To be fully loved, you must be fully known. Here’s me taking a step toward the latter.
I’ve been considering sharing my “story” for a few months now. Some things here and there have been nudging me in that direction. But this past weekend while visiting my in-laws’ church in Houston, I felt the final tug to make it happen. The speaker shared his story very openly and ended by saying that while it’s hard (and risky) to be transparent, it’s God’s story to tell, not ours to hide. So here I am, being open, being vulnerable, and simply trusting that God has purpose in using my words.
I battle depression. Not just the kind that puts me in a bad mood from time to time. No, it’s the kind that led me to create a plan to end it all and a stay in a psych ward against my will. The kind that has wreaked havoc on my marriage and brought me to the point where I tried to drink myself to oblivion. The kind that can kill you.
I battle depression. Not just the kind that puts me in a bad mood from time to time. … The kind that can kill you.
If I had to trace it back to the very beginning, I would probably say there were signs of it as early as high school. But unfortunately, I wasn’t “diagnosed” until January of 2015.
Preceding my diagnosis, I had about a year and a half of extremely fast-paced, incredible yet chaotic experiences. I ended a very hard relationship, moved to Seattle for an internship (at a church that fell apart while I was there), began a new relationship that soon led to an engagement, moved to Texas, dove into some very intense training (with people I had never met before!), and then planned a wedding and got married. SO. MUCH.
After moving to Texas, I was going downhill mentally and emotionally. My thoughts became irrational and I sank into a dark, dark place. When my husband, Jake, and I got married in January 2015, we finally decided to get help. We knew something was wrong but we couldn’t figure it out on our own. We ended up stepping into counseling. It wasn’t easy. I was hesitant because of the stigma around “people who have to see therapists.” But in our desperate need for help, we went anyways.
The next few months were awful.
Jake and I were always fighting, and he was becoming tired and weary. I kept turning to him to “fix it” and to “make me happy.” He worked as hard as he could, but nothing he was able to do was good enough to make it all go away. I could hardly function mentally. I felt so far from God. I was losing hope.
That’s when suicide first entered my mind.
It was May of 2015. I remember sitting out in my car one night in the parking lot of our apartment complex. The thoughts slowly crept in.
“Maybe it’s not worth it.”
“Maybe life isn’t worth it.”
It terrified me. I just wanted it to be better.
That night passed and I held on. Jake ended up asking me soon after if suicidal thoughts were something I was dealing with. In my shame, I shook my head no. But in my tears, he saw the truth. Standing by me and supporting me, he brought me to our counselor. I told her and she suggested medication. But I was incredibly stubborn and rejected the idea.
Months went by. Some weeks were better, some were worse. Sometimes I was even convinced I was “healed” but sadly that just wasn’t the case. In October, the depression came back stronger than ever before. Jake and I had another fight one night, and I was panicking as I questioned where I would find my peace and joy. Jake couldn’t be that for me. He wasn’t enough to fix me. So that night, knowing my parents were out of town, I bought a bottle of vodka and went down to their house. I started drinking as much as I could handle until most of the bottle was inside of my frail and weak body. I’m very thankful that in my altered mindset, I texted Jake to tell him what I was doing. He rushed to where I was at to take care of my broken, empty, and drunk self.
I bought a bottle of vodka and … started drinking as much as I could handle until most of the bottle was inside of my frail and weak body
I wish I could say that was my wake up call, that in that moment I realized I needed help and got that help. But it’s not. Sure, I agreed to start taking medication. I went down to my family doctor, but I played it off like it was no big deal.
Within a month the depression and suicidal thoughts became worse. It all exploded in a Home Depot parking lot.
I was sitting on my phone, a battle raging within. That’s when I opened my phone and started the search.
“How to commit suicide.” It had finally come to that point. I was done fighting. It was too hard. I had tried for a year to make this go away and it wouldn’t. I was finished.
As I searched, I remembered that I had set up a “battle plan” with my counselor in case I ever got to this point. I was supposed to call her immediately. In one last desperate search for help — with one last ounce of fight — I did. I asked to set up an appointment with her. She told me the first opening she had wasn’t until the next day, but through my tears I quietly answered, “I don’t know if I can make it until then.”
I was sitting on my phone, a battle raging within. That’s when I opened my phone and started the search. “How to commit suicide.”
She immediately told me to meet her at the nearest hospital. With no other options, I went. That night, November 4, 2015, I spent the night in the mental hospital, admitted against my will.
None of my possessions.
All I could force out of my mouth on that dark and hopeless night was, “God, where are you?”
That was my wake up call. That was when I finally saw how desperately sick I had become. That was rock-bottom. And that’s when my perspective started to change.
Instead of continuing to wallow in my hurt and confusions and discomfort, instead of continuing to play the victim of whatever game I thought God was playing, I started crying out for help. Crying to God to help me and to be what I needed. I needed HIM to be my joy. I needed HIM to be my peace. I needed HIM to be my healer.
Jake and I spent two days begging God for change and hope.
When going to the doctor for things like depression, they ask you to fill out a little survey to see how “bad” it is. I remember sitting in the waiting room when I first went to get medication with my clipboard, answering questions such as, “Have you wanted to harm yourself?” As I was filling out the survey (and lying on ALL of the questions), a lady I knew in high school recognized me from across the room. I made sure my clipboard was out of sight as she began to go on and on about how happy I look and how much she loves following me on Facebook. That moment has never left my mind. It made me wonder who else had been lying just like I had been.
And that’s why I’m sharing my story now. To encourage others to stop lying to themselves and others. To be more than your social media accounts. To admit when you’ve hit rock bottom. To cry out to someone beyond yourself. To be real. To be known.
Be more than your social media accounts. Admit when you’ve hit rock bottom. Cry out to someone beyond yourself. Be real. Be known.
It’s been almost seven months since Jake and I had that moment. While I still have really hard days and moments, I can honestly say depression no longer controls me. I dare say I’ve found victory. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have my moments. And now I’m sharing my story in hopes that you can find relief, too. Stories are powerful. And one of the most encouraging things during my dark moments was hearing other people say, “I have truly been there too. And I made it through.”
There is SO much hope in that. There is so much hope for you.
Kadi is a professional photographer and artist. She lives in Dallas with her husband and Brittany Spaniel, Summit. You can follow her work at kadidawn.com.