I could tell you my story about how I changed my major freshman year. Or how sophomore year I fought to see my self-worth and struggled with self-harm. I could warn you about letting anxiety and fear of mental health keep you from living your life, like it did my junior year. But those stories have been told to many listening ears. The tears have already been shed and the lessons have been learned. I want to talk about my now.
I have done some worthwhile reflecting throughout my years here at Corban and I have come to realize something: While we are made new in Christ, we need to first see we are broken. And when you have a mental health issue, like depression, being made new is a very hard thing to live and experience. I am not saying it is impossible, since I can only speak for myself; I am just saying it’s hard. It’s hard for me to comprehend.
I don’t see my newness in Christ, which is very upsetting to admit. I say this because to be made new is to be, in a sense, made complete. I am raw, and in that sense I am incomplete. I scribble self-loathing on my arm in pen. What is the purpose of living to a person who sees life as something that can be ended either by a baseball bat to the head or by intentionally not looking when you cross the street? Where is God in your crying out to live no more?
I don’t often come face to face with God. I normally get close enough just to see him behind the person I am talking to at that moment and call it good. Is that not worshipful in a sense? Is that not communion? When darkness is like a rose taken root in your mind, it is hard to remember you don’t need to water it. You forget it is okay to cry out to God. But you cry because the Holy Spirit within you is not one to give up.
The people say, “Pour some Jesus on it. Rub it in. You’ll be fine. You’ll get out of this funk.” Sorrow is often frowned upon. “You need to be fine more often,” or, “I hope you get better.” Yet sorrow is cathartic. Sorrow is the bitter herb we don’t like to eat. Yet eating it helps us remember: We are broken and in that brokenness we are made new. Guided in God’s love. Made stronger by his passion for us.
I break over how Christians fear not being okay. As if not being well, mentally, emotionally or physically is some unspoken sin that you should feel ashamed of. I try not to fall into that rut. I have been told by many a person that I am real, I am honest. I am only those things because if I am not, I would be worse off. I need to speak to have this wound exposed, but the community at Corban is one of fellowship and joy. To reveal such a wound would be like admitting I have leprosy.
My heart is bruise-colored. It fluctuates in intensity. Some days are like apples—crisp, bright, and refreshing. Other days, there is a shadow shaped like a dark rose coming out of my brain. But regardless, I have the sweet smell of apple blossoms floating through my mind.