I knew I needed to get help when I wanted to end my life.
It wasn't even a "want"; it felt like it was my only option.
My grandfather – one of my heroes and biggest mentors – had recently died. We held his hand as he passed away in the Hospice room. I was the Executrix. I felt overwhelmed by the responsibility of carrying out his arrangements. My husband was dealing with his own stuff from his time as a Marine in the Iraq War. We lived in a pretty terrible and cramped apartment. I was bogged down by work. I wanted to look out for my family during this difficult time too.
I moved from months of feeling overwhelm/despair to months of feeling numb inside. I felt like I was lying inside an open coffin with the weight of life being shoveled and hauled on top of me.
To make matters more complicated, I had accepted Jesus into my heart when I was 5. But here I was, 25 years later, lying in my bed each night, feeling misery. What Christian lives life like this? Am I really a Christian? What about the "Fruit of the Spirit?" What was wrong with me that I couldn't dig myself out of this emotional mess? Am I not praying enough? Or praying the right prayers? At that point, suicide wasn't a "want". It seemed like the only way out.
When I began picturing how I would do it, I knew I needed to reach out for professional help.
And that's when I researched and called a therapist. It was one of the best, most difficult decisions I have ever made.
Difficult, because telling a complete stranger your problems for the first time feels like jumping out of a plane. It feels palms-sweaty kind of scary and completely nonsensical (who willingly jumps out of a plane?). It also feels straight-up awkward. And then, after the first session, when a thousand locked-up hurts start to bust and break open, you can't sleep for 2 nights afterwards.
But it was the best decision because it helped me to unravel and unwind a ton of negative thoughts. It helped to heal wounds that I had been carrying from my younger years into my adulthood. It taught me coping skills, boundaries, self-care, and how to forgive myself and others. It taught me about me.
The release and freedom from all of that pain was so worth it. So very worth it.
And I no longer believe that if you are a Christian and you are depressed, that something is "wrong" with you or your walk with Jesus.
That's why He gives some people the gift of Encouragement (Romans 12). He wants us to be encouraged by others when we are at our lowest. We are part of His plan to lift each other up when we can't seem to pull ourselves out of our darkest moments. And some of those Encouragers just happen to be professionals.
If you are dealing with your own dark moments and would like to get help (please know that you don't have to go through life feeling like this), here are some resources that might be useful for you:
When has asking for help made you feel alive again?
Who's helped to lift you up in your time of need?
How can you be of an encouragement to somebody today?