TRIGGER WARNING: SELF INJURY
I was raised in a Catholic family, but we were pretty lukewarm. My parents figured that going to mass on Sundays and occasionally saying grace before we ate was good enough. I was a little different. I LOVED Jesus and God and wanted to know as much as possible. I loved learning about the saints, and had full faith and trust in the Lord. Sunday School was the highlight of my week. You know that bible verse, “Have the faith of a child”? I had such complete faith in God, a faith that I am envious of now. God could do now wrong, no doubt about it.
When I was eight, things became weird. I was going through puberty early and things were weird. I’ll never forget the embarrassment of shopping for my first bra with my mom. The next year, we began using a Catholic homeschool curriculum, so I got to learn about the faith not only on Sundays, but every other day too. I still attended Sunday school, though.The year that followed, I began to realize that the kids in my Sunday school class didn’t think Jesus or God was cool, and would torment me in class for knowing the answers. My excitement and love for learning about Jesus quickly turned to dread and hatred. My mom realized that soon, I would resent my faith and pulled my sister and I out of our parish classes. We relied on our curriculum to teach us about the Catholic Church.
When I was twelve, things went from weird to just plain awful. In one year, my grandfather had a stroke and passed away, my ‘best friend’ told lies about me, and my real best friend moved from Connecticut to Texas. Oh, but that’s not it. I began to feel like I wasn’t myself and spent less and less time with my friends (growing up, I was quite the social butterfly) and more and more time locked in my room reading. I began to feel sad for no reason, and at that time, my group of friends basically split in two, one side being my family and the other side being the friend who told lies about me and the rest of my group. It really felt like all my friends had abandoned me, and I felt so unloved. I began going to therapy, and one day while I was in the waiting room, I picked up Seventeen magazine and read an article about cutting. The author spoke about the relief she felt, and I began to cut. I was hospitalized for depression for a week and put on medication. I still remember my priest coming to visit and sitting with me, I also remember the friends that had “abandoned me” all coming to visit and calling every night. My best friend’s mom even told me how she had gone through the same thing when she was my age. I began to feel loved again.
However, as you know, depression is an illness, and it isn’t cured by feeling loved.
When I was a freshman in high school, my sister was really sick with a stomach illness. She was so sick that I was unable to do any schoolwork and had to stay behind a year.No doctor could figure out what was wrong with her, and it was terrifying. That April, I was invited on a retreat by a family friend. I went. That was that. It was fun, but I didn’t take anything from it. More on that later. The next month, I stood before my auxiliary bishop and confirmed that I believed in the Catholic Church as the true faith. I still consider this to be one of the most important things to happen to me.
Fast forward two years. I was now somewhat involved with the youth group that held that retreat I went on. However, I had a dark secret. I was extremely depressed and had no idea how to find light. I turned to more extreme cutting, and would fall asleep sobbing every night with a pair of scissors in my hand. In June, I went to Texas to see my best friend. Somehow, I didn’t cut the whole ten days I was there. Pretty impressive for someone who did it every single night. When I got home, things went downhill really really really fast. Two months later, I was hospitalized a week before my sweet sixteen for a suicide attempt. My biggest fear was that I was going to be stuck there for my birthday. I took care of myself and was released before my birthday and party. I was pretty happy.
Five months later I was hospitalized again for another suicide attempt, this one while drunk. After this, my mom locked up every sharp object and pill in the house. I was pissed off. Like, really pissed off. My relationship with my mom deteriorated before my eyes, and before I knew it, my mom moved out for a week and stayed at my grandma’s house. She then basically told me she couldn’t handle me anymore and I was put into public school. Imagine going to public school at the end of your sophomore year after being homeschooled your entire life. Yeah. It was as awful as it sounds.
Something inside of me clicked, and I decided to try and get better. I was still cutting, but it was a lot less frequently (mainly because it was almost impossible to find something to cut with). I became more involved with my youth group, and God began to sneak back into my life again. It was awesome. I signed up to go on my first Steubenville East retreat and I was SO excited.
But wait. I was hospitalized for the third time in a year a week before Steubie. This time, not for cutting or a suicide attempt, but for thinking about killing myself. I caught myself and told my mom as soon as I had the thoughts. The hospitalization was a pre-caution. However, I was told I couldn’t go to Steubenville. I was heartbroken. I was unable to go the year before because I went to visit my friend, and it killed me I wouldn’t be able to go. My mom, however, knows me and ignored the doctor’s warnings and sent me on the bus to Steubenville, with all of my youth ministers keeping a close eye on me.
At adoration Saturday night, I was apologizing to God for hurting myself, and I told Him that I didn’t want to do it anymore. As I prayed, my youth minister leaned down and whispered in my ear, “I feel like God wants to heal you. I don’t know what of, but He wants you to ask.”
I was thrown aback, but I prayed, “Give me the strength to be able to conquer this.”
I have only cut once since that day. God gave me the strength I needed to be able to find another way to cope with my emotions than destroying my body. The depression is still there, and I am still on medication. That’s okay. Sometimes I am so upset that I don’t know what to do, and I really want to hurt myself. That’s okay too. What’s important is that I am able to say no. I pray the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel regularly throughout the day with help with my own personal demons.
My current struggle is with chastity, I won’t go into detail, but please pray for me. <3
Being a Christian is hard. Like, really hard. For goodness’sake, our founder was crucified! That should’ve been a warning sign, right? I struggle living out my Christian life in public, but I started with small stuff. I started making the sign of the Cross after the Pledge of Allegience and began adding a little more every day until I was praying the Rosary on the bus ride home and wearing ‘Jesus shirts’ to school. I even began to ask my friends to come to youth group. That was a huge step.
So, that’s my storing. It’s long, and sad, but there’s a happy ending. I don’t know what it is yet, but spoiler alert: Jesus is there.