It started in first grade when a teacher called me a retard in front of my class. Retard is a label that haunts a person throughout his or her school years, or at least it did for me.
By the time I repeated first grade and made it to second, my teachers assured me no one would ever fail me. Why? Because they would push stupid Aimee on, whether or not she could do the work. My humiliation only increased. My second grade teacher was no more merciful than my first.
“Miss Eddy, come up here now,” my second grade teacher’s voice reverberated throughout the classroom.
Shaking with fear, I forced myself to walk to her desk in front of the room.
With a big red marker, she wrote an F on my paper. “You cheated. No one like you could have gotten an A.
Cheaters will not be tolerated.”
To this day, I can hear the sound of her ripping my paper in half. The words, “Mom worked with me all summer. I learned to read,” were trapped in my throat. I gasped for air as if choking on food.
In the years that followed, I sat in silence as my classmates talked down to me, called me names such as retard, dummy, and loser, and treated me as if I didn’t belong. My teachers insisted a person like me could not read or write. They even assigned other students to give me answers on tests.
If there was a way to escape my life, I imagined it, pounding my fists and head against walls to ease the overwhelming pain within me. By my senior year of school, I began tearing at my skin with needles. I watched pain float away with each drop of blood. I hated living. I hated existing. Most of all I hated being me.
“God made a mistake when he made me,” I cried while my mother held me each day after school.
What peace could I find in a God who put me in a world of mental darkness? In my senior year of high school, I slid into a deep depression. After encouragement from a teacher, I went to college. My sadness left me no reason to live. Abuse from a friend only made me hate God more and question his existence.
In my condition, I had no other choice but to take a year off from school. I started seeing a therapist who diagnosed me with major depression. In therapy, I worked on self-esteem and changing negative thoughts to positive, such as “I’m worthless” to “I’m a good person.”
I got a job at a grocery store and, for a period, I found relief from my sadness. In five years, there were very few symptoms of depression. I made friends at the store and became popular. A social life turned me into the kid I had been unable to be.
Several years later, however, I became part of an abusive relationship and plummeted back into a deeper depression. My emotions became unpredictable, igniting into an inferno within seconds. The pain inside me burned in my soul and crawled through every inch of my body. I would cry in a fit of rage, screaming at the top of my lungs, and I began injuring myself more often.
After the man I thought I loved kicked me out of his home, I was hospitalized and diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. His words, “You gave up,” became my motivation to prove him wrong.
I worked toward a more stable life. Two years later, I met a woman at Saint David’s Christian Writers Conference. I discovered she lived in my area. She even shopped at the store where I worked. She encouraged me to join the meetings at her Bible study group. After going to several of the meetings, I asked her to pray with me to ask God into my life. Once I found the Heavenly Father, I began going to church.
After reading a Bible verse from John 16:33—“These things I have spoken to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world,” I realized that if God could overcome the world, I could overcome Borderline Personality Disorder, self-injury, and depression.
The sadness in my soul slowly lifted. I came to the realization that I had never been alone. God sat beside me even though I had denied his existence. I stopped injuring myself and the emotional episodes stopped. I started on a path of rediscovering myself, a path of finding strength to stand up for myself, to take control of my illness and to live a stable life.
Now, I am the happiest I have ever been. I fell in love with a wonderful man who tells me each day how beautiful I am. I married the love of my life and we have now been married thirteen years. He helps me stay in recovery and gets me through rough times.
When I am asked how I gained control over this illness, my answer is, “I found God.”
God gave me a wonderful man to lead me through the difficult times. He also carries me in the light of recovery.