The following is a message I received from a 19-year-old young woman who asked me to share it with all of you:
"I just want to thank you for writing this blog and for sharing your story. It gives me hope for my life. I’m just about to finish my freshman year at [college], and it’s been super rough. You probably don’t care about my story, but I don't know where else to share it. I won’t get too detailed, but I was assaulted by someone who was very close to me.
After it happened, I struggled for a long time on my own. During that time, I didn't want to live. But every time I tried to commit suicide, I couldn't bring myself to do it. I don’t know if you know the old song, "Ol’ Man River" but there’s a line in it that reminds me of how I felt.
"I gets weary and sick of tryin’. I’m tired of livin’ and scared of dyin’."
That’s how I was for a long time. Until I started to go to counseling. I've since then been diagnosed with depression and anxiety. It’s so difficult because I've been very suicidal and I don’t know what to do. I finally let a few of my good friends know that I’m struggling, but it’s still really hard to let people know what I’m thinking, because it makes me feel like a freak, you know? Anyway, sorry to share.
I really just wanted to thank you for sharing your story. It means a lot to me. I think you are incredibly brave. I know that the Lord has blessed you and has saved you so that you can help others around you. I know that He loves all of His children, for which I am eternally grateful. Thank you for being His light to the world. Thank you for sharing a message of hope. It gives me hope that maybe I won’t always see the world this way."
I DO care, and I think you are the brave one for never giving up or giving in to this horrible disease, and I'm grateful that you allowed me to publish your story. Depression is what you have, not who you are--it doesn't define you.
My friends, please remember that you don't have to be in complete recovery to help others. I'm always interested in hearing your story, especially if you have no one else to share it with, or if you just need to talk. I respond to all emails and private messages.
And you know what? Your life is very inspiring and can help others. Never underestimate the value of your experiences. If you would like to inspire this community with your story, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I invite you to stand here with me and help save lives.