I was 13 years old the first time I was told I was worthless. I was 14 when I first got the backwards idea to inflict pain on myself in order to feel better. I was 15 when I began skipping meals because I hated what I saw in the mirror. I was 16 when I started struggling with symptoms of anxiety and depression.
I grew up learning the subconscious message that I was worthless, a waste of space, and not quite good enough. Throughout the years I have battled with this depression but despite the overwhelming urge to give up, I always feel this push to keep going. Sometimes it comes in the form of a friend who struggles with the same things, sometimes it's someone that won't give up on me, and sometimes it's just a simple song.
I now realize it is and always has been God holding on to me when I am too weak to hold onto anything else.
In your lifetime, you'll need coffee shops and sunsets and road trips. Airplanes and beaches and new songs and old songs, but people more than anything else. You need other people. And, sometimes you'll need to be that other person to someone else. You were created to love and be loved. You were meant to live life in relationship with other people; to know and be known. You need to know your story is important and that you're part of a bigger story, too.
You need to know that your life matters.
It has been less than a year since my last relapse, but I still see my story reach people in a way I never thought it could. I've seen faces light up when they realize they aren't alone.
I have developed a compassion for others that I would not otherwise have. I wouldn't take back a single moment of the darkness I walked through, and continue to walk through, because I will one day live long enough to conquer the brokenness and share my story. I have lived long enough to learn and understand the value Jesus placed on me when He purchased me with His own precious blood.
I am continuing to learn that I have worth, significance, and a story that someone needs to hear.
And so do you.
This National Suicide Prevention Week, I urge you to reach out. Get help. Your life is worth fighting for.
National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255