I felt trapped in a life I hated: Ben’s story

Trapped. Can’t escape. I want to run but I don’t want to move. I see other people and would kill to have their lives. Just please put me in someone else’s shoes. I don’t want my life.

Everything I have, I hate

The people around me, the things I do, the place I’m at. I just don’t want to do it anymore. When people talk about God, I cringe because I just know he’s not real. All the stupid nursery rhymes and songs about Jesus are there to make people feel safe.  I don’t want to hear any more songs on the radio or see any more commercials.  I don’t want to hear about addiction hotlines or churches. If God cared or was even real he would’ve done something by now.

Honestly, who would even care if I just ended everything now?

Those are my own words and thoughts.

Well, they were, just two years ago. I know many people have thought or are thinking those same exact things. You’re probably thinking, okay great, another testimony about how God miraculously “swooped in” and saved this person’s soul. That’s cool but why is it not happening to me? I talk to God all the time, yell at him.  You name it! Nothing is happening.

I know that feeling.  If I knew back then what I know now, I would say to myself, “God is already speaking to you.  You feel the way you do right now because you can’t see what he is doing.”

Wouldn’t it be so nice if we could just see and hear what God is saying to us all the time? That scenario seems ideal, but we would never have to depend on him.  That is the dangerous part, and my story will explain why.

Thankful for the darkness

My name is Ben and I’m a college student. I reached a low point in my life about two years ago, and ironically it is the thing I am the most thankul for.

One last thing before I share my story.  The lives of those you see on social media are not as advertised. The people in your daily life may give off happy and positive emotions but they are going through trials just like you are. It doesn’t matter if you are abused, gay, transgender, homeless, alone, uncertain, broke, cheated on, recently divorced, hated by those in your life, there is room for you in the kingdom of God and he wants you more than you could ever want him.

My Story

I was a larger kid, meaning I was always the flabbiest out of all my friends, and it really bothered me. I was constantly judging my appearance from as early as I can remember. This problem continued into my high school years.  As a result, I would try to do extremely strict diets that were unrealistic and very unhealthy.

I would avoid hanging out with friends on the weekends because of social anxiety, and because I had no energy because I wasn’t really eating. I had people telling me how good I looked, but I never believed them. My whole existence was wrapped up around my physical appearance. I just coasted by with social anxiety and found a way to survive. Sometimes my neck and back would be aching from grinding my teeth and stressing due to anxiety.

My anxiety got worse as my time went on because I had no responsibility and all I did was focus on myself. My friends were actually doing things with their lives, so I barely saw them. I started to feel like a loser after a while just spending all day at home and doing nothing.

I ended up dropping out of school my junior year because I contracted Mononeucleosis, a disease where one is sick for months at a time and there is really no cure for it. So I spent even more time at home which did not help at all.

I never prayed or did anything to find God. This would’ve saved a lot of trouble.

It got worse

After awhile, I was cleared by my doctor to do physical activity.  I started doing some training sessions with my strength coach from high school. This was literally the only time I left my house for about a 4 month period. I started training in January and I absolutely fell in love. I gained around 40 pounds in a 2 month period from lifting, taking creatine and being a big time gym rat.

Becoming obsessed with training,  I developed body image issues far worse than I thought possible. I would stare in the mirror for nearly hours a day and if I missed a workout I would physically punish myself, usually by hitting my body against things or punching the wall.

There came a time when financially I had to cut off those training sessions and I started to workout at my house. So I was at the point where I never left the house. Ever. I even started to prefer being in the dark and I would work out with a hood on in a dark room because it made me feel powerful and in control.

I started listening to satanic metal music and don’t get me wrong, rock music is damn good but the music I was listening to made me want to murder myself and break things around me. That music creeped in until eventually it was all I listened to and all I could think about was death and cutting things up or damaging things. I started to enjoy pain, and one day I took that too far and tore my shoulder, giving myself tendonitis and a strained upper body. I continued to try to work out through it but eventually I couldn’t take it.

So working out was stripped away, I didn’t go to school, didn’t have God in my life, so I had absolutely nothing. My parents recommended a counselor, so I said why not and went. I ended up lying to him in every session and we ended appointments after awhile. I remember feeling numb all the time and it got to a point where I wasn’t even sad or angry anymore. All I could really think about was darkness or just nothing, literally nothing.

Planned my death

I started to get curious and think of the possibility of death because my life didn’t seem to matter anymore, I had no impact on anyone and really no future. I figured I could just do everyone a favor and take my own life.

One day I decided to act this out so I stood in the kitchen, home alone and went near the knives in our kitchen drawer and thought about quickly cutting myself to bleed out. I remember thinking back to the times I was on my knees screaming at God for all sorts of reasons and I pondered on it for a while. This memory is somewhat foggy, but all I know is somehow I wasn’t home alone anymore.

Did God intervene?

Later that night, my family told me we were going to be moving out of state. This reminded me of when I asked God to just show me or give me something different. Well this was really different. Maybe God heard me or something? I remember not being too sure about it but I held on to it. I ended up staying around and didn’t try to plan out my own death anymore but I was still numb. We moved away and I was honestly in shock and didn’t know what to feel. During this time, I hadn’t been to church at all. My family stepped back in church once we moved and I decided to go with them.

Verbalizing my story changed everything

Fast forward to that summer.  I was at a camp held by the church, and one night I felt the urge to share my experience.  Once I verbalized how I had been feeling around a group of people, I knew everything changed.

I never heard the voice of God or saw him with my eyes but I have seen him work through me and through other people. If you feel anything similar to how I did or have had similar experiences, please just tell someone. Just make it known, and I promise you anyone you tell will care.

The world will NEVER be better off without you

If someone has told you to kill yourself or that you’d be better off dead, then they are just trying to make themselves feel better about their own insecurities by putting you down. The world will NEVER be better off without you, no matter what you have done or will do. Understand that God works through other people, and everyone in your life is there for a reason.

It is so confusing to understand why bad things happen, why sickness exists, why we get treated so badly but it can all come together for good. I would not be near where I am today without my experiences. Don’t get me wrong, I still get really anxious at times, still envious of others, still have issues with my appearance and what others think of me. I still feel trapped at times, but the one thing I have now that I never had before is security in the fact that God made me for a reason and I am loved and can never do anything to escape his love.

Your life matters

The best part is that truth is the same for you. Walking through life with God means that we can have joy, knowing that our lives matter.  It means we are not judged by our job title, clothes, appearance, or by what anyone says. I want you to think about this story, long and hard before you consider hurting yourself or others and think of the possibility that God could be real and you could have an amazing life waiting for you. Just think of that. I dare you.

[If you need to talk to someone about similar feelings to Ben’s, you can chat now.  Or Text D2L to 494949.]