Hey! My name is Emily but most people call me Em! I couldn't be more honoured to be a co-founder of YouAreMore. As I write this blog, I hope to draw upon our mission statement & inspire individuals to see beyond their obstacles. For most of my life, I suffered from severe anxiety & depression. It makes me so sad looking back on all I hid or missed out on because of the stigma centered around mental health. However, right now, trying to write my first blog, the verse John 13:7 comes to mind: Jesus replied, "You don't understand what I'm doing now but someday you will." I find comfort & truth in that. I would have never thought that He would bring me to a position where I can potentially help others through my own struggles.. but here I am! :)
For years the thought of sharing the darkness inside of me to others was a paralyzing fear but now the thought of not sharing & someone pulling a trigger or taking a handful of pills because they feel alone terrifies me more. Mental illness is a silent battle & can be a lonely one too, because no one sees how hard you're constantly having to fight against your inner turmoil & pain. What I've gone through & what millions of others go through everyday . . . it breaks my heart. But in the face of all of that suffering, I can honestly say, today, the bravest thing I've done thus far [in my 22 years on this earth] is continuing to live when all I wanted to do was die.
I was born into an incredibly loving family. Growing up I was so richly blessed & it’s not until now, since I’ve crossed my finish line, that I can see that. In saying that, my family didn't always have it easy. At a young age I was exposed to many deaths, life threatening illnesses & unexplainable losses. I believe that this is where my obsession with death & fear of loss began. When anyone asked, "how's Em?" the answer was always, "great!" & it wasn't until years later it came out that it wasn’t necessarily the case. As I got older & the hardships got more difficult with loved ones, the little Em that used to be academically gifted & outgoing slowly lost interest in anything that once made her happy. I began to hurt myself on the outside by being destructive to myself & others. All I wanted to do was kill the feeling on the inside that I couldn't explain to anyone. I never did feel “normal” growing up but it was in my teenage years I took a severe turn for the worst. This "picture perfect" young girl who had everything going for her lost her faith in everyone, herself & most importantly God. I started lying to many loved ones in fear they wouldn't understand the depression inside of me. I created a "new life" that simply was a distorted view on reality - I was struggling, I needed help, light, hope . . . I needed God.
Looking back on those years now, the people I hurt, the girl I had become because of fear of stigma or someone not loving me because I was unwanted, ugly, dumb, depressed, broken, “crazy” -- it makes me feel sick. Why is it in today's society that if someone has a physical illness & takes medication it's okay but as soon as you have to take medication for the most important organ in your body - your brain, there's a stigma around it? Why do people feel they can mock a pain they haven't endured? How can someone tell another that their life isn't worth the fight & to go kill themselves?
Lastly, (for now) I would like to share the turning point in my story where I decided I couldn't live a life feeling like this anymore because I was never created to live depressed, ashamed, guilty, defeated or unworthy. I was created just the way God intended -- loved, wanted, worthy . . . MORE! I had attempted to take my life a few times before & ended up in the hospital. This day though, I remember so clearly, I had woken up & decided that the stigma & my pain was stronger than anything I could handle. I overdosed & not long after was found unresponsive. I thought this was a unselfish act & was the best thing for everyone; I couldn’t have been more wrong. When I regained consciousness, I was surrounded by my loved ones. I don't know how to explain it other than God showing me that He just wasn't finished with me yet. It was in that moment I realized I was wanted, I am still wanted, I am loved, I am worthy -- despite my obstacles. He & many others love me for who I am... with all my imperfections. Thank you for allowing me to share my story & being open about my journey. I don’t want to stop until there is no one left on this earth who is suffering or feeling that they’re alone. You are never alone. YOU ARE MORE!