I may have told a few of you this story. I don’t just go around tellin everyone and their mom this story, but for those of you who choose to view this blog post today..here it is. Let me also say, this story is sacred to me. It is emotional and very dear to my heart. If you have negative feelings towards it, I would appreciate that this time, silence will be your choice of action.
There is a dark time in every person’s life. We may have a few. Some may have longer ones than others. My darkest times were in my Junior year of High School in Asheville, North Carolina. As many of you know, I grew up Mormon and I strived to stick to those values. I prayed about the religion when I was around 14-(a story for another day) So I did not struggle with my testimony of what was true and what wasn’t. I knew right from wrong. But I did not know that my values had slowly been slipping away, for the acceptance of my fellow peers. Now these kids were not bad kids, I love them all to this day. Our views of what was acceptable fun was just different, and for the most part, still is. That is just fine. But as I began slipping away, I also started to slip away into depression. I had struggled with depression for a few years at this point, but it had never sunk this low.
This leads me to the night that I know, I will never forget. The night I finally faced who I was, and I hated it. I was at a party with friends but I felt awful. It was close to 4am and I was terrified my mom would wake up and realize I wasn’t home yet, so I was eager to get home. I was not doing anything bad, in fact I was just sitting on a couch, uncomfortably. It was close to Christmas which usually brings so much joy into my daily life but I was far from joyous, I was miserable. I remember turning to my friend and saying, “This night really could not get any worse.” My friend Laura and I decided to leave but at the last minute she decided not to come, so I headed home alone.
It was late and I was tired and a bit nervous. I hated causing confrontations with my parents. Although I was not breaking any rules, I knew coming home this late would not be ok. So as I approached my house my head began racing of different thoughts of how I could park my car without my parents hearing, but also in a way that the next morning they would not suspect anything. I could park at the top of the driveway but they might wonder why because my usual spot was down the hill, right in front of their window. Now, I am no car expert, as you are about to find out and mind you, at 4 am..who is in their right mind anyways.
So I figured if I turned off the car, put it in neutral, coasted down my driveway..I could park the car right in front of my parents window-no problem. But alas, there is no power steering when you decide to do this, and instead of going to plan, my car headed quickly into the rather steep bank to the side of my house and I caught enough speed that I hit a large oak tree and totaled my car.
As the airbag hit my face and cut my chin, whirling me into a haze of confusion and blood running down my neck, I slowly realized what had happened. I remember the smells, my thoughts, and how I felt. I had hit rock bottom. Or for me, a big tree.
My thought was, it will be ok, my parents won’t be too mad.. but as I came inside..things escalated quickly with my parents, and I was again alone in my room very upset and in complete and utter despair. What had I done? Who was I? I was a good kid and I was wrecking my life. I tried calling my friends to get some comfort from them, but they were all intoxicated and laughed it off and hung up, or didn’t pick up at all..probably cuz it was 4 am.
So there I was. I had barely had my car 2 months, I had no friends that truly cared about me (or as I thought at the moment), my parents hated me (as I thought) and I had no way out of this.
If you have ever wondered what would make someone want to take their own life, please never judge them in that moment. It is a time they are not themselves. They are not in the right frame of mind, and the last thing they need is more judgement. They already beat themselves up enough as it is.
So as I contemplated my different choices of ending all of this, I made up my mind. I got off my bed to go..end everything but,the next thing I knew I was on my knees, praying. I really cannot remember how I got there. But I am so grateful I did.
As a young Mormon I had the opportunity to go to EFY which is very similar to other Christian camps, just under the LDS persuasion. I remembered a teacher tellings us, “If you ever feel alone, or like God doesn’t love you, and you wanna know if He’s there-Ask Him.”
So, I did.
I asked Him if He loved me. I apologized for all I had done and who I had become and told Him I hated myself. I was angry and I just wanted to quit. But that wise lady from years before was right. He answered. He answered with the greatest feeling of love I had every felt. It felt like a warm hug warpped around me. It felt like there was light and a warm glow in my room although I had no light on. In that moment I knew I could go on. I did not know how I was going to do it. I did not want to face tomorrow, but I knew I could. God gave me that. He helped me understand that no matter how low you may feel, He will always love you. That feeling did not come from me, I know with all my heart, that it came from above. From an ever loving, Heavenly Father.
For those of you who do not believe in a God, I invite you to try this. Test God, ask Him if He loves you- see if He answers you. I know He will, because He answered me-and I am no better than you.There is also a beautiful video I found with other people’s stories similar to mine: (Click Here) Please take a moment to watch it, it is well worth it.
The next day I was ridiculed and mocked by some that heard the story, and it hurt, but I was ok. I didn’t break down and die on the floor like I thought I would, I held my head high and changed me and my life.
In the course of the follow year I lost many close friends, I had to strip my ties, although I loved them I had to move on. I thought of moving to Utah to live with my aunt which my parents actually thought may be a good idea too. I struggled with my home life and I struggled at school, but I would come home and read my scriptures and everything would be ok. I would feel that peace and that desire to continue on, I knew what I was doing was right-and that God was proud of me for it.
I decided to stay and finish my senior year at home and made new friends who got me through and respected me for my decisions and didn’t pressure me into changing them. I can’t say I didn’t make mistakes but I can say that I made it through, happily.
After I graduated I went to school in Rexburg Idaho at BYU-Idaho. I remember laying down on my bed the first night being overwelemed yet again with happiness and pride. I had made it. I did it. That night I never would have thought I could have been here! It was pure joy. I was where I was supposed to be and it was one of the happiest times of my life.
I never looked back. I don’t want to be that person again. I know who I am-but more importantly-why I am the way I am. Why am I a Mormon? Because it has brought me pure joy into my life. When I follow what God councils us to do, I have never regretted it, and in fact I have only been happier because I chose to follow Him. I was selfish and tried to find happiness in the pathetic fleeting pleasures the world around us tries to convince us bring us everlasting happiness. But I know it doesn’t. I know that there is something more substantial and real. It is following Christ.
No matter what others may choose to do, I know who I am, and I am no longer subject to others tearing that away.