Some have heard bits and pieces of my story of depression, some have not. It is a part of my life I used to want to forget for good, a part of my life I was ashamed about. But the truth is, this is the journey God has given me to share a testimony of transformation. I have been blessed with many opportune moments to share it, and finally find myself ready to write it out. I want to preface it by saying that depression is my weak point, something Satan has used many times to harm me, but what Satan means for harm, my God uses for bringing me back to the Cross where He gets the glory. This is something highly personal that I know some of you are far too painfully familiar with. Maybe you have never been set free. Maybe you don’t know where to start. I pray my story will lead you to the Savior, the one Place where you can find perfect healing. Through my tears and my struggle, I can honestly say I have been set free, that I am living a victorious life, and that it is not I who live, but Christ who lives in me.
I don’t recall exactly when all of this took place or even the precise time line. I believe at some point my sick brain, in order to protect my wounded spirit, just threw a lot of the details in the trash bin. So forgive me if some of the details are lost or misremembered. I remember being about 11 years old when I began to seek out relationships boys in a way I now see was totally abnormal. I was looking for a place of belonging and love. In my seeking, I found way more than I bargained for. Even more than my girlish heart could handle. But I didn’t know any better. I just wanted to be loved. I started wearing clothes and makeup that I thought would please the objects of my misplaced affection. I spent every ounce of energy in me to be accepted. For a long time it was a silent battle I didn’t even recognize myself fighting. Over time as I placed my self worth in being accepted and loved by my peers, my knowledge of and value of myself slowly eroded. Before I knew it, I didn’t even recognize the girl in the mirror any more. What I saw, I loathed in the deepest sense. My soul hurt for what I was doing to myself because I knew I was on a path to destruction. You see, I gave my heart to Jesus when I was only 8 or 9. I had already been sealed, a child of God. As a girl only 11, I could have never been prepared for the battle that almost cost my earthly life. As the self hatred grew, the behavior and volatile impulsiveness only worsened, a cycle of death.
I began to think about how best to kill myself. What wouldn’t hurt and leave a mess for my parents? I decided one day I didn’t want to live a day more. I couldn’t imagine how I could be needed here on earth any more. I felt like the turmoil I brought on my family would find an end with my death. I came from school and tried to act as normal as possible. Over an hour or two I swallowed some thirty or more ibuprofen tablets. No one knew. I would just go to bed and wake up in heaven, right? At this age, I had little knowledge of medications and I really didn’t know how it would end for sure. I just prayed to God to have mercy on me, begging him to understand that I couldn’t live with the pain of hating myself any longer, praying for Him to take me away. If I remember right, my mom actually called me shortly after my deadly binge. She immediately knew something was wrong and came home. I’m not really sure why I told her what I had done. I just did. Moms always know, you know?
The rest of that day was a blur of pain, tears, and psychiatric evaluations. The next couple of years just replayed that theme like a song on repeat. The third time I was hospitalized, I was numb. I had totally lost sight of myself. I didn’t even know who Zoe Marie was any more. I was just a broken mess. By this time I was 13 going on 14 in my freshman year of high school. It was April 2000.
I vividly remember opening my Bible, one of the few belongings I was allowed to have in my room on the psych unit. I broke down in sobs, at the end of myself, wanting desperately to die. I prayed all there was left in me to pray. ” Lord, I don’t know who I am any more, and I don’t know why you are keeping me here. If you are real, and what you said in your word is true, you are going to have to remake me, to bring me back to life. I’m nothing, and I can’t do anything. It’s in your hands.”
A year later, my life looked so different. And it has ever since. I don’t want to discount the love and support of parents who, though heartbroken and exhausted, unfailingly supported me and believed in me. But what I’m telling you is, there is nothing strong about me, there is nothing overcoming about me. God healed my life and set me free. He showed me what true love is. A love that gives up self. A love that shed the blood of Jesus on the cross. A love that transcends all evil and conquers all sin.
But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
I hope you will pass my story on to someone who needs it.