The hustle and bustle of a college campus can be very intimidating to an incoming freshmen. Move-in day is often mixed with great excitement, along with the nervousness of having to learn a whole new world in a matter of days. That was me. I was scared, but I was excited because I was on my own. I could wake up when I wanted to, I could eat chips for dinner, and drink pop for breakfast. The idea of absolute freedom excited me! Little did I know, the amount of “freedom” I thought I had was not the case at all.
The responsibilities of college are great and not to be taken lightly. The studying, waking up for that 8:30am class, the late-night sessions of reading, highlighting and trying to absorb massive amounts of information from notes taken while a professor you can barely understand is speaking! Whew! It was different, stressful, yet still immensely exciting because it was new.
As a young lady who grew up in church, I was known as a church-girl on campus. You wouldn’t catch me at a party, drinking or anything like that. I really wasn’t interested in those things, I was what you would call a pew baby. Church was all I knew and I wanted to keep it that way because I valued the hand of God on my life. But, in spite of not having any of these visible shortcomings, I struggled with a deep, dark issue that followed me throughout college.
The first couple years of undergrad, I made sure that I was a part of the school’s gospel choir and that I stayed involved in on-campus clubs and activities, as well as the local church near campus. I even became a Resident Advisor during my second year on campus. With this position, I was responsible for the well-being of an entire campus community. I had to create programs for the current students, advise them, and just plain be there for them throughout their college career. Some would like to call the position a “dorm mother,” I just thought it was cool to be able to help other fellow students through their college experience.
Although I was helping others, the truth was that I needed help myself. I suffered terribly throughout much of my time in college with inner turmoil. I was miserable, but no one knew because I made sure that once I hit the door, I put on the fake smile and the “mask” that covered every dark emotion that I was really experiencing behind closed doors. I told you earlier that I was a church kid, so I was an expert in acting like I was fine, when in all actuality I was tore up on the inside. I struggled with depression and suicide for much of my 20’s. I had low self-esteem, as well as body-image issues. I thought I was the ugliest girl alive and no matter how many people told me I was beautiful, I didn’t believe them. I believed the lies I heard from within that said, I was worthless, I wasn’t pretty and that my future was hopeless.
Now, you’re probably thinking, I thought she said she was a church girl? I was, but like many church girls not wanting to expose themselves to others, ask for help, or just be real, I hid behind that “goody goody” image, but I was dying on the inside.
After dealing with thoughts of suicide for years, one day I couldn’t take it any longer and it became overwhelming. My dorm room at that time was in a building called “The Towers,” it was called that for a reason, because the building had 12 floors. I lived on the 11th floor.
The day that the thoughts became too much to bare, I climbed up on the window sill and contemplated jumping and ending my life that night, but with all the racing thoughts, and the deep rooted urge to end it all, something would not allow me to jump. My struggle was private, but I believe with all my heart that the reason I did not end it all in that moment was because the power of prayer held me from taking my own life. The prayers of family members, friends and loved ones stopped the enemy from deceiving me into committing suicide.
Although, I had overcome this moment of turmoil in my life, the struggle wasn’t over. It had just begun.
One year later, I walked across the stage as a graduate of the University I attended and I was elated that I made it through! God allowed me to accomplish one of my lifelong dreams, to be a college graduate! The next year proved to be very trying. Even though I had a very expensive piece of paper that said I was qualified to become a part of corporate America, after four years of college, it was extremely difficult for me to find employment equivalent to my education. So, I became discouraged. The inner battle I thought that no one noticed became more visible. I was not happy. I was disappointed and very angry. I began to drink, and do things that I knew were wrong, but I didn’t care, I felt like God had left me hanging. After all, I was a “church girl” and had done everything I was supposed to do to experience success in life, or so I thought.
The downward spiral I experienced was not good, it was actually pretty devastating. Here I was again at a moment where I did not want to live any longer. Nothing was working out, and I believed it would never turn around for me. I was struggling. Previously, I had visited the doctor’s office and had some pretty strong prescription pain pills in my possession. Without hesitation, I took every single pill I had. I just wanted the agony to end. The tormenting thoughts were unbearable. I was living with friends at the time, and thank God they found me, realized what I did and insisted that I go to the hospital immediately.
After arriving at the hospital, I realized the magnitude of what happened. I was embarrassed, horrified, and scared. Because of my background, I knew to cry out to God for help. I was in something deeper than I had the power to get myself out of. I needed the divine help of the Holy Spirit to rescue me from the deep-rooted pain that I had struggled with for years. The process of getting better did not happen overnight. Every step away from depression and suicidal thoughts requires the help of God.
With tears in my eyes, I lifted my voice and asked God to deliver me! Looking back, the experience was awful and traumatic, but without this experience I wouldn’t have the ability nor compassion to help other youth dealing with the draining, joy-sucking, awful reality of struggling with suicidal thoughts. There is no doubt that prayer reached my situation, without it, I would be dead for sure. There were people praying for me all while I was struggling.
They were interceding and calling my name out because they could sense something was wrong, even though I tried for so long to hide my pain. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
(James 5:16 KJV). I was in a state of weakness, but God allowed someone to see that I was fragile, placed me on their heart, and caused them to pray for me. Because of their relentless prayers, I was delivered from years of “secret” bondage. Undoubtedly, God heard my plea for His help and He saved me from the torment of wanting to end my life. I’m thankful for the undeniable power of prayer. If it was not for prayer/intercession, I would not be here today. Prayer saved my life!