I was never the “normal” kid, even from young.

With ADHD and dyslexia, I never really fit in with the “crowd” and got bullied and ostracised often growing up. I’ve always longed for love, acceptance and a place to belong among the people around me, but never seemed to get that. I was often labeled as an “extra” among my peers, and the butt of many jokes.

Things took a turn for the worse when I entered secondary school. Entering a totally new environment without the friends I made in primary school, I felt even lonelier and more ostracised than ever.

Because of this transition and lack of social support, I fell into depression and had thoughts of committing suicide.

I started to question my existence and things involving my purpose in life. Though I was going to a church, I started to ask hard questions about whether God really existed and if he really is as loving as people portray Him to be.

One day, after school, I passed by a chapel as I headed back home. It had been a bad day for me, and I really didn’t know why all these bad things happened to me.

I walked in, all alone, and cried out to this “God” whom I’d been hearing so much about but did not understand.

“If you really are the loving God people say you are, why do you let me go through the things that have happened to me?”

And there I had my first experience with Him. An inner prompting came out of nowhere, and I felt God telling me that “before any of these bullies came to existence, I’d already made you, loved you and called you my own”.

“If you really are the loving God people say you are, why do you let me go through the things that have happened to me?”

Bewildered, I walked out of the chapel questioning if what I had gone through was all in my imagination. But now, on hindsight, that incident marked the beginning of my journey to knowing this God who calls me His own.

It was much later on in my life that I learnt that this “prompting” I had felt was actually from Psalms 139:13-14. Borrowing the words of David, this is what he says of God:

For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

God had made us with a purpose and plan, regardless of what the world may tell you. You are not an accident.

I still struggled considerably with bouts of depression that came and went over the years. I doubted how the truth in Psalm 139 might apply to me, a misfit. Although this incident spurred my pursuit for a true, living God, it took many years and many different people God had sent to love and accept me for who I am, before I began to see healing and could change this ungodly belief of mine.

Even now, I still struggle. There are times where I cannot control what I think, nor can I control the anxiety or despair I feel. I’ve also grown to learn that depression and anxiety are not easy things to understand, and although I know what I should do (or not do), I cannot seem to do them.

When I choose to follow Jesus, it does not mean life will be easy from now, but it does mean I won’t walk alone anymore.

This despair, triggered by my depression, and the constant reminders of my flaws remind me of the imperfect world I was born in. I’ve grown to learn that when I try to solve things by my own strength – to pursue things I perceive to be anchors of peace, hope and happiness – all my efforts came to naught. Merely broken wells, as Jeremiah 2:3 states, which only bring brief relief at best.

There have been many sleepless nights where I’ve stayed awake, wondering if the morning would ever come – if I would ever wake up from the nightmare of my destructive thoughts.

But yes, morning will come. Every struggle points me to a life that is yet to come, a life that’s perfect and without sadness of pain. No matter what I do by my own strength, I cannot solve or change anything that I am going through. But in partnership with the Holy Spirit, I can change and be the person God has called me to be.

Grace is given to us through Christ, so that we may live in this moment and take the opportunity to experience the life God has promised to us.

We are given a new self and a new power through Christ. We are shown in 2 Corinthians 10:5 that we are not the sum of our thoughts, and we need to bring any thought that sets itself against Christ captive, bringing it to obedience in Christ.

But as we empty our minds, we cannot stop there. We need to fill our minds with what is noble and good (Philippians 4:8-9). And as we do that, we renew our minds to understand what is good, acceptable and pleasing to God (Romans 12:2).

Jesus’ act of love – death on the Cross – gives me a choice to truly live. I could choose to live my way, which results in death, or choose to follow Jesus. It does not mean life will be easy from now, but it does mean I won’t walk alone anymore.

Though I struggle I know there will come a time where I won’t have to. That is the hope I have in Him.

This is solely written based on the experience of the author. It is by no means a fixed, one-shape-fits-all solution if you find yourself struggling with depression, anxiety or any mental health issue.

Your journey may look very different, but you do not need to walk alone. If you have any further questions about mental health or would like a platform to talk about your struggles, we would like to be there for you. Please drop us an email at [email protected].