Saturday, 25 January 2014

Amazing Grace & Stripes

TRIGGER WARNING: This blog post discusses suicide and self-harm in the desire to move on. If this will in any way trigger you, please do not read further.

For years, I have seen my depression as a punishment. I believed that if I was a better Christian, I would be happy like all the other girls I saw at Church. If I was just nicer, if I just did more evangelism, if I prayed more, if I gave more, was gentler, prettier, allowed myself to be hurt more, I would be free of the pain I felt. God would finally love me enough to free me from the torment that ruled my life. I felt too much and not enough all at the same time.
After my diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), I began to struggle with God and the Church. I struggled with the anxiety of physically being in a Church (all those people! all those questions!). I struggled with the people who believed that I just needed prayer when all I wanted was medication. When I finally went to see my GP, I had tried everything to rid myself of the pain. I had drunk too much, I had starved myself but I had exercised, I had been prayed for, I had been on a soya only diet, I had gone caffeine free, meat free, alcohol free, everything free. Nothing had made even a dent. I struggled with the people who did not suffer as I did. Who God appeared to love more. 
I began to see how much my mind and body had taken on the belief that I was deeply and irrevocably sinful. I believed in the power of redemption for others but not for myself. All I believed was that I was sinful, more sinful than anyone else. I was tired of believing that I was sinful and beyond hope. And without any hope. 
I struggled with how a loving God could possibly allow a child who He loved to suffer like this, to be born with the wrong chemicals. I saw the pain that my illness caused my mother and could not comprehend why my loving Father had left me to suffer. 
I became angry. Angry that this belief in sin had so destroyed my life. I wept over the scars that so many Christians had left on my body. The pain of the illness and the memories crucified me every day I lived, every breath I took. 
I struggled with the fact that I may not be able to have children naturally. That I could not watch my body grow with child and share the joy that I witnessed in my sister and nephew. I wept for the children I could not have. (Note: This is because my medications are dangerous for a foetus, I have a high risk of pregnancy depression and post-natal depression. There is also the strong possibility that I would pass depression on to any child I carried.) Would it not be cruel to give my child the illness that had dominated my life?
Then I began to think how abilist that was. Depression is an illness. It has robbed me of my childhood, it has lead me into harmful relationships and toxic friendships, it has stopped me from making healthy relationships, it seeks to torment me, to drive me to suicide, to hate the reflection in the mirror, to hack at my flesh, to cower in the toilets at parties crying, it hurts the people I try to love. 
Depression has been my entire existence for 25 years. A quarter of my entire lifetime. But is that it? Will it be the story of my life? What if I chose to see my depression as a gift? A fierceness, a strength that can be harnessed. My depression is strong but am I not stronger as I stand here alive? What if my self-inflicted scars were battle scars? What if I saw the good that my depression has given me? The month I spent in India working in a school for slum children. The students that I have supported both day and night. The volunteer work I have done at One25. The hugs I have given. The tears and prayers I have shed for others. My dream of being a social worker. The nights of sleep I have lost for others. The good I have done in desperation to be loved but also to stop others feeling the pain my body holds. 
So perhaps my depression is my gift. Perhaps my scars will heal and become my pride not my pain. I don't know where God and I are. I hope and pray that I will fall in love with Him once more. And together we might make the next 25 years a joyful effort to love myself and others. 

Stripes and tartan go so well together, especially with cute heart-shaped elbow patches. Why don't you try mixing and matching with stripes and tartan?

Jumper: Sheinside
Top (under): New Look
Skirt: New Look
Necklace: New Look
Earrings: New Look

1 comment:

  1. Awesome pics!
    Super cool outfit