Trigger warning: This post contains suicidal thoughts. If you or someone you know is thinking about harming themself, please call the 24-hour National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

You are not alone. 

I throw on some yoga pants, a T-shirt, and a headbandwhat I jokingly refer to as my stay-at-home mom uniform. I quickly gather my kids’ backpacks, lunches, and my own laptop bag and head out the door, trying not to step on the LEGOs spilled across the living room and entryway. 

I live a seemingly normal, suburban life with my family. Sure, I’ve had hardships and life-altering experiences like everyone else. From the outside, it may appear as if I’ve had it easy or got everything all together in some way. If you see me writing at a coffee shop, you wouldn’t think there is anything different or special about me that would draw your attention. I’m okay with thatmy introverted self that is shy at times tries to fly under the radar and go unnoticed, blending in with the surroundings. 

But there is a deep pain I’ve overcome and learned to manage. You see, five years ago, I contemplated suicide as a new mom of two. I genuinely didn’t think I would make it through. 

Several times I found myself in my car alone in a parking lot, ruminating about ending my life. “They’re better off without me. I’m doing my family a favor,” I mistakenly thought. 

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I’ve fought an invisible illness for the past decade that millions of others are fighting around the world: mental illness. My diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder, depression, and panic came a bit later in my lifeat the age of 24. Even though my family’s mental health history takes up pages and pages of intake paperwork, I wasn’t supposed to have a mental illness. I thought I was immune from this heavy inheritance. But here I ama part of a “club” I didn’t want to be a part of. 

Another club I didn’t want to join: bereaved mothers by miscarriage. After I abruptly miscarried my second child, grief, sadness, anger, and confusion filled my mind, heart, and soul. I deeply struggled with taking care of my oldest son, myself, grieving the loss of my baby, and worrying about the future of our family.

Looking back, I realize I experienced depression from the time of my miscarriage through the postpartum phase of my second son’s birth (a few years undetected). I couldn’t name it or grasp the struggle I had. 

Simply put, the pain ran very deep. I wanted out. Thoughts became feelings of worthlessness, believing “you’re a lousy mom” and “you’ll never be good enough.” I shamed myself for feeling depressed when society told me I should be erupting with joy after having a new baby. 

Suicide ideation started as little, fleeting thoughts that I unconsciously fed again and again until they became so overwhelmingly real that I contemplated taking action on them. Coupled with the lies I believed about myself, driving aimlessly seemed like a death sentence.

“I could do it this wayquick and painless,” I thought. Or maybe this way would be a better option. Logically, my brain came up with reasons to justify my completing suicide. On several occasions, I snuck away in my car and spiraled deeper and deeper into the darkness. 

But God. There is one reason only that I am still here today sharing this story with you: God’s whisper.

The darkness and spiritual attacks I endured almost took my life. But through the streams of my tears and agony, I cried out to God and His whispers of encouragement saved me. 

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There were several phrases brought to the forefront of my plagued mind that stopped me in my tracks again and again: You’re not done yet. I will use this for good. I have plans for you. This is not the answer.

God provided a breakthrough at the exact time I needed it. I felt a loving peace surrounding me that unexplainably told me I would be okay. I chose the will to live. I chose to be hopeful. I chose to fully surrender my health to God, trusting and letting Him guide each step in my process of healing and recovery. 

I have a journal from that time with what actions I prayerfully considered for my own healing, which included years of therapy, medication for a time, learning to meditate, committing to a year-long Bible reading plan, healthy eating and the list goes on. 

I’m working on my first book meant to encourage and inspire all Christian women who (like me) have struggled with their mental health. My greatest desire is to pay it forward with my words and help you feel empowered to choose faith accompanied by action, make daily choices to support and nurture your mind and body, and let God walk alongside you, learning to prayerfully manage the ups and downs that come with mental health. 

You are loved, chosen, and worthy. You are deserving of everything good. Let your diagnosis be an opportunity for God to work in your life. He will meet you right in the midst of your brokenness, carefully piecing you back together to make a beautiful masterpiece.

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

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Kelley Spencer

Kelley is a Christian author, recovering perfectionist, overthinker, gardener, mental health advocate, and mother of two boys (and one in heaven) living in the Midwest. She loves tacos, being active outside, and planning weekend getaways. Her story, Radical Obedience, was published by Dayspring in Sweet Tea for the Soul. Kelley has God-sized dreams of publishing several books and Bible studies designed to reach others for Christ in their most vulnerable, painful circumstances. Grab your Free Anxious Mind Three-Day Devotional for encouragement on your challenging days.

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