Strange to think that a year ago, I was hiding in my bed, under my duvet, staring at the ceiling and lost in dark thoughts. Back then, I was in the grips of depression, and did not care whether I lived or died, did not eat or sleep, and could not leave the house because it was too terrifying a prospect. I could not even go downstairs without feeling confused or that I had no sense of purpose.
Time stretched out interminably before me, in a way that I hope to never experience again. Since I have been on medication for nearly a year, I have improved so much. There is much to be thankful for, but I must emphasise that I cannot say this glibly.
This past year, God has taught me through my despair and suffering. He taught me how to accept the support and love of my family in Christ. He taught me to value things other than academic success and worldly glory. When I was unable to do things on my own, I had no choice but to rely on others to take care of me. When they realised that it was dangerous for me to be alone with suicidal thoughts, my family in Christ gathered around me and prayed for me. Even as I cried and declared my anger and hatred at the words in Romans 8:28… When everything I cared about, intelligence, good memory, the ability to do much despite limited sleep, when all these had been rendered severely limited, and all I could do was sleep and stare at the ceiling, God showed me that I had lost nothing. I had free time, which I was then able to give without worrying about work and time constraints. I was able to develop my art, as I could express myself best by means of illustration.
I could go on about how I have learned to be more content in my suffering. But I will not. I do not welcome suffering, and it is strange how God decides to make us stronger through it. God has worked a miracle, but the miracle was not merely in improving my physical and mental health, but in my spirit. I still wonder if God made me go through this to prepare me for the return home.
I still occasionally wake with chest pains and feel afraid for no reason. But I am no longer the person who looked forward and saw no light. I am not fully recovered, but I know that this does not matter anymore. I do not need to resent the little pills I am so reliant on. The problem now is to keep going. To try and strike a balance between being wise with my worldly possessions, yet not store them up for myself. To be able to do so whilst being aware of familial and cultural expectations… only the Lord knows how I will be able to handle them.
But today is not just a celebration of how old I am (which i detest on principle because many of my birthdays in the past ended in parental dispute). Today is a celebration of how much God has guided me through one of the darkest times of my life, and has preserved me through it. Today is a celebration of God’s morals, values, and ideas – the body of Christ, the groaning of the Spirit, and the care of the true Father.