I have been putting this blog off for awhile now. When I told Noelle that I wanted to write this specific post, I honestly told her not knowing what I was getting myself into.
This is my spiritual journey; the story of how I got to where I am today. The raw and slightly edited (for length purposes) version.
You see, I have told my story of my spiritual journey dozens of times. Yet, every time I begin to retell it, I freeze. I tense up and have a series of panic attacks. But, something was pushing me to write this post.. the same something that’s the reason I am before you today.
I was born and raised in my Catholic faith. I was baptized as an infant. I went to private, Catholic schools from pre-k until I graduated from high school. Yet, with all of that Catholic education, I felt as if I didn’t really know what being Catholic meant. My relationship with God felt superficial at times. I still believed in God and I still went to church nearly every Sunday with my family. However, I felt that I was going through the motions of my Catholic faith. I believed that my physical life contributed to this feeling too. Cutting straight to the point, I deal with depression and anxiety. Constant feelings of unworthiness and sadness took me away from God and from people that I was close to.
The sad thing about being sad is that I have always dealt with this. Growing up, I seemed like the normal kid. I had good grades, played sports, had many friends, etc. Well there was always something inside of me saying, “You are worthless. No one cares. The world would be better off without you.” The fact was that these words were constantly played in my head when I was younger until this very day. Except when I was a kid, I didn’t really listen to it. At least, I tried not to. I would play sports to keep me occupied, more specifically my mind occupied. I excelled at it. I wanted to be better than everyone else. That goal drove me to push harder and be the best. But when I failed, boy those demons inside me… They were yelling! Almost deafening. It was to a point that it would drive me mad. The cycle would continue almost all of the time. Being hard on myself, I had created an everlasting cycle in my head ever since I can remember. The thing was I thought that this was what every kid faced. I thought these were just the normal highs and lows of life. I didn’t think much of it.
Unfortunately, those deafening thoughts only got worse as time went on. Eventually, they turned into thoughts of suicide. I would have them constantly. I did not understand why I, of all people, had to deal with this. Why me, God? I finally understood that God put me on this Earth with the purpose of helping those who suffered the same way I did. So, I learned to cope with my depression and anxiety. I turned to God for guidance and I actively pursued Him. I admit that it was tough because listening to God requires patience. He doesn’t just give you things right away, it’s a process.
After all of that waiting, I was finally blessed with a relationship with someone that truly understood me, Noelle. Those demons that I had faced all of those years have quietly depleted. Together, Noelle and I center our relationship on God. I also learned to lean on my family and the rest of my friends. They give me guidance to overcome my obstacles and also to put all of my worries in God’s hands. Their undeniable faith in me allowed me to see God’s true love. He granted these wonderful people in my life so that I may have a life of my own.
Remember at the beginning of this story when I had said something pushed me to write this post. It was God. It was always God. He has provided everything in my life, especially the life I live, for a reason. Without faith in God, I would not be here. Without God’s love, I would not be here. I am before you today because I believe God wanted me to shed light on a dark situation. Yes, I am unhappy and have horrible anxiety at times. But each day that I wake up I know it was for a reason. I strive to be a beacon of God’s love for anyone who needs it.
“For God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts.”
2 Corinthians 4:6