. . . is being proactive.
For years, I have suffered at the hands of my depression and anxiety. For years, I have let those evils run my life. For years, I have wallowed in self-pity, allowing my past to continue to haunt me. For years, I have contemplated suicide, knowing in my messed-up brain that the world would be better off without me.
For years, I was stupid. Allowing my past and my emotions to rule my present and my future is stupid.
Sometimes I hate myself for allowing this waste of my life. It is worse than suicide because I have to be here and still know how much of my life is gone, wasted. But I cannot hate myself forever. I am only human, after all, and if I allow others their mistakes and I forgive them, why not myself?
A couple years ago, I hit rock bottom. I thought I had already been there several times before, but this time was the worst. I found myself newly diagnosed with a devastating illness. I lost my job because of that illness. I was thrust into motherlessness when my mother suddenly passed away from a pulmonary embolism. I further became an orphan when my entire birth family shunned me because they could not accept my illness. They preferred to call me a hypochondriac and lazy. I lost my home because of my illness, medical bills, and joblessness. If it weren’t for the love of my dear husband, I would have been destitute, alone, and dead on the street.
I came to a decision in the wake of all that tragedy.
I had to love myself as much as Ken loves me. As much as Jesus loves me. I had to fight for myself as much as Ken was willing to fight for me. As much as Jesus fought and died for me.
I came to the decision that, even with the love and support of Ken and Jesus and my son, I was ultimately the one who had to save me.
I had to be proactive.
But I did not know how. I did not know what to do.
I took a few classes at church. At first, my life crumbled further into the abyss as my searchings opened old wounds. I was forced into reliving my past every night in my nightmares.
Then things started to even out. My emotional life started to improve even though I still suffered greatly in my physical life.
I would like to share that turning point with you. This painting and poem came about because of an assignment in one of the church classes I took. Because of my new guiding attitude and the reminders of this artwork, I know I must fight and scratch and claw my way out of the pit of depression. Sometimes I must still fight every day. Just as I must be proactive in regaining my physical health, I must be proactive in my mental and emotional health.
Thank you for allowing me to share my life with you. Thank you, Renew and Mountain View Christian Church, for helping me know what I must do. Thank you, Pastor Dave, for listening to my broken heart, even when sometimes I just seemed to blubber and rant.
And thank you, Angie, most of all for starting me on my healing journey. Your insights into grief and your compassion for others are immeasurable. I love you, my dearest friend.
I am renewed
I am out of the woods
On top of the mountain
The dove of peace
Has left the olive branch
And taken away the spirochetes
I reach for Jesus
His warmth beckoning
My heart is already there
His gifts rain down around me
Like wildflowers in a field
So many go unnoticed
His greatest worldly gifts
My life, my mind, my body
These renew so that I may
Give my gifts to you.
Jennifer Lynn Servantes
October 15, 2009