I was looking for something else when I found it: the journal I didn’t remember keeping in my Google Docs. The journal that described, with unflinching honesty, how I felt while depressed. I have kept a journal off and on for years–ever since I was a preteen–and so the fact that I kept a journal while depressed didn’t surprise me. What did surprise me is that I forgot how bad it really was, how much I felt despair and how much I wanted to stop existing. I forgot how dark the darkness really was. Reading each entry was like reopening a wound–painful and delicate and raw. But I couldn’t help myself. I kept on picking at that wound, and before I knew it I was crying. I came so close to choosing death for myself. I came so close to leaving everything I love. I came so close to giving up, to giving in to the deadly thoughts that left me worn and weary. I came SO. CLOSE.
But I did not give up. I did not give in. I am still here. Praise God, I am still here. And I want to sing it from the rooftops, “I am STILL HERE. God is STILL GOOD.”
I think the forgetting is a gift. So much of the past two and a half years was spent in the fog of depression, and I think if I were haunted by its memories every day I would come undone. So instead of wishing I remembered more, I am glad that I don’t. I am glad I have the luxury of forgetting even a little of the pain I went through. I know that is not a luxury all have, and I am not going to waste it. I know too that tomorrow I could wake up and the happiness I feel could be gone.
I am not foolish enough to think myself immune from future calamity, and I am wise enough to be thankful for the present calm.
It has been hard these past few days to live with the awful truth that I wanted to end my life. It has been hard to confront the fact that I missed out on weeks and weeks with my family because I was in treatment. It has been hard reckoning with the toll my illness took on my marriage, on my family, on my friends. I could get lost in a haze of guilt if I tried. But instead I offer up thanks for my marriage, for my family, for my friends. I give my life to God, open-handed but fearful and trembling. I speak the prayer I know to be true, the one that has saved me all along: “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”
This is the song I sing.