If you can take me as I am

I’m gonna write this a little bit more like I used to write some of my posts. I used to be really open about the things I struggled with; I wrote and dealt with them more in my posts. But I learned that sometimes there was a time and place for that kind of disclosure, so I pulled back some. Also, some of it became less intense, less all-encompassing, less severe, so I had less to write about.

In case you haven’t read most (or any) of past blog posts (on here or MySpace) about my journey (and/or if you don’t know me), I had my first deep depressive episode at 14. At age 17, I spiraled down and was diagnosed with “major depressive disorder.” Since then, I have continually been on medicine, in and out of counseling/treatment as needed, and dealing with the low(er)(est) times of depression as they came.

This week, I felt the depression kicking in. Hardcore. Had several very low days in a row, and then yesterday my mood was determined to kick my butt. I had to go home from work, having worked myself up with anxiety to the point of getting physically sick. I went home and tried to numb myself out with a TV show…but of course it was sad, and then suddenly I was crying…and then I was sobbing. Like, the gut-wrenching sobs that you think are going to tear your heart out. I’m familiar with it,  the pain that takes over my mind and spreads into my chest, the despairing anguish. I double over just to contain the agony, to keep it from tearing me apart. And the world is bleak, and I’m more than alone, and I’m hopeless. I sleep just so I can shut my mind off, and shut the world out.

In case that’s not enough info for you, at this point I’ll take it a step further: all I wanted to do was die. I long for death. I constantly fight to not go back to the self-injurious habits I’ve had in the past. When I think off the years and years of this cycle, of feeling and falling into and living in these dark, dark places…where my mind betrays me and won’t think in Truth or accept any Goodness or Hope…where I lose motivation or joy in anything…when I think of all these things, first I fight not to hurt myself, and then I beg God to take me home. I beg Him for relief, I beg for death, the one thing that will take me to the place I long for, the place without pain. And I hurt, and I’m angry, that this is a battle I have to face day after day for far too long.

25-year-olds aren’t supposed to pray to die.

And yet, here I am. In that place. Again.

I asked people to pray for me. I prayed for today, that I could make it and endure after the terrible, hellish bleakness of the day before. And it was ok. I still had some of the lowness, the anxiety. But I started to smile some. I started to make people laugh, which made me happy. I had people show they care, and that made me feel loved. And then I met with a group of people, and for part of our meeting, we dove into Scripture and talked about an amazing passage and what it meant.

And I came home tonight and felt…peace. I sat here with a smile on my face where last night I sat in tears.

To me? That is a picture of God’s grace. He doesn’t have to be the lifter of my head, but He is. He doesn’t have to give joy that sustains me, but He does. And He doesn’t have to be the Love that still saves me every day from myself…but He is. He is beautiful, and the most precious thing in my life. Nothing compares with Him; I have no reason to keep living and fighting without Him. But He is mine, and I am His. And that is good news, my friends. It is beautiful, life-changing news.

If you need to know how He can change your life or save you, get in touch with me. And if you’re needing some encouragement, I’d be happy to pray with and for you.

Also, a special, precious tool in my life has been To Write Love on Her Arms. If you’re struggling with some of these issues, this group has encouraged me along my journey for the last 4 years. They would be a great place to turn.

Thank you for letting me be real. I hope I have not shared more than I should have, but I hope that if I can let you see me at my rawest, you will see even more how good God is to replace the dead ashes of my life with Beauty…and I believe that Beauty is knowing Him.

Regrets

Disclaimer: If you’re looking for a light, happy, superficial post or are not ready for some raw honesty, please do not read.

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Lately, it seems as though the struggles and demons from my past have a way of catching up with me.

I dealt with severe depression full-time since I was about 17. Only in the last year has it begun to be less constant, less every-day. It has affected me in more ways that I can say. I have learned a lot and changed a lot since then. I’m not who I was.

But who I was still catches up with me. Sometimes it’s in a relapse, such as a few days of a depressive episode of even in the form of self-injury. It’s been two years since I have cut myself seriously, but I have had my moments where it’s happened again on smaller-scales.

Sometimes it catches up in the form of consequences. I made many bad decisions while depressed and allowed things to happen that I should not have. I didn’t care or couldn’t care. I was desperate for some sort of escape. After a while it didn’t matter what happened to me anymore. On some level I suppose I thought I didn’t deserve any better.

I have learned now, though, that while I didn’t care what happened to me, I had now idea how it would affect me later. And it hurts most when I see it hurting the people I care about. And I have been reminded vividly of that in the last few days. I have seen both relapses and consequences hurt the people who love me. It breaks my heart. I want to run away and hide and take all my bad decisions with me. I want to hide in a cave where it’s just me and my regrets, where they are hidden and silent and cannot affect another person.

The only problem is that it’s not possible. And when you try, it just traps you in darkness with your regrets.

God has forgiven me. He has saved me from myself. I am being made new every day. But the past still lurks. I still have regrets. I still cry over what happened. And more than anything, I still have to figure out how to forgive myself…and hope that others do, too.

Please consider helping Mercy Ministries

Having once donated a small gift to Mercy Ministries in the past, I received this email today. I hope you will read over it and consider helping out this organization. In short, they are a non-profit organization who takes in young women (age 13-28) seeking freedom from life-controlling issues such as suicide, self-injury, depression, eating disorders, unplanned pregnancy, and physical/sexual abuse. This life-changing help is offered free of charge to the young women.Click on the following link for more information about who Mercy Ministry is and what they do. Please read the copy of this email below to learn more about their financial need, and consider giving some small gift so they can continue changing and saving girls’ lives. Even $5 can make a difference.

Dear Katy:

I felt the need to communicate with you via email today to make you aware of our current needs. So many of our friends and supporters have told me time and time again that I should let them know when we need help and how exactly they can help. We are in a challenging time financially in the ministry and need your help.

The truth is that during challenging times like these, we get more requests than ever for our services. The increase in calls from struggling young women only makes us even more thankful that we are able to continue to offer our services free of charge – just as God led me over 26 years ago. We are also working toward opening 40 more beds in our California home to respond to the demand and the ever increasing cries for help so that 40 girls can leave our waiting list and find healing through our ministry.

Unfortunately, we receive heart-breaking news from time to time of girls dying while on our waiting list. Just last week, we received a funeral program from the mother of a beautiful young woman who died at age 23 from an eating disorder while in the process of applying to Mercy Ministries. It is no exaggeration for me to say your giving means the difference between life and death for these struggling young women.

We realize that the country is going through difficult economic times, and we have seen a shortfall in giving as many of our own families and supporters are struggling, yet we are grateful for even the smallest donation. For those of you who are blessed financially, we ask that you help make up the loss of those who have been unable to give.

I thought an email would be the best way to communicate so that if you are in a position where you can give right now, then you can simply respond by giving online to provide us with immediate help. Click here to go to our website and give.

Lives are being transformed, but the problem is not solved. In the month of April, we graduated 25 girls from our U.S. homes. As we celebrated their changed lives and their restored hope for their futures, we also made room for 25 new girls to come into the program off of our waiting list. We are at a point where we are reaching more girls than we have ever reached before, but this is also putting more pressure than ever before on our finances.

So, I want to give you an opportunity to help. If you are able and feel led, please help by giving a gift today. If you know someone else who might want to help us, please send this email to a friend and know that regardless of the amount of your gift, it is greatly appreciated. Together we can make a great difference!

Thank you,

Nancy Alcorn
Founder and President