that were not in direct contact with me during a good chunk of my year don’t know, but I was suicidal to the point that I can honestly tell you that I had a bottle of pills in my hand ready to take and end it all.
After Natalie’s death, everything went downhill. While I was home for Christmas break, I was able to hide it pretty well to the point that all people could see was the sadness from losing a best friend and the tragedy of having my dad in the hospital. But deep down I was going down so fast that I didn’t know if I would make it through to see Spring Break. The loss of a great friend brought forward lots of things that I had suppressed and just ignored. Her death though caused all those things to come up and it was time for me to deal with. I didn’t want to though. The thought of it scared me to death.
I mourned her death for months afterwards. As my friendships with the girls we hung out with were spiraling out of control, I forgot who I was. I forgot all the things that I had been able to accomplish in not only life, but my spiritual walk with God. Though I clung to Him, especially after I found out about my dad’s cancer, I didn’t trust Him to fix my emotional state.
After a horrible ending to my fall semester, break was not any better. It was like it was one thing after another – which it was… But I didn’t know how to deal with it. I remember telling my mom in the hospital as we were heading to ICU to visit my dad, “I cannot handle another person in my life leaving me.” Do you know how much weight was put onto my mom’s shoulders with that one statement?? Natalie had been gone only a month and I was about to lose someone else. (By the grace of God he had surgery where they were able to remove the tumor, but he still wasn’t and isn’t out of the woods. At this point he is going through his first round of chemo in hopes that anything that might’ve been left over is killed.)
When we heard the news of the cancerous tumor, my heart dropped. A piece of me was ripped out and I became numb. I tried hard to keep strong because someone had to be. My sister was not doing well and I knew my mom wasn’t either. I felt like I couldn’t confide in my family and the friend that I could always confide in was now gone, so I held on even tighter to God. I dove into His word where I was able to find refuge and hope. It didn’t last long though. Soon I was worn out. I still had not mourned the death of Natalie like I should have done.
And that’s when I went down at hyper speed.
I returned from break without really receiving a break into the world of school, religion, and the opportunity for solitude. I began driving myself to the ground. I did school and kept busy by hanging out with friends that I knew were emotionally challenged (no offense to them). At night, after curfew I would lock myself in my bathroom and cry. I would ask God why He took Natalie away and I asked Him why He allowed me to feel the way I did.
I begged God for death.
I seriously, honest to God wanted to die! I wanted my life to stop. I wanted to stop hurting. I wanted to end my life. I would rationalize it with, “I would take a load off of my family if I killed myself,” “My friends would be okay if I were gone. Somehow they’d be better off without me.” Yeah… These were some of my thoughts and I really thought that they were good enough.
This whole time (since Natalie’s death) only one person knew about what I was going through and that was my brother from other parents, James. He knew details about how I felt. He knew my thoughts and knew when I was feeling at my then lowest. He knew from the beginning what was going on and as a guy usually does, tried to find ways to help me fix me. But nothing he said or did was helping. I finally told my roommate, Kat what was going on. She wan’t surprised… She knew already. And once I had told her, I had no shame in crying on my bed for hours and then have her walk in to see me like that.
That’s when things really started to get bad. I was contemplating suicide everyday. I figured out ways that people wouldn’t notice I was gone till curfew. I came up with ways to end my life. I started considering overdosing as the easiest of them all. I had recently found out that I had a pinched nerve in my back that required medication for me to ease the pain, so finding pills wasn’t hard. A couple more days flew by and the pills were always there. When I felt at my lowest I grabbed the bottle and cried. I wanted to do it so bad because I wanted the pain to end. But for some reason… I never could do it. Was it cowardice? No. I really believe that it was God stopping me from my ultimate destruction.
Rock bottom did hit however. By this time some of my closest friends at school knew – not that it was hard to hide, because I started pushing everyone away. One night after crying for hours, I had all my medicines displayed on my desk. I was ready to take them all and just slip away. That night I no longer had hope for me. That night all I was thinking about was my death. All I could think about was trying to stop from hurting. All I wanted to do was to make the pain go away. That night I made no phone calls, didn’t send out a single text or SOS to the girls or James. That night I gave up on life for good. That night will always be remembered. That night I hit rock bottom and that night I realized I needed help.
That night I was just laying in bed crying. All hope had been lost and gone. Kat walks in and notices me at my lowest. She is scared for my life. I cried too violently in front of her that I felt I had no control of my body. That night, I saw my roommate like I had never seen her. She was scared for what I could do to myself. That night, she too knew that I no longer believed there was hope for me. That night, she begged me to get help. That night, she took away all types of medication. And that’s when I knew I hit ROCK BOTTOM.
The turn around point happened that same night when a couple minutes after Kat left, two of her friends came knocking on the door. They asked if everything was okay… Kat had started crying with them and they didn’t know what was going on. I realized that I needed to find help for their sake. Them – my friends, my roommate who had noticed before I had opened my mouth, for my family.
I finally told my prayer leader and shortly after talked to my RAs. They were the last push I got to get help. And I did… A week later I was already in with a counselor.
A couple of weeks had gone by and my family didn’t know what was going on with me. They didn’t know what I was going through at school. One day though I found the courage to call my mom and tell her EVERYTHING. My nights filled with tears, my suicide plans, my brokenness. That phone call, I heard my mom’s heart break for what I was going through. That phone call determined my plans to continue seeing the counselor. I will never forget hearing my mom crying on the other end as she realized that her eldest daughter was serious about taking her own life. I will never forget my mom begging me to not go through with it.
I continued going to see a counselor and it was not an easy time for me. I struggled weeks into it. I had times where I would feel guilty about having an ice cream because Natalie never would. I had people though that stood by me the whole time. I had children of God with me the whole time helping me.
It was not easy to open up to someone you didn’t know and talk to them about your best friend. It took a lot, but I was determined to give it a try. I had nothing to lose at that point, but I knew that if it worked I would gain my life back.
It’s been a long journey that I know has still not ended. I still have times when I feel guilty for living when Natalie has no more days. I have days that are not my best and I still wish to die. I am no longer seeing a counselor because the year is now coming to an end, but I don’t pretend to think that I don’t still need help. I know I still do. I plan to continue to get help. I want to get better for me and my future.
I think back to how I used to be and thank God for showing mercy and for not allowing me to end my life. Now that I look back, I can’t help but wonder what I would be like if I had kept it in. So many good things have happened to me that I can’t imagine not being able to enjoy them. I have met some important people that I don’t know if I would be open to trying things out with if I were the same person as before. I know that if I were the Lilian from a couple months ago… even a year ago, I would not be seeking God in all that I do and all the relationships I have and want to have both friendships-wise and romantically. I would not be hoping and praying for God to provide me with a bright future with a great ministry and family. I would not be hopeful for my future husband (blame the Liberty bubble for that one…. Everyone getting pressured to find their mate….). I would not be hopeful for this summer and the relationships that I will be working on.
I am not the same person anymore. I have grown and learned a lot. I have met people now that I want to see if anything can come of it. Though I am more guarded and don’t laugh as easily and as hard as I used to, I know that everyday I get closer to loving, trusting, and laughing a bit more everyday. Look at me and there will be days you’ll still see sadness and grief, but then again now there is a peace in me that lives. God has softened me to those hurting around me. He is still working in me. Like a phrase I’ve heard from two funny guys (the skit guys – find them on youtube), “You are a working masterpiece.” I AM A MASTERPIECE AND GOD IS NOT DONE WITH ME YET.
This post is meant as my testimony. If you know of someone who is struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts, don’t give up on them. STAY BY THEIR SIDE. You don’t know if the only way they can get better is because you were their reason for them to get help. Sometimes that’s all that’s needed for God to work.
Please continue to pray for me. I do have times where I will slip back into depression, and I don’t want to. I don’t want it to affect my relationships with people I’ve met recently and those that I have been knowing.
I ask God that He use my life as a testimony and that by posting it on the internet it may help young people not lose hope in God.