Tag Archives: depression

For the record, I was rescued.

9 Dec

The reason for this post is simple: to give a Savior glory. Bear with me.

Before anything else, though: Why do Filipinos like to point out things you already know?

A significant enough number of people (enough to make me blog after several months of non-blogging haha) have told me; some with ill intent, some actually happy; that I’ve put on some weight.

And nope, having been on the high school debate team doesn’t prepare you to be quick on the draw when it comes to things that hit really close to home.  Many times when it’s said, I just nod or shrug or don’t even speak at all. I’m not able to explain.

So here it is, then.

Shortly after I graduated from High School, I started experiencing bouts of depression that wouldn’t quit. It wasn’t so much what was going on, but it felt like something inside me was just. wrong. Nothing made the hollow ache go away, not friends, not family, not serving in church.

It was then that I remember missing one meal. Then feeling hungry. I remember that exact moment in the library, where I thought, I’m going to control this. And as we all know, hunger passes. And when it did, I felt that for once, something was in my control. I could beat hunger. It was intoxicating.

While others turned to drugs or alcohol to numb the pain, this unhealthy relationship with food was my drug of choice.

It started out by missing meals, and enjoying the feeling of having “triumphed” over the need to eat. I started eating less when I did eat, sometimes taking nothing but non-fat milk for a day, then eating for dinner when my family was around.

The Demon Scale

Everyday, I obsessively weighed myself on a digital scale (the demon scale!!) that gave me my weight to one decimal point. Everyday, I battled depression, and distracted myself by waging a battle with my weight. I don’t think anyone will ever tell you that I was ever fat, but this was the only thing that I could control and it was intoxicating.

I am around 5″5 and my weight started to go down. I started out at 120lbs, (well within the normal range) and as the days went by  my weight progressively went down. I dropped to 110 (117 is considered underweight). But it wasn’t enough. I wanted more (or less, really. Haha).

This was when I started buying weightloss products. When nothing brought me low enough, I started abusing laxatives. I took them everyday. It was part of my routine.

I remember entering the bathroom of DLSU (Mirrors on three wall panels) and there were a few girls there as well. I felt so fat. So many things I wanted to “FIX”.  I remember seeing the reflection of a girl’s back in one of the mirrors and I thought: “There. That’s how thin I want to be.”

Just like a scene from a movie, the girls who were in the bathroom with me left. Only I was left. But the “thin” girl I wanted to be like was still there. I was looking at my own reflection.

This was how distorted my perception was– I looked at me and I saw FAT. I looked at what I didn’t know was me and I thought THIN.

The last straw

Still not winning the battle against depression,  triggered by a very small irrelevant event, later on that year, I attempted to take my life. I failed (Thank you, Jesus). And I was subjected to therapy for a year. It was then that the doctor told me that aside from depression, it seemed to her like I had a complex eating disorder: Anorexia Nervosa and Bulemia. A combination of food deprivation, distorted self-perception and binging and purging.

Wonderful, I thought. Yet another feather in my messed up cap. Who is going to fix me now. I was angry. Angry at the world, angry at me, and all alone.

Throughout all this, I was still serving in church, trying to find relief to no avail. I remember ranting to Zach (who was just my band mate then, yihee.) telling him I was angry. Mad at God. I felt that God was a God of pain. And everything I was feeling was because He made me this way. Why would you make someone, create them and make it hurt so bad, that not existing seemed like a better option.

And he told me something that pissed me off even more.Kung ganyan ang pagkakilala mo sa Diyos, hindi mo pa Siya kilala. Hindi yan ang Diyos na kilala ko.I was so angry! I was serving in the youth group of my church! My parents were leaders! Yadda yadda yadda to cut it short, I was apalled, and not moved at all (positively, at least) by what he said.

My battle with weight continued. It was intoxicating to hear people say “ang payat mo na!” “kumain ka naman”. Their concern for me, I read as compliments. I was passing out occasionally, and they thought it was a neurological problem: it was that bad. There were times I was too weak to walk. My dad would help me walk: It was that bad.

People who’d see me regularly would tell me It seemed I was progressively getting thinner everyday. And they were right.

I went down to an all-time low of 97pounds. I knew it wasn’t good, but it FELT good. It felt like I was winning. But “winning” did nothing for me. It didn’t make me feel better. I was cutting myself (hence my preference for longer-sleeved shirts that has stuck with me til now), my arms had cuts, my thighs had cuts. I kept spiraling downwards.

One night, years later with the same thing going on, another all time low in 2006, similar to that day I felt I had to end it all, I felt the need again. I used to think to myself: Lord, give me one day. Even just ONE DAY without depression.

Then out of nowhere (out of somewhere, for sure, though), I remembered then what Zach had said a year before that night. Hindi ko pa kilala ang Diyos. Could it be?

Was it possible to serve, and be around people from church, and have parents who were church leaders and still NOT KNOW GOD? Apparently, the answer to that was YES. And I realized I was aching. While mine was an extreme battle, all of us are hungry, aching for God. Like the song goes, There’s a God-shaped hole in all of us. And when we try to fill that void with anything else, things get worse.

So I said: “Ok. God. I don’t think I know You. Make Yourself known to me”.

And you know how it says in the Bible “And God said….” and you assume it’s figurative. That night, I heard it. A voice that stilled my sobs, almost audible. Clear. Not my own voice. “I am bigger than you know. “

The next morning, I told my dad how I felt and he told me to try to attend Victory. That he’d heard stories of people from there who’d been saved from situations like mine, sometimes worse. And I went. I felt a new sense of purpose: I was on a quest to find God.

3 ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’ — Jeremiah 33:3

I went to a group with a girl who seemed too girly to handle my demons. I thought, “surely, a woman in pink AND a skirt cannot handle me.”

I thought she was going to pick me apart, and figure out my issues like my therapist used to do. But no. She didn’t go there. She shared the word of God with me. I felt what about my issues? my past? my pain? Who will tackle them?”.

Week after week, the same thing. Nothing about me, everything about God. Stuff I thought I already knew, but it wasn’t a quest for knowledge. It wasn’t an intellectual pursuit. It was about a hunger to know God and He was meeting me everytime.

She told me to read the Bible and I thought “Wow. That’s my solution? Therapists couldn’t fix me. Medicines messed me up more, and you’re telling me to read a book that collects dust in every household?”.

But I did. And as I read the Bible, I discovered that before my quest, an age-old quest began long before I was born. God pursuing man, God reaching down to make Himself known. The pursuit of a God who longed to romance me, longed to make Himself known to me.

I remember reading the verse that became my battlecry:

2 Rise from the dust, O Jerusalem.
Sit in a place of honor.
Remove the chains of slavery from your neck,
O captive daughter of Zion. (NLT Isaiah 52:2)

God was calling me forth. He was inciting me, exciting me, making me come alive. And slowly, before I even knew it, I was eating normally. I wasn’t cutting, or crying every night anymore. And I realized the wisdom in Joyce’s leadership: SHE KNEW SHE COULDN’T FIX ME. There was no way in hell she could fix the mess that I was. But she fed me the word of God. And she told me about Him. And as I drew near to God, the things that were in me that were NOT OF GOD were slowly falling away. Light and darkness cannot coexist.

And I gave my life to Jesus. And nothing’s been the same. And even as I write this, I cannot even remember how it felt like to be depressed. I cannot remember, cannot fathom even trying to cut myself, much less take my own life.

Since I  started looking for God, my prayer to have “just one day without depression” was more than answered; it was surpassed.

NOT A DAY SINCE THEN have I had depression.

And today, I am my NORMAL weight, thank you very much. Haha. What a very long post, but I felt led to just share this. Because I needed to make it known that me putting on weight is a good thing. Yet another testament to His healing.

Today, I am happily married, and healthy, without a trace of depression. Not a trace. Not a trace of the darkness that engulfed me before.

Let it be known, that when Jesus heals, He heals completely. When He makes you new, you don’t just “FEEL BETTER”, you feel brand new, just the way you should be.

Thank you, Jesus. Oh, how You’ve saved me.

And I can sing of His great love forever.

And until you feel this way, know that God is bigger than you know. Bigger than your pain. Bigger than your past. And whatever it is, He is mighty to save. Don’t be afraid to ask Him questions. Don’t be afraid to challenge God. Know that He is able to come through. And He will. All you have to do is ask.