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My Cup Now vs. My Cup Then

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I love life now!! I really can’t believe it. Why? Because I have lived so long trying to figure out ways to take my own life without it looking like suicide. The only thing that stopped me was the consequences that  would land on my kids. I felt like they would constantly question their value. And, I didn’t want to put that on them. After all, that was my issue. I had no value for life.

I remember the first time I wanted to run away. I was in the sixth grade. I missed my bus to school one day, and I didn’t want to go home because my abuser was there. So, I started to run away. Then I thought, I have no money. I have no overnight clothes. I don’t know where I would go, and (the biggest thought) I don’t want to embarrass my family. So, I decided to go home and face the abuse. As I walked home, I decided that I hated my life. Ending my life soon seemed like the only way out. There was no rescue. I had no purpose.

I took a few pills one time, but nothing happened…

My mother was on various medications. I remember reading the labels and trying to decided which one would do the job. I battled with just taking them all at once.  What if I just ended up in a long-term coma? Or, worse than that. What if I ended up handicapped for life and someone else had to care for me? Who would do that? I would still have this pain inside. I remember the inner pain so well.  

I thought of stabbing myself.  I have to tell you, I am so glad my family did not own a gun. I am sure I would have used it.  I tried stabbing my abdomen, but the knife wasn’t sharp enough. It hurt so badly that I lost my breath. I dropped the knife and went into my room crying. I felt like a failure for not being able to go through with it.  I felt powerless.  

I was lost. One day, my abuser was sitting in a chair with his back towards me and I had a knife in my hand. I had the strongest urge to stab him in the back. I almost did it. Rage, hatred, and violence were all present, as were powerlessness, and worthlessness, and fear. I stood there, watching the situation play out in my mind as if I was watching a movie. I saw my abuser, filled with rage, stand up with the knife in his back, turn towards me and hit me with one of his mighty blows, knocking me unconscious.

Thankfully, I put the knife back into the drawer and walked away quiet as a mouse.

Once I had kids, I realized I couldn’t take my own life. But, it didn’t stop me from thinking about how I could run my car into a tree on my way to work. I even thought to crash into a tree with all my kids in the car.  I knew I needed help, but I couldn’t find anyone to confide in. I didn’t want to risk getting my kids taken away from me.  At the time, one of my kid’s fathers was giving me such a hard time in court. I had so much to live for, yet so many reasons to die. So work became my suicide. I put all of myself into working and taking care of my kids.  

I soon forgot about killing myself, but depression kicked my butt every single day. I was able to function for everyone during the day and give them what they needed, but at night I was like one of those Garbage Pail Kids. I would put my kids in bed and cry, cry, cry.  I would bask in self-hatred and then pull it all together for the next day.  

I want to talk about the pain that leads someone to death.

We need to have conversations about the pain.  Once someone leaves this earth in most cases, that’s final (there are accounts of people being raised from the dead…js). Pain is not final.  Depression is not a death sentence. No one should have to walk around with all this inside of them consuming their every idea, thought, and process. Looking back, I wonder if there was anything anyone could have said? Could anyone have intervened? My answer is a resounding, “YES!” We were a part of a church community. I went to public school. I had a dentist, a family doctor, a counselor.  What was the problem?

I believe one problem was the fact that those who wanted to say something or intervene may have had their own shadows to deal with and perhaps my issues were triggering their own. How do you deal with someone else’s pain when it reminds you of your own?

Here’s my message to you…there is hope.  There is life after attempted suicide, depression, despair, hopelessness, disappointment, and just plain giving up on all there is- including you. If I can hold so much despair, then I can hold as much of the opposite. I feel like that now. I am serious when I say that I expect so much out of my life. As much as I wanted to die, I am now interested in what brings me alive. I love passion and joy. I love theatre. I love seeing people express themselves. I enjoy music. I love to learn. I admire my friends and the intimacy of friendships. Life is beautiful.  I am filled with the very opposite of what I was filled with before.  

The process of letting go and emptying was not easy. It was about choice. I had to accept the things that were there. I had to face the things that happened to me and then be willing to let them go. And, in addition to that, give them all away. For me, that is where God, my creator came in. I had to give this stuff to someone!! Since He said he would take it,  I surrendered it to him. I began the process of letting it all go. And, in the process, I learned to trust what the Holy Spirit showed me about myself. This dance empowered me, inspired me, and kept me focused on getting better. It became a dance that was so intimate, just between me and the unseen cosmos. I could see that up to this very point, all things were and have always been working together for my good. I began to pursue life, embrace life, and become present as He (my Creator and Father) is present. Breathing without holding my breathe is now a reality.  

Prior to the full cup of joy, my cup was filled with the exact opposite. Either way, I was filled with something.

What is your cup filled with? Isn’t it hopeful to know we can surrender that cup of pain and be filled with as much goodness?

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