Why I'm Thankful For Six Years Of Unanswered Prayers

Why I'm Thankful For Six Years Of Unanswered Prayers

This, too, shall pass.
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I never thought I’d live to see my 20th birthday.

When I was young, it was because 20 is so old. I’d have wrinkles and a job, and I would probably be in a nursing home by then, at least. When you’re 7, that seems rational.

As I got deeper into my teens, it was because I was absolutely certain I would have succumbed to depression by then.

It wasn’t your storybook depression, either. I wasn’t confined to my bed, I didn’t stop doing the things that I loved, I didn’t talk about death. But when I was alone, I cried. I constantly felt like I was in a heavy fog that wouldn’t lift and even when I laughed, it was hollow. Nothing was easy and nothing was genuine. It was so heavy that, looking back now, it’s hard to remember specific details of just about anything that has happened in my life since 8th grade. I remember events, I remember faces, but I don’t remember specifics--what the air smelled like or what I was feeling. Probably because I wasn’t really feeling anything.

Depression is not beautiful. It is not appealing. What depression is is attentive and persistent. It’s a needy boyfriend. Depression looks over your shoulder and walks to class with you. Depression lasts so long that you forget how you ever lived without it, and it’s scary to think about who you'll be without it.

There weren’t a lot of days I wanted to die, but I can’t remember a day in the past six years that I truly wanted to live. That’s not to say there weren’t good days. Absolutely there were. But even at the end of those days, where I felt this pseudo-happiness, I would still go to bed hoping to not wake up the next morning, because that would be the perfect way for my existence to end. When the weather was nice, I thought, “This is the kind of weather I’d want for my funeral.” And when it was stormy, I thought, “This would be the perfect weather to die in--it would make a good metaphor.” It was like a reverse nightmare, like when you wake up from a nightmare you’re so relieved. I woke up into a nightmare.

And I never had a reason to be depressed. I have always had friends, a family who loves and cares for me and have excelled at nearly all of the things I have really put my heart into.

But that’s the thing: Depression doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t care if you’re 16, 25, 42, 67. It doesn’t care if there’s nothing “wrong.” Depression truly does not care.

I remember, specifically, one night praying to God to just let me go.

“I’m not even asking for anything. I’m asking to take something away--to make your job easier. Hell, I’ll even help you out with things up there.”

I remember the night I drove out to the middle of the country, to some badlands just tall and steep enough that, if you gathered the nerve to jump, it would undoubtedly be fatal. My best friend called as I was sitting there, “just to say 'hi.'”

I remember holding a handful of leftover painkillers from shoulder surgery for hours before finally throwing them in my mouth. I spit them out before I swallowed because I thought about my younger cousins and my aunt having to explain to them what happened. I thought about my dad and my mom and my sisters. My grandparents, aunts and uncles.

Both of these were halfhearted suicide attempts, and I don’t think I ever had the intent to follow through. More often than not, it was not wearing a seat belt or driving too fast. It was not going to the doctor when I knew something was wrong and not looking one way, let alone both, before crossing the street.

I don’t remember everything about those moments where I was at my darkest, but I do remember how I felt. I remember thinking that the only way to ditch the literal physical ache I was feeling was to end my life. There was no other option, because it was all-encompassing and it was dark.

I don’t know what changed or why. But suddenly, a few weeks ago, starting on my 20th birthday--the one I never thought I would reach--I’ve been happy. The sunny afternoons, pennies on the sidewalk and baristas who accidentally make me a large, even though I paid for a small, are enough. Piles of warm laundry and sunny days and babies’ laughter is enough.

I swear to you, colors are brighter and flowers smell better and hugs feel better, too. My chest doesn’t get tight because I’m forcing a laugh. I wake up and want to be awake. I want to go to work and I want to go to the lake and I want to cook dinner. I want to sing and dance and do laundry. I want to brush my hair and floss my teeth and I don’t stay up until 3 a.m., staring at a bottle of pain pills, knowing that even if I took all 38 of them, they wouldn’t even begin to dull the pain in the pit of my stomach, but wanting to give it a shot, anyway. Thunderstorms make me happy because I get to smell the rain, not because it’s a metaphor for how I feel.

I always thought there would be this drastic turning point or some grand gesture, but it’s almost more humbling that. Just as suddenly as it came on, it has gone away. I’m so thankful today that God didn’t answer six years' worth of prayers.

And now I know there’s something so much bigger than myself going on and I believe now that there’s a reason I am here.

There are a lot of people, though, who never admit they're struggling and don’t ever find this new, somewhat strange, normal that I have. Stop telling yourself that what you’re facing “isn’t a big deal,” or “I should be able to handle this.” There is no should. If you're struggling, you're struggling. If it's difficult, it's difficult.

I think there were people along the way who kind of knew what was going on, but nobody ever addressed it or said it directly. Depression and suicide are always swept under the rug, but even when they are, remember what you’re feeling is valid. There are people who love you, regardless, I promise. When you’re in that fog, you can’t see it, but they’re there. There are people who care. There are people--more than you can imagine--that can’t wait to see you get better. Look for it in random phone calls and messages asking how you're really doing. Look for it in "I hope tomorrow is better," and a hug that lasts a few extra seconds. There are people who will go out of their way to check on you, both directly and indirectly, and they'll do it consistently. And to these people in my life, “thank you” is just a sampling of the gratitude I have for you.

I’ve always genuinely thought everybody has a story worth telling, and for the first time, I’m realizing that I do, too. And so do you.

Cover Image Credit: CRW Flags

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3 Reasons Why Step Dads Are Super Dads

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I often hear a lot of people complaining about their step-parents and wondering why they think that they have any authority over them. Although I know that everyone has different situations, I will be the first to admit that I am beyond blessed to have a step dad. Yep, I said it. My life wouldn't be the same that it is not without him in it. Let me tell you why I think step dads are the greatest things since sliced bread.

1. They will do anything for you, literally.

My stepdad has done any and every thing for me. From when I was little until now. He was and still is my go-to. If I was hungry, he would get me food. If something was broken, he would fix it. If I wanted something, he would normally always find a way to get it. He didn't spoil me (just sometimes), but he would make sure that I was always taken care of.

SEE ALSO: The Thank You That Step-Parents Deserve

2. Life lessons.

Yup, the tough one. My stepdad has taught me things that I would have never figured out on my own. He has stood beside me through every mistake. He has been there to pick me up when I am down. My stepdad is like the book of knowledge: crazy hormonal teenage edition. Boy problems? He would probably make me feel better. He just always seemed to know what to say. I think that the most important lesson that I have learned from my stepdad is: to never give up. My stepdad has been through three cycles of leukemia. He is now in remission, yay!! But, I never heard him complain. I never heard him worry and I never saw him feeling sorry for himself. Through you, I found strength.

3. He loved me as his own.

The big one, the one that may seem impossible to some step parents. My stepdad is not actually my stepdad, but rather my dad. I will never have enough words to explain how grateful I am for this man, which is why I am attempting to write this right now. It takes a special kind of human to love another as if they are their own. There had never been times where I didn't think that my dad wouldn't be there for me. It was like I always knew he would be. He introduces me as his daughter, and he is my dad. I wouldn't have it any other way. You were able to show me what family is.

So, dad... thanks. Thanks for being you. Thanks for being awesome. Thanks for being strong. Thanks for loving me. Thanks for loving my mom. Thanks for giving me a wonderful little sister. Thanks for being someone that I can count on. Thanks for being my dad.

I love you!

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The Truth About Narcan, Insulin, And Who Pays For What

"Stupid junkies, I have to pay for my Insulin but they get Narcan FOR FREE. Can you believe that?"

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Naloxone.

Let's talk about it. Naloxone, commonly referred to as Narcan or Evzio is a "medication designed to rapidly reverse opioid overdose." According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Naloxone basically reverses the effects of an overdose.

As you see on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and every other social media platform in the world, "junkies" get indirectly bashed, undermined, and in a nutshell, told that they don't deserve a place on earth.

The most common argument used by "non-addicts" is "I have to pay for my Insulin for my diabetes, but they get Narcan for free? Wow, our government sucks and the system is a joke."

For those of you that don't know, diabetes is a disease in which the body's ability to produce or respond to the hormone, insulin, is impaired, resulting in abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates and elevated levels of glucose in the blood and urine.

There are two types of this disease: Type 1 Diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes that result from a variety of different factors. Diabetes can be acquired through genetics but can also be personally obtained through lifestyle, depending on the type. Aside from genetics and being born into a diabetic family, you may also be diagnosed with diabetes as a result of physical inactivity, high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol, and being overweight. In other words, if you let your body go, don't work out or do some type of physical activity, let your high blood pressure go untreated, and eat unhealthy foods; you have a chance of developing diabetes.

Next, let's talk about prices.

On average, Insulin costs $200 monthly. This depends on the brand, personal insurance, coupons, and other factors such as organizations that help people get cheaper insulin.

Narcan nasal spray costs $130 for a two-time use. You can buy it at CVS Pharmacy (and other pharmacies) in states such as Ohio, Arkansas, California, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, and Wisconsin. Some of these states may require a prescription.

Now that you know that Narcan/Evzio isn't free, it's time to talk about other charges that are brought upon addicts when they overdose. If an ambulance is called, they have to pay for it. If they are sent to the emergency room, they also have to pay for that.

The idea that "junkies" get Narcan for free is something society has made up to make drug users feel even more guilt than they already do from having an addiction alone.

Believe it or not, most of us are addicted to something that can be fatal or cause illness/injury. If you eat processed foods or sugar ridden foods every day, chances are you have an addiction to sugar. The withdrawal that someone has from quitting sugar is similar to the withdrawal that one goes through from quitting heroin. You get a splitting headache, you have cold sweats, you are moody, and it makes you sick. If you drink coffee all day on most days and you try to quit, it results in an awful headache for a few days. The addiction to cigarettes and the withdrawal that people go through for that speaks for itself; we all know a smoker or an ex-smoker.

Instead of following social norms, degrading drug users and putting ourselves on a pedestal because we don't use heroin or another "hard drug," we should advocate for the health and stand up for each other. If you see someone on the street that you know is a drug user, pull them aside and pray with them. Help them find a better life. Recommend church, rehab, or any other ideas that may be at your fingertips to mention.

The moral of the story is this: we all have an addiction, hypocrisy is at it's finest thanks to social media, and we are all human. Walk a mile in someone else's shoes before you judge them. It doesn't cost a dime to shed light on someone's life, especially when they are in need.

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