What More Do I Need?

When I was a sophomore in college, I formally gave my life to Christ and was baptized again. With Jesus in my life, I thought that depression would be a thing of the past. My baptism had to be the happiest day of my life and I thought that since I now held the secret to life (Jesus!) I would never be depressed again. A few weeks later though, I became depressed again and that is when I learned that depression is a chemical problem.

This last year has been rough. I know that I often complain about the town where I live, my job at the school, and my mental problems (cutting, depression, OCD, and trichotillomania). It is sometimes hard to remember the good things when I think about how everything in my life seems to be going wrong.

I really do have a good life though, thanks to God. I have a nice family that always welcomes me home. I also have a job where I can support myself and a place of my own. Even though my landlord does not allow pets (another complaint of mine since I really think I would feel better if I had a cat) he has made an exception for my fish and hermit crabs. That is another reason to be thankful.

I may not be the most friendly person and have a hard time making friends but I have always had people that I can at least talk to. And except for a brief few months in college, I have always had a few friends through the different stages in my life.

I also may have a lot of mental problems which has made my life miserable at times but at least I am physically healthy. And God has provided me with support that has helped me through the rough times. It is because of followers of my blog that I am sixteen weeks clean from cutting. And it is because of the Samaritans that I got help when I was feeling suicidal.

I have a great summer job that would not be possible if I did not have family willing to take me in for a few months. And it is mostly because of my summer job that I have managed to hang on to life when things get tough.

Finally, I have Jesus in my life. I know where I will one day spend eternity because I have accepted the forgiveness given for all sins through the death of Jesus Christ, my Savior and Lord. I sometimes forget that life on this Earth is only temporary and someday, everything will be all right.

God has certainly provided me with more than I ever deserve. I really have no right to complain. Life has been tough at times, but I guess it is because of those times that I am able to grow closer to God.

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My Answered Prayer?

A year ago, I was praying every night, asking God to provide me with a teaching job. I was willing to go anywhere for a job. I had been out of college for over a year and I was tired of the application process. I was tired of living at home with my parents. I was ready to make something of my life.

A year later, and I feel like I am being unappreciative of the gift that God gave me. I hate the town where I am living and my students have no respect. I am trying to have a positive attitude about this place. I usually am a positive person when I am not dealing with depression. I keep trying to tell myself that the people in this community are very nice and that the town is much safer than the city where I had been living during the summer. And as bad as my kids are, I try to reassure myself that it is ok because at least I have a job.

But still, I am having trouble staying positive. School has only been back for three weeks since Christmas and already, I took a day off. Every day, I have to force myself to eat breakfast because I was so worried about going to school that I feel like I am going to be sick. And I am counting down until I can leave this town for the summer.

I feel horrible. God brought me here and I just hate it so much. I am questioning God’s plans.

Back in Time

I often find myself wanting to go back in time; back to a time when I was happy and life was much simpler. For awhile, I wanted to go back to the time when I was in college. I have some great memories of hanging out with my friends. Plus, I had the freedom to be an adult but not all the responsibility. But then I remembered the time in college when I was seriously depressed and thought about ending my life.

Then, there was the time I thought I would go back to high school. I see all these high school kids at high school every day and they look so free and carefree. They do not have many responsibilities and they have a happiness that I want. But I was not happy in high school. That is a time that I definitely would not choose to repeat. I found out that I had depression when I was in high school. Plus, I really did not fit in very well during high school. I was a nerd and the people I called friends were not afraid to let me know it. Plus, I was not really happy with my mean English teacher and the fact that I had to live according to my parents’ rules.

Lately, I have found myself wishing I was back to being a little kid. As a kid, I would not have all the responsibility of an adult. I would have to live according to my parents’ rules but really, that is small potatoes compared to life as an adult. Plus, as a kid, my only expectations are really only get good grades and be nice to people. As a kid, I could play all day.

But of course, I am an adult and nothing can change that. I am where I am right now because that is where God wants me. So no matter how much I complain, I am expected to live according to God’s plans for me.

God is Working Though My Depression

The other day, I was reading someone’s blog about how religion causes depression. The author said that people feel they are expected to be perfect and because no one is perfect, that brings them down and causes them to be depressed. I could not agree more.

I was depressed before I became a Christian. I found out that I had depression when I was sixteen and I did not become a Christian until I was twenty. And as a Christian, I know I am not perfect. I know God wants me to do my best but that He sent His Son Jesus to die for my mistakes. Because I have accepted His forgiveness, I will one day spend eternity in Heaven. It does not matter how perfect I am not.

Being a Christian is not causing my mental illness. Being a Christian is saving me from it though. There are times when life gets to be too much and I begin to contemplate suicide. I keep living though because I know that God has plans for me. And I know that God is working through my mental illness.

There was a time in my life when I blamed God for my problems. I told God He could not use me because of my depression. I was going through a lot during that time in my life and I told God He could not use me because I barely had the will to get out of bed and go through the daily motions of life let alone do anything else for Him. God just laughed and told me that He was in charge and He knew what He was doing. That is how I ended up becoming a Christian author with a focus on mental illness.

I have problems, but they are not because of my faith. My problems are from my brain being unequipped to deal with this world. But God has given me hope for the future and one day, I know I will be able to leave my earthly problems behind and spend eternity with God!

Self Diagnosing Depression

Mental illness is fairly common. Somewhere, I read that one in four people will suffer from a mental illness sometime during their life time. They could also have been talking about depression. I am not entirely sure. The point is, despite the commonness of mental illness, I am still surprised by the number of people that will share posts relating to depression on Facebook.

Maybe it is just me, but I have told very few people that I suffer from depression. I know people will judge me. I know that my family and friends will not understand and think that I just want attention. I write anonymously online so that is why I am very open about my problems on my blog. But I have never posted anything about my problems on Facebook.

If people knew the true meaning of depression and mental illness, maybe they would not be so quick to diagnose themselves. Depression is more than just sadness. I had a friend that once claimed she was depressed after she lost her phone. After she got a new phone though, she was instantly cured. If only depression worked that fast.

Depression lasts way longer and is way more complicated. With my depression comes suicidal thoughts, cutting, loss of sleep, as well as several other problems. I would not wish depression on my worst enemy; that is how horrible it is. But some people just do not get it. Depression is horrible and way more complex than they think.

I guess that is why God has told me that despite my problems, He would like me to be a Christian writer with a focus on mental illness. Somebody has to get the Word out there as well as raise awareness for mental illness. And since I am very familiar with depression, it might as well be me.

My Prayer

Lord,

I do not understand why You brought me to this small town. What in the world could You have planned for me here?

Why would You give me a difficult class that has so many boys, behavior problems, and learning difficulties? Why would You bring me to a school that has combined classrooms and very little prep time?

Why would You bring me to a community that has very few people my age? Why would there only be one person in the entire community willing to be my friend?

Lord, I know You do not give a person more than they can handle but surely You know that I am cutting again. And don’t You know that I have days where I am feeling depressed?

Why would You bring me to this place? What are Your plans for me? Reveal them to me so that I can live my life for You.

Amen.

Why I Do Not Drink

That day, I either talked to my friends personally or on Facebook and invited them to my room that evening. We had cupcakes and we talked about our summer and our first few days of classes. Then, everyone left to go do homework. That was my twenty first birthday. I had chosen how I was going to celebrate and I was perfectly happy with what had happened. One of my friends thought I should go out and have at least one drink but I refused. It is my life and I get to decide how to live it.

 

Besides wine at church, I have never consumed alcohol. I do not want to either. It is a personal decision that I have made and I am sticking to it. I do not care what people think. I have my reasons.

 

My friend thinks that I do not drink because my parents don’t. She says that is why she does drink because she has seen her parents drinking her whole life. I really do not think my decision has anything to do with my parents. They have never really expressed their opinions on drinking. And I have seen my dad drink on occasion to be polite.

 

The main reason I do not drink though is because it is not the Christian thing to do. I know they drank wine in Biblical times but they did not have the resources we had today to ensure clean water or to have other options of beverages. Drinking can lead to bad decisions and as a Christian, I do not want to put myself in those kind of situations by drinking. Besides, drinking in the United States in usually associated with getting drunk or horrible parties. That is not true of all drinkers but it is more than just a dinner custom as it is in other countries.

 

Another reason I do not drink is because it is expensive. I have better things to do with my money. I want my money to go towards things that will make good memories. All alcohol buys is foggy memories and regret.

 

The last reason I do not drink is because I am afraid that I could possibly become an alcoholic. It does not run in my family but I do suffer from depression. What happens if I use drinking to take away my pain? I already have a cutting addiction to help with the pain. I do not need another addiction.

 

I am not afraid to admit that I have never consumed alcohol. I stand firmly by my decision. I know some people think that because I do not drink that I do not like people that do drink. I have nothing against people drinking occasionally and having one or two drinks. Not drinking is something only for me.

What It Means to be a Christian

The other day at Sunday school, someone brought a current event about a woman that at the age of fifty decided to become Jewish. The article went on to talk about how she did not believe in God though. We were all very surprised at that. We thought that all religions should have a higher power.

 

After we discussed that article, the question was brought up about what that church believed. Then, someone asked what Christians believed. Nobody ever did answer that question but I think it brings up a very good point. There are lots of people who call themselves Christians but do not know what they believe or do not live their lives as Christians.

 

As a Christian, I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who came to earth to live a perfect, sinless life. Jesus died on the cross as a sacrifice for all sins. All Christians should acknowledge that they are a sinner and cannot do anything to save themselves. Jesus did die for all sins though so whoever accepts this forgiveness and surrenders their lives to Him will one day spend eternity in Heaven.

 

As Christians, good works will not get us to Heaven but that does not mean that we should not be good to others. We should perform good deeds and help those in need. We should live our lives with good values. While we know that we will never be perfect, we still need to put forth the effort and try to do what is right.

 

Finally, Jesus is going to come back again someday to judge everyone. Nobody knows when that day will be though. As Christians, it is our job to tell others about Jesus before it is too late.

 

Life is too short. We do not know how much longer we have on this earth. That is why we need Jesus. If you want to know how to become a Christian, please read my blog How to Become a Christian. Do not delay the most important decision of your life. This decision will have serious consequences.

 

The Person You Only Thought You Knew

The girl you called a nerd at lunch has anxiety problems. But despite her problems, she still managed to graduate debt free in three and a half years from college.

 

The friend that you considered boring suffers from depression. She has become withdrawn and does not want to hang out.

 

The lab partner that you decided needed a makeover is poor and cannot afford the clothes and makeup that you think she needs.

 

The manager you yelled at because you did not like her decisions will cut tonight.

 

The classmate you bullied will come home from school crying.

 

The acquaintance you did not invite to your party just needs a friend.

 

The senior that did not participate in many senior activities could not afford the cost.

 

The student in front of you is considering suicide.

 

The friend you blamed was innocent. She has enough going on in her life at the moment without you adding to her problems.

 

The roommate you teased because she does not drink is a Christian with strong values.

 

The coworker you called a witch with a different letter is just doing her job.

 

The employee that you yelled at is trying to give up cutting.

 

The grown child you criticized is doing everything she could to find a job in this tough economy.

RIP Robin Williams

Like everyone else, I am deeply saddened by Robin Williams’s death. His death came as a surprise to me. I did not realize that he was experiencing mental illness.

I found out when I was sixteen that I had depression and when I was in college, it got to the point that I really did not want to live anymore. If it was not for having Jesus in my life at the time, I do not know what I might have done.

There are days when life does get tough but I just have to remind myself that God has a plan for me and will help me through it, if I let Him.

Robin Williams will be missed but I hope that through his death, people can learn about mental illness.