“and the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed” – deuteronomy 31: 8
it’s been a while since I’ve sat and had a heart to heart with you, so that’s what I’m going to do today. you might want to get comfortable – grab a cup of tea, get a blanket, sit on the floor, get in bed, whatever feels good for you – because I think I’m going to be a while on this one. I’ll do the same, so you don’t feel alone.
yesterday, I actually managed to complete my to do list. I moved my body, I studied, I spent time with God and I ate reasonably well and fed and loved my body how it should be loved and cared for. it may not seem like much, but it’s a whole lot for me, especially after the past few months I’ve had. I’m going to be open, and incredibly vulnerable with you and there might be some triggering material, so if you can’t handle it I don’t want you to get hurt so I’ll ask you to leave now.
in me being vulnerable, I’ve realised that I find my strength and I help others. so, if I can help one soul because of being real and honest with you, it’s all worth it in the end.
september to february
I’ve been struggling for a while. life has felt like a mess, and I’ve felt as if I’ve had no worth and that my life had no value. it’s been about two years since I’ve lost the person I was, and found it hard to sift through the fog and the mess. come september 2016, everything felt worse than ever. I’d moved to another part of England for university, I literally knew nobody, I wasn’t necessarily here by choice, but rather because of my faults and God’s will (looking back now). summer had been amazing and painful, so added to those feelings already, everything seemed worse than before. I didn’t feel at home, I didn’t feel at peace and I could barely make it through a day without breaking down, or wanting to kill myself.
depression had literally got me by my feet and had chained me down. I didn’t want to socialise, I already had my old friends, why did I need new ones when I didn’t see myself being here for long? I wasn’t really enjoying my course, it was completely different to what I’d expected. I was away from my loved ones, on my own and worse than I was before summer. I couldn’t bring myself to shower everyday or feed myself, let alone get out of bed. I couldn’t and didn’t want to try.
friend, I had no hope and I didn’t know or understand who I was or the woman I was becoming. I was tired of failing, and I wanted to be swallowed up and to never see the day of light ever again. I was tired of being, existing and loving people that didn’t love me back.
things with my friends weren’t too good at the time either. I was doubting my worth in relation to others, I kept wondering if I even meant something to those who had claimed to ‘love’ me, if I went I felt as if nobody would care or notice. my best friend was hurting at the time too, and not being able to physically and emotionally be there for him was incredibly hard. I was helpless while his heart was hurting. my two other best friends were hurting too and I couldn’t be there for them either, because of geography or because my hurt was bleeding too much.
it bled so much that, in the end I relapsed. I self harmed, after being clean for 3+ years. I thought it would bring me comfort, but it didn’t. it didn’t feel like me, it felt more painful rather than a release. at that moment, I realised I didn’t have control anymore. my life was slipping from my hands, and I couldn’t control it. I was trying to get the pieces back together, but it was literally like trying to catch water in the middle of the ocean. it was impossible, and I was drowning at the same time.
if anything, I found God the most during this time. I spent a lot of nights reading His word, crying my eyes out to Him and fighting with Him. my hurt was still hurting, but I knew someone cared and it was okay to show my mess to them. it was okay, because He’d sort it out in the end anyway, it wasn’t my place to control my life, but His. He was in control and I didn’t have to worry anymore, because it was all in His hands, and it was going to be okay in the end.
I think the thing that hurt the most during this time was not being able to tell anyone, because I’m normally people’s support system. being the one that wasn’t strong, wasn’t an option. I was strong for my family, my friends, my (ex) boyfriend. I had to be strong for myself, and I couldn’t let anyone else see that I was not in control and I was losing myself, when I was meant to have it all together.
the other thing that hurt the most was that I didn’t have the two people that meant the most to me, to support me. I didn’t have my best friend, and things were different between me and the person that I opened my heart to over summer, just for it to be handed back to me on a plate, but with a knife stuck in it and it cut up into tiny pieces. I don’t know if he meant for it to come across that way, but it did. it hurt, and even though things were fine after summer – and we seemed to have grown closer since he was there for me during the moments that I literally couldn’t trust anyone else – there was complete silence, or just sprouts of words, for almost 3 months. not having him or my best friend to hold me up was hard, and it taught me that I can only be there for myself. that God was the only secure thing in my life, and I needed to get used to that, even if I didn’t want to.
march has been a hard, yet satisfying month so far. despite not going to uni this whole week, I felt it was needed. I needed time out to actually dwell with God, to abide with Him and listen to all the beautiful things He and others think about me. I was low again last week, and I felt like I’d be better off dead, and that I should have my life together and because I didn’t I was lesser, and worse off than those that have been enjoying university.
uni hasn’t been all that I expected it to be. I didn’t like the fresh start, but it’s been needed. in removing me from everyone and everything completely, God forced me into finding myself and knowing who He says I am. I fell in love with my Saviour, and I’m learning to fall in love with myself day by day.
last week, my friends saw my hurt and decided to love me through it rather than push me away. they reminded me of who I was, and what I meant to many people. also, I went back to my church back home. I was reminded how valued and loved I was, I was just going to see friends and go, but God met me right there, then and there He spoke into my heart and said “Abiy, everything that you’ve been holding onto, you need to tell someone and let it all go, now. you need to come clean, and you need to stop holding the weight of the world on your soldiers. you’re only one person, and life hurts, but you have other people for a reason. let them be strong for you when you can’t be. let them hold you up, when you can’t get up. let them cry with you, when your heart hurts too much to function.” I realised that I was tired of hiding and hurting. I was tired of depression holding over my head and telling me that I wasn’t worth being loved, because I am.
I’m worth loving. I love my people, I love people more than I should; I wear my heart on my sleeve and I don’t have to be ashamed of it. there’s so much to me that I’m still learning to love, but I’m getting there. it’s only been in finding Jesus again that I’ve learnt to love the woman that I’m becoming. it’s funny because, I thought I’d done what God had put on my heart, but there were still parts remaining. there was fessing up to the people at uni that had loved and accepted me as their own, and explaining to them why I’d been so distant and cold. there was loving and forgiving people I didn’t want to love or forgive, even though they’d hurt me. and there was loving and forgiving myself.
I’ve learnt that I’m loved and that it’s ok. it’s ok to accept and know that. there are so many people that value my existence, and it’s not selfish, or arrogant to know and feel comfort in that, no. it’s knowing that my existence is valued and that my pain has been for a reason. if I had gone, I wouldn’t have been able to be there for my friends when they were hurting, or for people that I’ve passed on the street or in moments, for them to share their story with me. I wouldn’t have been able to see God’s hand in every single day of my life. even, if that meant me just being able to get up, shower and leave the house for a day. it’s literally been the little things that have gotten me through.
I feel more like my old self, but an upgraded, free-er and more at peace version. I still have depressive episodes, yes, but I’m learning to let them come and just be, rather than trying to fight them. in knowing that my emotions aren’t truth but are rather indicators of what may be going on within; that depression isn’t my reality; and that I can combine my creative and academic side together, I’ve been finding bits of myself and the woman that I’m becoming. I’m seriously falling in love with her, because my heart and my mind are at peace. I’ve gained more control of the parts of my life that I can control, and I can now wholly and fully be the person that others need in their time of weakness, because I can be that person for myself.
from me, to you
I want you to know that whatever you may be going through right now, that is hurting you – you will get through it. you are strong, capable, loved, beautiful, smart, worthy, mesmerising, amazing and so much more. it’s a fact and it can’t be changed. you are so dearly loved and adored, and you mean the world to me. I love you, and I want you to know that I’m here for you and I’m with you if you ever feel alone.
and for the moments that you feel like you don’t want to do it or can’t do it – do it. do it, and don’t listen to the voice in your head that tells you that you are worth nothing, and you should be gone, because it is lying. it’s not the truth, and it’s not you. find your home within that mess, find your safe place and work your way through it.
know that you’re loved and in that, find your way back home. I’ll be waiting for you there.
“for My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. “as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts” – isaiah 55: 8-9