I am the kind of person to believe that everyone has a story to tell. That being said, no person’s story is better than another’s; a personal life story is an amazing thing, it is a part of you. I personally enjoy sharing my story, and I think there are many things within my story that could potentially help people if they’re struggling like I once did, maybe help people gain perspective, maybe give hope. Above all, I just want people to be able to understand me more and what makes me who I am. This will be blatantly honest and I’m not going to be holding anything back, not even the painful parts. That being said, there’s a lot of parts of my story that aren’t easy to talk about or read, don’t be alarmed to see some extremely regrettable decisions. I hope you enjoy.
I was brought up in a Christian household, so I picked up my belief in God at an early age. However, as you’ll see through this story, my faith was not very strongly rooted and easily pulled apart when things started to get tough. Usually, I contain my story and testimony to this specific period of events, dominantly the end of my sophomore year and through my junior year of high school.
We’ll start with a quick flashback to December of my sophomore year: my parents were a little concerned about my tendencies to stick to myself and not really communicate with people. We went to a doctor and I was diagnosed with mild to moderate depression. I felt as though I had been labeled, like this title of “depressed” had just been stuck on me and followed me everywhere. I picked up a bad tendency of self-harm, typically through cutting. This bad tendency continued through the majority of this time span.
Over the summer between my sophomore and junior year, I found myself in a not-so-healthy relationship. I made some bad decisions, leaving one relationship for another and becoming interested in all the wrong things. I gave into temptation easily, and got caught into a horrible cycle. I regretfully had sex more times than I can even count through that relationship. I’m very ashamed of my actions of that relationship, and given the chance to change one thing from my life, I would avoid those decisions and would want my purity back. It pains me so deeply that someday when I get married, I won’t be able to have my purity for my wife. But I realize that I can’t take my actions back anymore; what’s done is done. This relationship lasted for nearly 5 months, and it ended after she cheated on me twice. A fact which I chose to hide out of what respect I still had for her. All of this happened over the course of the summer and the start of my junior year.
Meanwhile, the most positive thing I had going for me was soccer. I was in line to be the next varsity goalkeeper for my high school, following in the immediate footsteps of my brother, who was a four-year starter and taught me a lot of what I know. In June, however, these aspirations for soccer came to an end. I was at a goalkeeper training camp and, a few days into camp, tore my MCL in my right knee. Losing soccer was a big blow to me; being on the soccer field has always been so freeing to me. When I’m on that field, playing my spot, all of my stress melts away, I can focus solely on the enjoyment I get from soccer. But for the next season, that possibility was gone. I didn’t know how to relieve my stress anymore.
Moving forward, I was involved in something at my school called the Link Crew, where upperclassmen come in the day before school starts and essentially give a tour around the high school to the incoming freshmen and just familiarize them with their surroundings for the next four years, as well as give them role models to look up to. The night before we were suppose to go in early to perform our duty as Link Crew Leaders, I went through one of the toughest experiences I’ve ever had. One of my younger friends from Tennessee contacted me and told me she was having problems facing bullying from some friends at her school. I didn’t know what kind of advice to give to someone being bullied, I had never experienced it before. Long story short, after several hours of me trying to talk her out of it, my friend committed suicide. She was 13 years old. It took me a very long time to come to terms with the fact that I did as much I could have. For a long time, I felt responsible.
Soon after, a close call concerning my brother. He had taken off his first semester from school to go travel to South America. I was so excited for him. During his first week, however, he was drugged and robbed. I was fearful that I may never get to see him again. I was terrified. My entire family had to figure out whether we wanted him to come home right away or stay for the remainder of his trip. We all agreed that he should stay and complete the trip; we didn’t want his only experience on his trip to be a negative one, so he stayed and turned it into a very positive experience. But at the same time, I was still terrified.
As if I wasn’t going through enough, I lost another person in my life. I remember it was a rainy Friday morning in school. Not particularly rainy, just a drizzle; enough to make the day feel like it was just dragging on. School had just started, and I remember hearing a ton of sirens go by. I didn’t think much of it, but I just had this bad feeling digging at me from the inside. I found out later that day that a close childhood friend of mine from my first school had been in a car accident. The sirens had been going to this accident. Unfortunately, after about a day, my friend passed away as a result of the accident. Granted, I hadn’t talked to him in years, but I still felt the loss. I had always seen him on Facebook and thought to myself, “Hey, I should talk to him and just catch up and see how he’s doing.” But I kept telling myself I could just do it next time and pushed it off over and over again. Until it became too late. I always regretted not reaching out and just talking to him one last time, I never felt real closure.
Through all of these events, my untested faith was surely being tested. Even worse, it wasn’t passing the test. Yes, my faith was dwindling. I just didn’t understand why a loving God would allow all these horrible things to happen to anyone, especially all at once. Let alone why He was doing this to the people who it was directly happening to. I hated what He was doing, I just couldn’t understand it, it was too difficult for me. So I gave up. I turned my back on God. I told myself that if that was life with God, I didn’t want it. I was angry, and I wanted to know why these things were happening. I just couldn’t see it, so I gave up.
By this time, it was early October. I had already been through so much just over a month into school. I was cutting again and extremely depressed. I wanted to give up. Now comes the part of the story that some people know, but don’t quite recognize the significance of.
I had a typical routine everyday after getting home from school: get home, go to my room for several hours, eat dinner and hardly say a word, go back to my room and do homework, sleep. I hardly spoke to my parents, I was so distant. One particular night, I kept to myself even more than usual, only talking to my parents to avoid further questions about my day. My parents could easily tell that this day was bad. They came up to my room that night to try to find out what was going on. I greeted them rudely. I wanted nothing to do with anybody, I just wanted to be alone. We began fighting. After an exchange of words between my mother and I, during which we both said things I know we wish we hadn’t, my mom left the room. I had never really yelled at my parents before.. But I had just exploded on them. My dad went to talk to my mom, I had hurt her badly. Later that night, my dad came back up to my room and said he was taking me to the hospital for my depression. And so I went.
What my parents didn’t know is that with that action, they saved my life. Before they came up to my room, I was planning how to kill myself. That was going to be the night. That was going to be my last night. But they saved me.
Mom, Dad, thank you so much for saving me. I love you so much. I’m sorry for how I hurt you that night. I hope you know how much your actions on that night meant to me.
Going there was a good experience. While there, I was re-diagnosed with severe depression. I was taught some very helpful things to hopefully prepare me to handle this depression. After those several days in the hospital, I was convinced I was going to put my life back together. Only to watch it fall apart again.
I had no one to blame but myself. Long story short, my habits from my previous relationship would not go away, I nearly got a girl pregnant. I was back to making bad decisions. Even more, I dropped all my morals. My entire life, I had been very strictly pro-life. In my moments of weakness, I agreed with her that an abortion would be best if she got pregnant. Thankfully, things never went down that road. I can’t stand that I did all of these horrible things. It wasn’t me. I had to change. I had to get back to who I really was. I had learned my lesson: that life wasn’t for me. Not anymore.
Unfortunately, what I had done spread around my school. Everybody knew. On top of that, my ex-girlfriend who had cheated on me got her chance to bring me down more. See, I had still not told anybody how our relationship ended, I simply told people that it “wasn’t working out” and that we went our separate ways. Of course, everybody wanted an answer. When people asked her and nobody had the whole story, she apparently saw it as an opportunity. She took this chance and told anyone who asked that I had been the one that cheated on her. Since no one had a story to believe, they believed her version as soon as it came out. That too spread around the school very quickly.
I started getting bullied. People thought I was trash, I picked up some very colorful nicknames. A favorite of most people became the name “manwhore” to describe me. I didn’t know how to fight it. So I hid. I remember receiving a text message saying, “No one loves you. No one ever has and no one ever will.” Even worse, all these words, all these things people were saying about me, I started to believe them. I couldn’t fight them, so I accepted them.
I was just in this downward spiral; stuck. This pattern and the bullying lasted until late December, when I left. I came home from school one Monday, crying. I finally opened up to my parents. My mom was home, I cried on the couch and said to my mom, “Don’t ever make me go back there.” By that night, I was out of that high school, in the middle of my junior year. The question from my mom came: “Where do you want to go?”
At this point in my life, I realized how estranged from faith I had become. I had completely stopped believing in God. I wanted God back in to my life, but I had put up so many barriers that I knew I needed to work at it. I chose to go to a small private Christian school in the area.
This school changed my life. All for the better. I returned to faith. Not only did I come back to faith, but I grew my faith. It became stronger than ever before, it still continues to grow every single day. I got to go to Panama just a few months into attending this new school on a missions trip. While I was there, I looked around at the kids and all the people, and I came to this conclusion: “In America, we have the best and make so little of it. There, they have so little and make the best of it.” This perspective changed my life. Something just clicked inside me. I had been on the maximum dose of medication for depression. While in Panama, I put down those pills. I’ve never picked them up since then. My depression is gone. And my God won’t ever let it come back.
I realize I also forgot to mention another miracle God put in my life. During the summer between my sophomore and junior year, soon before the real struggling began, I attempted suicide. On top of depression medication, I had been prescribed a sleep aid. Nighttime was always difficult for me, that’s when thoughts began flowing through my mind. I only needed to take two to three pills to easily knock me out for a night if I had any trouble sleeping. One day, I took sixty. Sixty. By no means should I have woken up the next morning. But I did. God kept me alive for some bigger reason. Miracles are so, so, so real.
For the sake of this getting even longer, I’ve left out some of the amazing experiences I had on my recovery, I’m sure I’ll recall some of them in regular posts. For now, just know that I am so incredibly thankful for the remarkable people, places, and experiences God has allowed me to have in my life.
This world is a crazy place. But nothing is impossible. Not with God.
“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”
Thank you for taking the time to read my story. Everything is here, all the negative things: this is all the “dirt” there ever has been on me. My story is not over, it’s still so early on. These events shaped my life and turned me into the person I am today. There are so many incredible stories I still have to share, but this is where things all began. God put grace and love and all these amazing opportunities to me. He gives them to absolutely everyone. Everyone has a story to share. All it takes is one.