Here's a bit of irony to start off with: my name is Joy and I'm depressed (it's okay to let out a little snicker at that one); or rather, was depressed. The struggle with my former clinical condition started at the ripe age of twelve - now I look back on this and think to myself, why would a twelve year old girl named Joy even understand what depression is? Well, that would be a good question actually. You see, both my parents are alive and well, all five of my older siblings are also in good health (well, kind of) and all are tender, caring people (very true); I've never dealt with a loved one (of mine) passing, I have no life threatening diseases, and for the most part I have been blessed to live in a stable, loving home. Stepping back and looking at the life I was given, I could violently shake my former self for not appreciating it more if it were not for the actual cause of my affliction. Here's the "darker" truth - the answer, to why I was tormented with such immense misery: demons.
I seemed like the classic misunderstood, teen angst kid: black, baggy clothes adorned with chains and skulls, dark make up, and a glare that could kill - though this glare was actually a nervous stare interpreted by others as a "get away from me or I'll murder you" look. In all sincerity I was just a horribly shy girl with an affinity toward the darker side (to me, Goth was pretty). So being raised in a church, others were quite leery of me, often accusing me of being involved in the occult or that I was possessed by a demon. Well, at that point, I had not yet dealt with any paranormal activity; not until these kind of hateful rumours were spread that is. I soon became friendless, lifeless, and ultimately felt worthless; not long after these feelings sprouted did I reach the point where I was ready to end it all - Quick resolve for a permanent solution, right? But then, who could reach me? I had secluded myself, like I was contained in a transparent box or better yet an impenetrable steel plated box; never talked to my classmates, my grades dropped dramatically, and I even ignored my family when I was home locking myself in my room and laying on the ground fantasizing about the glory of death and its miraculous conclusion to pain. I hadn't even cried through any of the bullying or inner-torture I was enduring - it felt like my tear ducts had just dried up; I was slowly turning into a comatose shell of a human. Then I started hearing voices.
Almost every day of my childhood and my teenage years I spent at the church, this was because it was also where I attended school (go figure); yep, kindergarten all the way to 12th grade. Even in a church I still could not escape the bodiless voices that constantly chanted my name. Wherever there was light that faded to darkness - like a fluorescent lit hallway with a broken light at the end of the walk or an empty, dark classroom I could always clearly hear my name whispered in a loud yet subtle tone - and it was an enticing call, hypnotizing in fact, beckoning me to come closer (seems like a classic horror movie haunting, but this is all true). These voices seemed to call for me the most when I was surrounded by other people (normally when I was at the church for school); when they would start, any other noises - talking, laughter, nonsensical commotion made by the all enclosing crowd - would start to dissipate like submerging your head slowly under water. All other sound was literally drowned out and the only thing could be heard would be my name meticulously calling for me. Thinking back on it, I know now those voices desperately wanted to pull me even further away from anything living, wanting me to feel as ostracized and alone as possible.
What's wrong with me? I often wondered this. "Why should I feel this overwhelming despondency so incessantly, why is the last shred of happiness left to be felt only transpired when I idly fantasize about suicide? And why am I hearing these voices? Who are they? What do they want?" (An entry found in my journal I obsessively kept at that time). I felt tormented and also like I was a failure for not being strong enough to live or feel like other people did. As these feelings progressed and the voices persisted the paranormal abuse worsened. The nightmares, in my opinion, were the worst stage through the whole experience. I am not entirely sure if I can describe the gruesomeness or heaviness in a fluent or comprehensive way; though I would never wish this upon another living thing, the raw impact of the images and the feelings emitted from these dreams can only be understood through experience alone. Through these dreams, the voices that haunted me revealed their forms (to an extent) each demon cloaked in a greyish-black veil, their faces were literal voids like a black hole framed by their hoods. They hovered in mid-air, their feet hidden beneath their ethereal robes and a stringy black energy filled the space between the bottom of their cloaks and the ground; their boney white hands hung at their sides, each finger coming to a sharp point, they had no fingernails but instead a single, very long and curved claw that dangled on the middle finger of their right hand. In my dreams two of these demons clung to my back, and the third demon always sought to attack my family or people I knew from the church - normally my classmates. Many mornings I would wake up to find scratches on my legs and upon further inspection on my back as well, a handful of times theses scratches would still be seeping blood (not a heavy flow of blood but enough for some oozing to occur). I don't want to describe anymore of my dreams (not yet at least... I guess it is a little more traumatic then I originally thought. Sorry)
So onto the conclusion to all this madness! How did this plague ever reach its end when it was so near its deadly pinnacle? Well, in a nutshell, when I turned thirteen and was trying to make the most of my summer vacation without killing myself (Sorry if that statement sounds more contrite than it was meant too; although I literally was trying to avoid committing suicide) I received a phone call from my mom while she was at work (oh, forgot to mention that both of my parents are on staff pastors at the same church I attended school at!), she told me that an anonymous donation was made on my behalf to go with the older youth group to a mission's trip in Jamaica. Of course I said...no! (I really didn't want to go. Being surrounded by church people on my time off? Not too keen on that idea.) Well, after much pestering by my mom, I reluctantly submitted, packed my bags, and journeyed for my first time out of the country (other than Canada that is) and made my way to the slums of Jamaica. Apart from all the eye-opening scenery, and the heart-warming humility to be felt by helping and serving the poorest of the poor, it was a moment I spent alone - away from the group, away from the service; by myself in one of bunkers where we spent our nights in, with a stray Bible one of the other "youth groupies" (little joke) left sitting on their cot. The awesome, magnetic, strange pull I felt when I saw that Bible laying on the beat up mattress was just enough to make me open it (mind you, I was over this whole God and Christian thing, and I was sure that I already had suffered my fair share of it). Ending up in some random section, I found myself in the book of Matthew and the only words (seriously) the only words that could be seen were as follows:
"Joy...peace be with you."
This probably sounds unbelievable, but it's true and it's what happened to me. After reading that statement, there came an overbearing lightness I felt squeeze my heart - not in a painful way, more like... An inner spiritual cleansing was taking place and I could feel every step of it and for the first time in the whole year and a half that I suffered in silent misery I began to cry - like uncontrollably cry! It was the most relieving and energizing cry I had ever felt. Big globs of tears running down my cheeks as if someone had turned a faucet on in my face! From that exact moment on, I was healed. I no longer struggled with depression, no longer was bothered by those demons that haunted me, no longer sat in self-loathing despair - I was, plainly put, free!
I am now twenty years old and I am happy, healthy, and full of life! I still continue to have run-ins with the paranormal every so often - but nothing that frightens me too much, and very rarely is it ever a demon anymore. I understand now how to protect myself from darker, more malicious entities and have been able to help a few others that have had similar problems as mine. I do not follow an organized religion per se; but rather listen to my instincts and pray to God to lead me down the right paths. I do not mean to come off as preachy; I'm simply relaying the events that took place in my life at that time and how I was able to overcome the worst parts with the help of God (when I least expected it).