|Drop Your Guards
Author: NeshaTriumphs PM
A formerly defeated woman gives a testimony of her past depression and God's deliverance from it.Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama - Words: 4,647 - Reviews: 2 - Published: 03-08-10 - Status: Complete - id: 2783393
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Drop Your Guards to Lift Your Lord – A Personal Release of Depression
When I was younger, I had quite an imagination, but I also had some mental things going wrong that I did not truly realize were there in my youth until I got older. There were times when I was a young girl that I believed that there was a man following me. I would see this man's face in the structures of tiles and the ceiling at my home. I would think that he was following me to the bathroom at school and walking past my classroom, or standing outside of the door, watching. He was terrifying, but I knew that he was not really there. I knew that no one else could see this mystery person, and I thought that if I told anyone that I was seeing this that they would make fun of me, that they would not believe me, and that this imaginary man would cause me some kind of harm. This is the first time that I am even speaking about this on such a wide scale.
I would often think that I was hearing voices, calling my name, or hear sounds such as doorbells or phones ringing, and it made me think that something was after me. I never quite figured out what was going on with me. Because to this day, that still happens to me. Especially the calling of my name, usually, that happens when I am alone. Usually, when I hear things, I am by myself.
Also, when I was younger, I had this way of coping with things that I kept hidden, such as, I would throw and break mirrors, because I hated the way that I looked. That was in part due to one of my grandmothers would call me ugly names a lot, and at the time I bought that foolishness. I don't know what was wrong with her, and I don't care, because I am over the things that I felt because of her words. Another reason that I was not too fond of myself was because I thought that my parents did not love me. As children, my older sister was always the spotlight child and I was like a background child. I felt like the only time that anybody ever decided that I needed to be addressed was when I did something wrong or something that they did not approve of. I understood it to be because something was wrong with me, and no matter how many times they claimed to love me, nothing was moving my mindset that my older sister was spoiled for being likable, my younger brother was treated special because he was the only boy and he was sickly. Then there was me. No one in the entire family had anything nice to say about me except for my mother and a few aunts and cousins. I figured there must have been something wrong with me.
When you have like forty cousins and only four of them like you, you tend to think that it must be you. And I didn't have easy cousins either, if they did not like you, they gave you the blues. You got beat and abused when the adults weren't around and don't even think about telling on them – because that would just make it worse. You try to fit in. I even attacked one of my step-cousins with a belt, once for approval of some of the others. I didn't even dislike her, but I figured that it was better her than me, and I did get in trouble for that one. That isn't the point, though. The point is that I was taught to hate myself at an early age. I can hardly remember anyone saying anything nice about me when I was younger, but that may be the reason that I really don't care what people say about me now.
Then, I began in with the knives and matches. I used to go into this field next door to set random things on fire whenever I wasn't feeling well. And many times, I thought long and hard about burning my house down with my family in it, because I hated that house, and I didn't think that they loved me. But, whenever I thought about getting rid of them, that thought hurt me so much that I thought of setting myself on fire. And as a child, probably of seven or eight, I would often wonder if something did happen to me if any of them would notice or care? I would begin devising ideas of how to severely hurt or kill myself and imagine them in my minds being sad about it, and it would make me cry. Then I would imagine them not caring either way, and that would make me cry even more. I cried a lot when I was small, but that was not because I was some whiny child. I seriously cried a lot as a child because I was introduced to depression at an early age. It makes me think that there is something great in store for me, to know that the Devil set his sights upon me before I was even old enough to know what depression even was.
I used the knives to stab things – like books and stuffed animals. I would take all of my rage and stab the item with all of my might. I began to inflict bodily harm on myself early on, to see if anyone would notice, but they didn't. So I brought the mutilation to my face. If my lips chapped, I would purposefully split them until they were sliced and bloody. I didn't think that anybody cared about my face, anyway, and I didn't care about myself, at all.
I had an aunt who was in church all the time, and she was my favorite aunt to visit, because she was one of the few people who I felt cared about me, and I was very close to her daughter. This aunt would always talk about God and the Bible, and I would always ask her hypothetical questions that I don't even think that she ever put together were not actually hypothetical, but personal. And if she was not in my family, I might have never began reading a Bible, because my folks just made us go to Bible school in the summers. Most of my Bible reading as a child was done when I was at aunt Bernadette's house. Then, I began to read on my own, when I was about ten or so. I would ask my aunt a lot of questions about salvation, and I think that I got saved, actually when I was young, but I did not get baptized, because the process was not explained to me in depth, and my parents were not really church people.
When I was ten, I began to have anxiety attacks and hyperventilate. The first time was the worse. The overachiever in me began when I was about ten, because when I was taken to the hospital for hyperventilating, the doctor said that this was related to stress. My mother was trying to figure out what in the world a ten year old would have to be stressed out about. There were exams and competitions going on at school, which I blamed the attacks on, but I think that my anxiety initially found its roots in situations in my home that I felt were just unbearable.
I began to study my Bible when I was alone and talk to the cousins who did like me about it, when I could. Then, when I was in middle school, I joined a prayer group that was established there. A little bit later, my dad got into church, and something went terribly wrong. I don't know how else to explain it but to say that I felt like my father drove me further and further away from God, until I thought that my dad was one of those false teachers that they discussed in the Bible. I felt like he cared more about things going on outside of our house than he did within our house, and I felt like if he was really Christian that he would tend to his family's needs. So, he and I fell out and to be honest, I started to hate him. There were times that I wanted to hate him before, because I felt like he was biased against me when I was younger, but by this time in life, I really did hate him.
I felt like he was always trying to point out something that he thought was wrong with me, from the way that I looked and dressed, to my opinions and everything. My father would from time to time say that he was proud of me for something, but I didn't believe that mess, because in between all those few times, all he had for me was disdain. When I got to high school, I developed an eating disorder. I hardly ate meals, and if I did, I went to throw up afterwards. I stopped eating a lot of the stuff that my family was eating and nobody really paid it any attention, because we never sat at a table and ate as a family, so they didn't really pay attention to my changes in eating, so much. My mother noticed and told me one day that if she found out that I had an eating disorder that she would commit me. I ended up praying the disorder away. I thought that I was fat and I thought that I was ugly, and I would rather been skinny and ugly than fat and ugly; BUT, more frightening than that was being committed. By high school, I was old enough to realize that something was terribly wrong with my mind, and the last thing that I wanted to admit was that I was crazy. I didn't want to be institutionalized.
I spent high school depressed about my family. I was so sick of my parents that I didn't care if I never had to see either of them again. My mother got pregnant when I was in high school and she acted like I was the one who got her pregnant. Daddy was dodging the house, because he didn't want to be around all of these unsaved people in the house. I was just starting high school, and wanted to do teenage things, instead of wait on my pregnant mother at all times, so she resented me for that, and I resented him for it, because I felt that she was taking out her frustrations for him not being there for her on me. I ended up joining his church when I was fifteen, thinking that would help things. I was like, well he says that he is happy in church, and I thought I could be too. So I joined his church and I hated that place. I hate that place now. I don't consider it a real church. I consider it a social club for a bunch of people pretending to be Christians, with a select few real ones there – for what, I don't know. Maybe to help the others do what they need to do.
Anyway, it didn't help and my mother became like everyone else in my life. She never had anything nice to say about me, either. But, I blamed daddy for that, because I was old enough and smart enough to realize that he was the true source of her anger and resentment. That didn't make me any less mad at her for it, because she was the one who chose him, I was stuck with him, with the both of them. They had chosen each other, and I felt like they took it out on us. I would vent all of my depression and hurt to my baby sister, who was too young to understand or even talk back. She would stare at me, as I cried and complained, and I determined in my head that she was the only good thing in my life, at the moment.
So, when I graduated, I was still in the house with them, but I was working. I would work as long as I could, because I would rather be at work, or really, anywhere but at that house. By that time, my baby sister had grown. She could talk, but she was very annoying to me, because I was still young and she was a toddler, but I still loved her very dearly, although my parents were always pointing out to me that they thought I didn't. I thought that they were ones to judge such a thing!
Then I met the wrong man. And I know y'all know how that goes. I couldn't stand him, at first. But, I decided to be his friend anyway, and as a matter of fact, I was trying to help council him, as a Christian, because all of the people who took the time to know me saw me as one who gave great advice and one who understood the Bible and one who always said the honest thing, whether or not they wanted to hear it. My parents and the rest of my family never saw that, because they were too busy trying to stomp me into a box. So, I thought that I could help this man, and my father hated him, so I always felt challenged to defend true Christians to the guy, because my father handled him with hatred from day one, before I ever tried to become romantically involved with him. This person was very promiscuous and violent, and I discovered that he was very smart with potential to do great things and didn't want him to waste his life. In the process of helping him, I got caught up in sin. He was going through his first unwanted abortion. (It happened again one or two more times, in the time that I communicated with him.) He had been engaged before and he and his fiancée lost their baby, so he was very upset about this abortion that the woman was going to have. Somewhere in there, I mistook something corrupt for love, like I was teaching about before, and messed up my entire early adult life.
I grew to hate him eventually, too, for things that I am not even going to mention. But after a while, I decided that I couldn't hate him forever, after all, we went through a lot together. We went through his parents hating me for no reason, mine hating him for various reasons, almost getting into a physical fight (a few times), and losing a child of our own. And that tore me completely up. When I miscarried, I spent most of the time trying to make him feel better about it all. This was his third child lost, and I felt that I had to be there for him. I believed that I was stronger than him to help him deal with it. He was crying a lot and always blaming himself. He felt like he had done this to me, and I felt the need to make him feel like it was not his fault. Then, something possessed my daddy to tell him that he acted like he didn't even care, and that ruined the two of them forever, and if the two of them were ruined forever, I knew that me and this person could never work out. We got engaged, but he could not get past his hatred for my father and even pointed out to me, "You can't stand him either", but what I needed him to understand was that this was still my father, and still my mother's husband. Ultimately, I broke things off with the man because of my father.
The things that did not involve parental interference, I believe we might have worked through. He took care of me. If I didn't have something, he did whatever it took to make it so. If I was upset, he tried to make it better, unless he was mad, but when he was mad, he was so mad that I thought that he would kill somebody! It was a bad situation, so I left it. Then, his life began spiraling out of control, and he began to try to blame me for it. That made me more mad than anything else, because I had been trying before, and it didn't seem to work, but then when I was away from him, he did seem to get worse, and I felt responsible, but I felt responsible because when I was supposed to witness to him and help him, I became sinfully involved with him, instead. I have always felt like God placed Josh in my path and I left him worse off than when he came to me. That is one of the main reasons that I have to try to help people now.
Let's look over the last few years... I was doing okay for a while, but you must understand, that no matter how it seemed, I never fully turned away from God. I always made sure that I "checked in" with Him, from time to time. And I visited His house from time to time. I have had bouts with depression for years. In the last few years, I have been diagnosed as bipolar and it has been proposed to me to get on medication. I said no, every time, because I never wanted to become dependent on any psychotropic meds, and because a part of me still has an insecurity about being crazy. Well, after my miscarriage, I began my match burnings and razor slashes that you see on my forearms, and this became a means of "therapy" for me, in my imprisoned sin mind. If I felt sad, it focused my attention to the pain and rushed my adrenaline to lift my mood. If I felt nothing, it gave me something to feel. If I was manic or hysterical and I couldn't set something on fire and peacefully watch it burn and become no more, I would rage about my home, throwing down everything that I could put my hands on until I was too exhausted to continue and lay down on a wrecked floor, or sit down on the bathroom floor and cry. I continued the stabbing habit, as well. I honestly became like that song, "I almost let go. I felt like I just couldn't take life anymore. My problems had me bound. Depression weighed me down..." And I didn't know if I was going to kill myself or institutionalize myself.
Here is the main problem with that – two of the things that I have always hated the thought of me doing were: 1)Being crazy and 2)Quitting on life. Those two things have always been the things that I thought were the most weak things about myself. Feeling like I am crazy and feeling suicidal, and that is the point that I came to, everyday. There were times when I woke up and busted out crying. There were times when I thought that I would come to work and just pass out. I spent the greater part of my day thinking about ways that I might kill myself, then the rest of the day thinking of how I was going to convince myself to check into a hospital, but then God stepped in and asked me if I remembered Him.
He asked me why I didn't come to Him sooner? Why did I let myself get so far away? And I confessed, because I hated myself so much that knew that I could not love You right, and I didn't want to lie on You. I didn't want to tell people that I love You, then let them see me like this. Then he asked me if I loved Him, and I said that I did not know how I felt about anything. I confessed that I did not even know if I could make it through the rest of the day. And He invited me to come to His house.
He said, "You know, watch night is on New Year's Eve. You know that you are always welcome at My house."
And I nodded and said, "That's if I can make it until that night to go." God told me that He would not have invited me if He knew that I couldn't make it. So during the couple of weeks leading to New Year's Eve, I focused on just making it until then. I prayed for strength to make it until then. I felt like there must have been something special in store for me there that night. So I went. It was okay, and I left feeling great and thanking God, and I told Him that it helped a lot. Then I went to see my husband, who was at the bar, and I wasn't there ten minutes before I was discouraged about life again. By the time I left, I was in tears and I thought – It didn't work! I went into the church and I came like God invited me to, and it did not help, because it didn't take the Devil but ten minutes to undo my entire night. God was there. He didn't speak at first. He gave me a chance to speak first,
"What do I have to do to get rid of these feelings of hatred and depression? How do I get rid of all of this self hate and madness in my mind? Please, God I will do anything to get rid of this!" I think that I even used bad language with Him. I figured – I might as well, I use it anyway and He always hears me doing it, but when I used it with Him, I still apologized for using it when talking to Him and he said, "Come back to My house, Sunday." So I did.
It helped, but I didn't feel like the junk was over, but God had placed on Pastor's heart to have this grand entrance celebration into our new sanctuary with all of these guest speakers, and I decided, on my own to attend. God didn't have to invite me back on Tuesday night, because I decided on my own to come back. And I had a good time, and I prayed while I was there. Then, I came back on Wednesday night. God hadn't spoken to me since he invited me back into church for Sunday, but I was slightly okay with it. I was like, well, at least I am deciding to come. But God had placed a messenger in there that night, with a message specifically for me. I don't care who else was in there, the preacher was preaching about low aim and true faith FOR ME!
Then, God really stepped it up for my sorry tail, because he put this woman next to me, when I felt like everybody, even my husband didn't care one way or the other what was going on with me – and God put this woman next to me who must have seen something in me. The preacher had this book with him that he had just finished and they would be on sale after the service. This woman next to me asked me if I was a member of the church and I told her that I was, but I was not active and I had not been in a while before the past week or so. And she said to me,
"I am going to buy one of those books for you. I want to bless you with one of those books." And I promise, y'all, before she bought that book for me, I had really felt like there were no more people in this world who cared about anybody or anything. That woman had no idea how much God was using her that night, in fact, I need to go ahead and try to find her a card or something for the next time that I see her. But more-so, I needed that book to help me rebuild my faith, for real this time – without the barrier of myself. And GOD has done it!!!
God took away my depression and my stress, and I have never cried tears of joy so much as I have in the past couple of months. I have never had the clarity that I now have, or the comfort, or the strength, or the passion, or the zeal to learn, or the joy in living, and I THANK YOU JESUS!!! THANK YOU!!! THANK YOU!!! It makes me just scream "Thank You!" I was about to be in the crazy house or dead and in hell because I killed myself! "...The Devil really had me, but Jesus came and grabbed me and He held me close, so I wouldn't let go. God's mercy kept me, so I wouldn't let go."
Now, y'all I know that this was long, but trust me, you got the abridged version. I didn't tell you every ugly detail of everything that I did, just the parts that I had my biggest weaknesses in... the parts that leaving me couldn't occur by no other means but by Jesus just jumping in me and driving all that foolishness out. He did one of them stomp jumps that you do at dogs, like you gonna hit them to make them take off running, and my depression took off running. My Enemy fled in seven different directions! And the reason I know that it was Him that did it is because I been trying to get rid of it since I was eight, and it didn't work. The reason that I know it's gone is because since Satan lost me, he's thrown all kinds of junk at me, and with my wide range of emotions, and my sensitivity to emotions, I still haven't felt slightly depressed since my Lord let me come back to Him.
The point of you having to be told all of this is to encourage you. If He could take something like me, and some of y'all did see some of my not-just-foolishness-but-plum-foolishness, and y'all know that's gone now. The things that are left in me are the things that only reading, studying, meditating, and practicing the Word will accomplish. But, I get up everyday ready for it.
Look at it this way, with what I done, what I was – some depressed crazy that wanted to die... with me being that, God still told me that I am always welcome in His house. With me making the mistakes that I have, Jesus still came down here and got up on that cross and came down and decided that even though I was a fixer-upper that he could move in and make it a home! THANK YOU!!! THANK YOU!!! I hope that this letter, although it contains no Bible scriptures, can still help you in some way, if you decided to go ahead and read it.