I have called 2020 The Dying Sheep 20th Anniversary Tour because it is 20 years since it all started.  The depression, the self harm, the struggles, and my one and only suicide attempt.  November 17th 2020 is 20 years since the day I tried to end my life. 

20 years.  This period with all of this is now the majority of my life.  If you look at any high school student or even some college students, I’ve been dealing with this longer than they have been alive. 

I can’t really tell you that one day it all gets better and you’re good and perfect.  That’s not true.  Life has many struggles, and they will continue on until you leave this world.  I can tell you, however, that many good things have happened in these last 20 years that were worth sticking around for. 

Expression is so important.  Find a way to get what’s inside to the outside of you in a way that doesn’t hurt you and actually makes you face and deal with what you are feeling instead of escaping and avoiding  it.  Not all of us like talking about this stuff, and that’s okay.  I have always recommended writing about it and using art. 

Exercise is a great healthy coping mechanism.  It’s a healthy way to exert yourself and release endorphins.  I’ve always found exercise a great way to distract the body from the inward chain reactions of anxiety attacks.  Helping others is also a top coping mechanism.  One part of depression is that you are hyper focused on yourself.  Helping others gets that focus off of you and onto other people in need, which is much better for our hearts. 

Do you best to trudge through the lack of motivation that comes with depression and keep to your schedule.  Keep going to school or work.  Keep doing those hobbies.  Keep seeing those people that love you.  Keep doing everything you do even if you don’t want to.  It’s much harder to get them back if you drop them because of depression. 

You always have a choice with addiction.  It starts with a choice, and it ends with a choice.  You are not helpless to it.  What has really happened is that you have been brainwashed into thinking you have no choice but to succumb to your addiction of choice because your brain has decided that one thing is the only thing that can help you.  That is not true.  Truthfully that one thing has made it worse probably.  You must say NO every day to self harm and drugs.  Every day.  Every hour.  Every second.  You must make the choice to say no, and don’t ever forget that you never lost that choice. 

Have faith in the day God has planned for you to leave this earth.  God has already chosen a day for you to depart just as he chose a day for you to be born.  God has planned every day in between those 2 moments, and he has many things he has given you to do while you are here.  Things only you can do for his kingdom.  People only you can reach to bring back home to heaven with you.  There are many trials and fires along the way, but at the end of all this pain a crown awaits you.  Everything here is temporary, including your suffering.  A momentary blink of suffering is worth eternity in Heaven, believe that.  

These are my offerings of wisdom. Perhaps they are not worth much, but they were attained through years of trials, experience, and pain. I hope you can now receive them from an easier pathway than I did.

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