I jumped out of a car on the highway. I was belligerent. I was drunk. I was broken. Exactly 12 months ago I was restrained, sedated, and taken to a psychiatric facility for attempting suicide. I really wanted to die. But Jesus, and the people surrounding me didn’t let that happen. I spent a week in that facility walking up and down the hallways, sobbing my eyes out, wondering what my life had come to and questioning who I even was and what purpose I could possibly serve.
I know what it feels like to be one step away from it being too late. I know what those intrusive thoughts are like. You know, the ones that say, “Life would honestly be so much easier if you were gone,” or “just let go of all this.” I know how frustrating it can be to be walking across a bridge and have the fleeting thought that tells you, “This would be the perfect spot to jump if you want to escape.”
A year ago I was in such a place of desperation and brokenness. Could a change of scenery even help? Was I stuck in this mindset and heaviness forever? Well, three weeks after the hospitalization, I packed up my jeep and moved to Nashville. Over the course of this past year, I have gone through things I never expected I would. I have lost a lot of important friendships in my life, I admitted I was an alcoholic, I met with a therapist on a weekly basis and learned things about myself I had never been able to recognize. My heart has been broken, and at times my mind welcomed those deceiving thoughts.
But in my year of living here in Nashville I’ve also learned more about myself than I ever thoughts possible. I got re-baptized, I developed Christ centered friendships, I’ve been faced with the challenge of being still, I’m struggling to learn what it looks like to be whole without a man, and probably more than anything, I’ve been learning firsthand what grace actually is. Grace is a gift so unwarranted and life-giving. It is a treasure I will never deserve, but always have. Jesus isn’t surprised by my weaknesses. For me, I get stuck in a mindset. I tune in so closely to the problem at hand, and I forget how momentary each situation truly is.
When I was sedated and strapped to a stretcher in Pennsylvania, hope was non-existent. I wouldn’t look past what was right in front of me because I chose to be overwhelmed and consumed with lies the devil was feeding me. Events from that week continue to flash through my mind from time to time, and when they do- at first I’m paralyzed by the horror of that week, but then I’m overcome with thankfulness that God decided my story wasn’t over. In fact, I choose to believe that it was just getting started.
I saw a post on social media the other day about hopelessness and a desire to give up. Isn’t that way too common in this day and age? If you don’t like “it” (whatever “it” may be) or “it” seems too hard and impossible to get through–then throw it away and find something that works better. That’s what we’re told at least. I’d venture to say though, if you don’t like something, or a sense of impossibility and hopelessness clouds your view- don’t throw it away, instead, figure out why it doesn’t work. If I didn’t address my problems- if I pretended that my attempted suicide never happened, I would be burying the truth and avoiding any feelings of discomfort. Healing wouldn’t come. I don’t believe healthy change will come until we learn to sit in the discomfort, analyze it, but then fight to make it better, believing that life will look entirely different, eventually.
As someone who is new to recovery, outpatient services, AA, and individual therapy has served me well, and I am so thankful for it. But I believe too much emphasis is put into what other humans can do for me. I don’t want to fall into the thinking that therapy will heal me, or that any human can provide a better alternative than Jesus Christ. Sometimes healing simply comes when we step up and continue to rise to the occasion God calls us to. Restoration comes in walking through life with Jesus, day after day. No power is greater than that of He who holds the world in His hands. There is absolutely still brokenness in my life, and I expect there always will be. But as I type this out, and think about the difficult and hopeless moments in my life, I wouldn’t want to take away a single one. God makes everything beautiful in his time (Ecclesiastes 3:11) and tonight, I feel beautiful. Through a year of countless “stuck” moments, “I want to die” moments, and “my heart can’t break anymore than it has tonight” moments, I’ve stumbled into the beauty of His grace and understanding.
Please don’t give up. Don’t walk away before the miracle happens. I promise that a year from now, life will look different. Mine sure does.