My messed-up life … now a message of life
Jolyn Lim // September 4, 2018, 5:48 pm
I have always been a sensitive girl.
Even in primary school, the smallest actions and words of my friends would deeply affect me. So I pushed them away before they could push me away. I often needed assurance from many people. I remembered crying day and night, pleading for God (I had become a Christian by then) to take away my pain … but things just got worse.
I drafted my suicide note, apologising to the people around me, assuring them it was my choice. Then on 27 February 2014, I tried to take my life. I was only 14 then.
Where was God?
After my suicide attempt I was admitted to KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH). Though that opened up help to me as I was diagnosed with depression, my life went on a downward spiral from there. I just didn’t understand why was I living anymore.
So shortly after I was discharged, I began planning my next suicide attempt. On the morning of my would-be attempt, I was supposed to head to school, but I ended up going to the Institute of Mental Health as I was referred there by KKH.
There I spilled all my suicide plans, and I was admitted to the child’s ward. I spent the first night in there crying. I felt so lonely. Where was God?
Nearly 11 days later I was discharged. They scheduled appointments for me to see a doctor and psychologist. I remembered penning down my thoughts and feelings day after day, crying in hopelessness.
Many think recovery is a straight path, but that wasn’t the case for me.
Through the years, I’ve had many relapses. There were also many moments of breakthroughs, yet I’ve never been able to break out of the depression fully.
I remember being sent to hospital after hospital upon every attempt to end my life. And I remember all the tears and screaming – all the voices I heard which told me I was unloved and deserved to die.
But through the despairing cries, I saw a love … I saw Jesus. I saw that He has never failed, though I fail a thousand times. He has never forsaken me. He has never left me.
Jesus too had scars on His body, but His nail-scarred hands were scarred for me.
I once looked at my scars and saw shame.
But now, when I look at them, I think of Jesus. Jesus too had scars on His body, but His nail-scarred hands were scarred for me.
When I think about all that has happened, I can’t help but say that God has been faithful. Back in 2014, God placed a burden in my heart for teenage girls suffering from mental illness, self-harm and who have lost their identity — not knowing who they really are.
I didn’t understand how I would make a difference, but through the years, I realised that my experiences have helped me to better understand what these girls are going through.
Now I can pray for them out of a heart of empathy and love. And because of what I have been through, I understand the importance of advocacy. It’s why I chose to be an advocate for mental health, especially since there are many myths about mental illness out there.
Through my journey God has made me a voice for the voiceless, bringing light to the darkest places and being a testimony to others. It is ultimately all for His glory.
What does losing your identity mean or look like?
To me, it was losing myself. It was being defined by the people around me — by the voices I heard. I believed I wasn’t loved by anyone. I believed that God didn’t like me — that He was tired of me!
But slowly, step by step, I began to proclaim my identity in response to the lies I’d been hearing. Psalms 139 is a passage that is often mentioned when we talk about identity, but what does it really mean? What is my identity?
Read it: You are a child of God. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. If you were to count the number of thoughts He has of you, it would be more than the sand.
I was made with love, by Love, to love.
With that being said, it doesn’t mean that I no longer face tough times. It doesn’t mean that I do not face temptations. I still am tempted very often! But I have something to hold on to now.
I hold on to love — Jesus. And my identity is in Him.
Time and time again, He reveals Himself to me: His love shown through people, songs, journaling … His peace always comes through my screams and cries. His grace and mercy washes over me amidst my failures.
In Him, I find myself. Not me, myself, but He in me.
“so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:17-19)
I testify to His goodness and His love. I have been a mess, but by His grace I am now able to bring a message. I have been brought through many tests to bring a testimony to others.
No longer a victim but a victor — may all my trials show His triumph.