Symptom of the Sickness #3: Negative Thinking

Circumstances seem to overwhelm when a depressed mind thinks negatively. Like storm clouds rolling in, shadowed were my thoughts at the onset of bipolar depression. It wasn’t sunny and cheery one day and downpour the next, but I had some large changes in life before the fallout.

I decided to switch from public high to private school. I was originally looking forward to it, a young lady of sixteen wanting to be trained up in the way she should go…didn’t I have the right to a private Christian education? I sure did.

Unbeknownst to me was what a private school felt like, looked like, and functioned like. Shy and introverted as I tend to be, I felt less and less like a fellow student and more like a foreigner. A quiet homeroom without a real introduction left me on my own to get to know everyone. While sixteen classmates was a lot less than 300, sixteen left me with few variety of people, most of which were unfriendly.

It was a sort of a “great expectations” of unspoken pressure. So I closed up. I followed the rules and kept to myself. I didn’t dare arrive late or skip class, wear jeans or chew gum. I began to ask myself, “What is the point in communicating?” If you were talking to someone, socially, it was for their satisfaction of knowing what you were thinking. No one really cared about you, they just said what was apparent. The weather, homework assignments, soccer game schedules, and the like.

Gradually I became apathetic.The clouds rolled in, thunder echoed from a distance. My psyche grew dark and isolated, my heart, calloused and hardened.

On came the doubt. It manifested in thoughts like: “No one really wants to be my friend…my personality isn’t interesting enough…people only use you for what you’re good at…you’re not wanted…you don’t belong…who cares if you’re around, you’re barely here…you have no point…you’re worthless…you’re okay, but you’re not contributing…you’re not really valuable here…you’re weird…you don’t have any friends…you’re not worth being friends with…”

And then the ensuing desires to stop existing: “GIve up…kill yourself…the pain and loneliness would be relieved if you died…dying is the best option since you wouldn’t be able to feel this misery dead…” And the hate speeches: “Will it ever end? Who knows. This is stupid…I hate myself…I’m no one’s favorite…Get over it, they won’t notice you’re gone…they don’t notice you here, do they?”

Time passed and these thoughts began to stain my conscience. I lingered on them until I cried myself to sleep, lying in bed in the mornings refusing to get up. Sleep felt soothing to the stinging bitter depression and weight of the world on my shoulders. I went from holding it in on the inside, to not being able to hold it in. I broke down.

Desperate for some relief, I crafted scenarios in my head on ways I could die. I would consider unbuckling my seatbelt and opening the car door on the highway, rolling out of the passenger side onto the highway to get run over and end it all. I considered and held the kitchen butcher knife to my chest to stab myself, but the thought of the pain was a deterrent. I moved on to the bottle of Tylenol, holding in my hands and looking at the label, remembering stories of people overdosing to end their life.

But when I heard that gentle, calming, strong voice tell me “You don’t have to do this,” I put those capsules back into the bottle, back on the shelf and closed the cabinet door. And a faint light shone into my heart, like sunshine through muddled gray fog. “I don’t have to do this,” I thought. So, I would continue to suffer. My complexion paled. My eyes saddened and dried out from wiping the tears away. My energy plummeted and enthusiasm for life waned. Nothing seemed worth it anymore.

“This too shall pass,” God says in His word. And so, yes, the depression passed. It was a long time until I got the necessary help, but it came. From where did my help come from? It came from the Lord. If you want some resources on mental health and help for depression, see the Resources page.

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