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I never planned on being admitted to a psychiatric ward… and I never imagined that I would sit facing those white halls on more than one occasion.
Funny how life works- isn’t it?
Depression and addiction will do that to you. They lead you down paths you never meant to take, and steer you through doors you never meant to walk through. The lines that you had firmly vowed to never cross become blurry, and the once forbidden path looks like just another road.
And because it is just another road, you begin the journey down it… only to end up at a destination far from the one you intended.
Like I said, I never planned on going from psych ward to psych ward; nevertheless, there is a part of me that is thankful I did. There’s something about being in the midst of people so broken down that refreshes the perfectionist in me.
You see, in the psych ward, in rehab, in support groups- you don’t have to pretend. You don’t have to act like you have it all together because if you did, you wouldn’t be sitting in that chair. You don’t have to wear the mask because (for once in your life) you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that everyone else in that room has problems too. You don’t have to be ashamed of your issues because you know that the woman in the corner talking to the dead shrub has already surpassed yours by galaxies.
As odd as it sounds, it’s one of the most normal places on earth because it’s the one place people don’t pretend.
My friend was not crazy; she was hurting. She was hurting so much on the inside that she purposely created pain on the outside. She desperately wanted to know that someone saw her, and for that one short week, I was the one who looked her way. Even in the midst of my own pain, I knew that all she wanted, all she needed, was to be noticed.
We were so alike. We both were so consumed by the cloak of invisibility that death seemed the only solution.
We were both so deceived.
Sometimes I wonder about my friend. I wonder if she is still alive, or if she finally gave in to the constant hammering of suicide. I wonder if she ever learned that Jesus sees her, just as He saw me. I wonder if she ever discovered the hope that dispels the darkness.
I pray that she did, but the reality of depression and suicide haunt me like shadows in my dreams. Statistics are high. So many young people are choosing to throw away their lives because the pain of dealing with life is just too great. So many young people feel so invisible that death seems like the only option. So many young people take their own lives everyday or live under the grasp of depression because they never experience the reality of a God who loves them.
If they truly knew that God, in all His might and authority, saw them, in all their humanness and muck, things might be different. Hope might be taken hold of, and lives might be changed. If they truly understood that Jesus died to give them life and Christianity is not just another dead religion, they might have a chance. They might put down the pills, throw away the destruction, and finally learn what it means to live.
That’s what keeps me going: Knowing that God loved me enough to die for me and saw me in the midst of my struggle. That’s what keeps me sharing my story, hoping that someone will finally “get it” and embrace the hope God offers.
That’s what this week is all about: hope. Hope in a new purpose. Hope in a new life. Hope in the One who came to die for us who had no hope to live for. Without Jesus, I would be just another statistic. Because of Jesus, I am here today telling you that there is hope in this life.
You were never invisible to the eyes of God. In fact, He considered you precious enough to not only see you through your pain, but He also sent His sinless Son to die for it too.
Now that’s something to live for.