It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you. Do not be afraid.Deuteronomy 31:8
It all started when I was 15 years old. Before that, I had a nice life. I had a few good friends. I had a nice family. I did well in school. I played sports and was an aspiring artist. I had dreams of one day being a veterinarian or something else exceptional. I had gone to church since I was a kid and knew the drill…”Jesus loves you”, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” the stories of Noah and the Ark and Jonah and the Whale, etc… But I never understood the true nature of God, of Christ, and I thought things were on track. I thought I had all I needed.
But then it happened…like a ton of bricks crashing in and imploding on my “perfect” life. I became severely depressed. I couldn’t get out of bed. I didn’t want to eat. I didn’t even want to shower. I was full of anxiety and fear. My thoughts were confused and unclear. It was so severe that I ended up in a psychiatric hospital for suicidal tendencies for over two months. I wanted to die, or maybe just get out of the pain I was in. The darkness was so overwhelming and thick I could hardly breathe or even move.
If that wasn’t bad enough, I soon began to hear voices in my head. They would insult me. They would stick with me and comment negatively on everything I did. I became so paranoid and delusional I thought others could hear the voices and my thoughts and the painful things they both were saying to me. I was afraid of being called “crazy” if anyone found out the truth about what was happening. By age 18 after being put on medication for 3 years and having been involuntarily hospitalized several more times, I had gotten a little better but my doctors were uncertain of how I would function normally in the real world. My mind was shattered into a state of what I describe as madness. I was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder with major depression.
In all honesty, I thought I had lost that innocent little girl inside that was supposed to love Jesus and one another. It wasn’t until later in life that I would realize my only strength would be in God. During high school my youth pastor firmly planted a mustard seed size faith In my heart but it had still to mature. It would. But in the meantime, the battle for my mind and soul raged on.
For anyone who has suffered from mental illness. You are not alone.