Lies Fed to a Depressed Mind

Almost a full decade away now, I can see more clearly what happened to me.

My mental and emotional reserves were so depleted after calling off the wedding that depression was a natural outcome. However, I didn't know what depression looked or felt like. I just knew something was wrong. I kept grasping for answers until I found one that made sense. 

The first answer that made sense happened to be a lie that had been anxiously waiting in the darkness. It came from the master of deceit, the destroyer of souls himself. Whether he fed me the rest of the lies or stood by and reveled as I created my own and began to self-destruct, I do not know. 
What he said was, "I WON."

If he had truly won, and in my desperation, that made more sense than any other avenue I had explored, then a whole collection of monstrous and destructive thoughts were true.

You really blew it.
You are going to hell.
You don't deserve to live.
Everyone would be better off without you.
You are doing harm just by being here.
You did this to your mom.
You wanted to do this to your mom.
You did this to your family.
You're bringing them down with you.
All the good you ever did for anyone is hurting them now.
You're not who everyone thinks you are.
If they knew who you really were, they would HATE you.
You are not worthy.
You are wretched.
You don't deserve their efforts to help you.
There is NO hope for you.

And perhaps the most destructive one of all, the one that rang louder than any other whenever I sat in church, or received encouragement from trusted individuals and loved ones.

You are a special case. What they are saying doesn't apply to you anymore.

 I exhausted my efforts begging people I trusted to help me piece my life back together, to try to salvage whatever was left of the girl I had once known. None of my desperate attempts to be rescued from my wretched state were working. This batch of insidious thoughts became my reality and self-destruction my mode of operation.

But truth was waiting patiently in the light.

One day I realized that it just didn't add up. 

I had told my therapist my story about 9,000 times. 

I had also thoroughly documented it in my journal. 

And it just didn't add up.

Nothing I did was deserving of going to hell.

Or jail.

Or even detention in a 7th grade classroom.

In the good times and the bad times during my relationship with my ex-fiance, I had done the best I knew how. And when things just didn't feel right, I did a courageous thing and called it off.

One night, I decided that the next day I would just pretend that my life was back. That I wasn't wretched, and that God loved me. And I would report back to my journal the next night.

It went beautifully.

So I tried it again the next day.

And the next. 

With the same wonderful results.

Coming home at night was hard, because my thinking was badly wired, and when I wasn't distracted at school or at work, the demons in my head were more powerful. Before they could convince me that it wasn't true and that I was destined for wretchedness, I would write about my good days in my journal. 

January 23, 2006
I was feeling frustrated this afternoon just wanting life as I knew it back. The reason I was so frustrated is because I can genuinely say that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. There were times when I truly believed that all was lost, that I would never experience happiness again. But I believe now that I will. I believe that Heavenly Father has ached as I have struggled, but now I know that I have learned things that I couldn't have any other way. I gain a little bit greater insight each day, and each one gives me the strength I need to hang on and keep trying. I have these highs when I know that everything is going to be all right and I almost feel like myself again, only a more refined, polished young woman than I was a year ago. I get a great desire to help others, ANYONE who ever finds just the act of living to be painful. I don't always feel like that, though, and when I reflect on the past year, it's easy to get down very fast. But on the other hand, thinking of when I loathed myself makes me realize how incredibly far I've come. I think the battle now is to have patience and be grateful for progress. I am grateful that I have borne my personal Gethsemane, that I have known intense mental and spiritual anguish, for it will make the sweet so very very sweet. 

I understand now that the whole time I was trying to salvage my life, it actually didn't need salvaging. The truth was that God's love for me was as sure as ever. Once I recognized that, the greatest challenge on my plate was to exercise faith that I was actually okay. Day by day, the mess of lies quickly unraveled and I started my ascent out of the pit. 

Next Chapter: Much More Precious Than Gold