For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Mel. Nice to meet you! I’m glad are reading this post and I hope it gives you what you need today.
My story is one of darkness and light, struggle and triumph, good and evil. I am so relieved and proud to say that I conquered my darkness, my struggles and my evil – though I did not do it alone. I have my support network of friends and family to thank. Thank you for standing by me through thick and thin. I am the person I am today because of you.
Thank you for battling mental illness with me, helping me face my inner demons, tackling them head on with me. You helped me to stand when I couldn’t stand, walk when I couldn’t walk, eat when I couldn’t eat, smile when I forgot how to, and find love in everything.
My story begins at the start of this year, when my husband, Josh, and I moved away from our home and families in Brisbane to take up our dream jobs in Townsville. We bought our first home and adopted our beautiful rescue dog, Kaya. The first five months in Townsville were smooth sailing as we settled into our jobs and found a church community full of wonderful people to keep us company and soften the pangs of homesickness.
But then, one fateful night in May, I got hit in the head by a soccer ball and everything changed.
The four months following the head knock have been the hardest of my life (so far). I was diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome and then battled mental illness. I was in and out of hospital. I was unable to work. I despised myself. My faith was tested more than any other circumstance in my life.
I can honestly say that I'm only here today because of the love of God and the love of everyone He has placed in my life.
And with that, I give you my journey: to hell and back. It has not been easy, but it has been worth it. At the other side, I can say I am grateful for every moment, every high, every low, and every person who has sown into my life the fruit of God: love, peace, patience, joy, gentleness, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and generosity.
To Hell And Back
All I wanted on the day I woke up,
On the upside down,
In the nightmare,
Was: my old self back, my husband, my mum, my best friend, my house (safe place) and my dog.
All I wanted was sleep.
All I wanted was to believe everyone when they said I would be okay.
All I got was judgement,
All I got was blame.
All I got was guilt,
I was buried in my shame.
Then they stripped me naked,
Threw my wedding rings away.
They made me go to prison,
Totally naked, with no name.
They couldn’t stop the screaming,
Not with sleep, or pills, or food.
And then they started yelling – singing! –
“Amazing Grace” out of tune.
They locked me in my prison cell,
With nothing but a bed and a loo.
They shoved the pills right down my throat,
And locked me in a cage so I couldn’t move.
I didn’t think it could get any worse,
that ANYTHING could further darken my mood.
But that night they threw an EVIL disco,
And danced while I couldn’t move.
They made me wear some earmuffs,
AND a crown of thorns.
They took away my music
And all I could hear was white noise.
I started SCREAMING and SCREEEEAAAAMING!!!!
But they told me it “wasn’t allowed”.
So they put on a muzzle and stapled my jaw shut
So I wouldn’t be “too loud”.
Now the SCREAM was inside me –
Both silent and deafening and AAAAARRRRRGGHH!!!!!!
I thought it would never escape me,
But then it ripped through a hole in my chest.
I felt relief for a moment,
Until I saw that the scream was my heart
Satan held it in his vile hands yelling
“I’ve got you now!!!”
And then he maniacally laughed.
I had nothing and no one, not even myself,
My life was at its end.
And that is when Jesus did a prison-break
And took my place on that bed.
When I felt like less than nothing,
When I was all alone,
Jesus showed me that I mattered more
And traded my bed for His throne.
His throne was the chair in my house,
Where I journal, and sit and drink tea.
That chair is the place where I phone all my friends,
And that is what makes me, me.
So even though I couldn’t see it – I was a zombie at the time –
My name is Melissa and I am loved,
I love largely, and I am kind.
Written and Published by Melissa Nicholls