Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Behind every tattoo there is a story waiting to be told. Some inspiring, some meaningful and some just for fun. This tattoo is a symbol of life and if you are unaware, this semicolon is more than just a punctuation symbol. This is a reflection of my personal struggles with depression, anxiety, and suicide.

A semicolon is typically used when an author could’ve chosen to end their sentence, but chose not to. The author being me and the sentence is my life. 

This month is National Suicide Prevention Month. So here I am again, sharing another big part of my story:

To say i’ve had some very low times in my life would be an understatement. I have gone back and forth about sharing this as this is the deepest darkest thing I will ever talk about in this space. No one knows my true struggle with this, besides my husband. Literally no one. It took me over 2 weeks to even write this out because it’s so awful and heart-wrenching in so many ways. I am such an open person with the purpose and intention of helping others. And this…. this is scary. 

On July 2nd I slipped into a dark place. It happened fast. I let my thoughts go too far. I convinced myself that my husband deserved better. That my kids deserved a better Mom and that everyone would be better off without me. I convinced myself that I was doing everyone a favor. 

The pain, the fear and the shame from leaving the LDS/Mormon church was so deep I told myself a story that was FAR from true. Even though I do not believe in what is taught anymore, I couldn’t bare to think what others though of me. That I would be breaking up my family and marriage. That I had shamed/ruined my family for generations to come. That pain was too much to bare. I literally convinced myself that this world would be a better place without me and that my family would eventually be happier if I was gone. 

With swollen eyes I ripped out a paper from my notebook and wrote Saunder a goodbye letter. I told him how sorry I was for causing him so much pain and disappointment, but he would thank me soon enough. He would be able to find the perfect Mormon wife and he wouldn’t hurt anymore now that I was gone. He would be able to find someone new, re-marry and have the life he wanted.

I won’t and can’t physically or mentally go into detail of what happened next, but i’m still here. Writing this out is painful. So painful. I don’t even know how to accurately put into words what I experienced that day. I cried so hard I couldn’t breath. I laid on the floor of my closet paralyzed. I picked up the phone to call Saunder and I couldn’t get myself to push “call”. I didn’t know what I would even say. I laid there for an hour and silently prayed that God would just take my life so I didn’t have to. 

I have struggled with mental health my whole life. I’ve had suicide ideation several times over the course of the last 20+ years and even used to hurt myself as a form of punishment. Even though I now know it was a huge part of my life, I never knew what depression and anxiety was until 5-6 years ago. I didn’t ever know mental health was a thing. I suppressed everything, I spent my whole life beating myself up for not being the perfect Mormon, for having desires to get tattoos or not wanting to be at church, for not agreeing with some of the teachings or wanting to drink coffee or simply just not fitting into the Mormon box like I knew I was supposed to. For not being the person I knew everyone wanted me to be, for not being better, or smarter and for having these thoughts and feelings that I never understood how to deal with. I would always look at friends and family around me and wish I could just be like them. I beat myself up over and over again. Why was it so hard for me to be Mormon? I wanted to fit in so bad.

July 2nd was the most terrifying, awful, painful, lonely day of my life. I thought that would be the date written on my tombstone. I thought that I was going to have relief soon. That the pain I was experiencing would soon be gone. 

July 10th I announced to the world that I was no longer claiming to be Mormon and I was leaving the LDS church. In a matter of a week I went from feeling the lowest in my life to the most relief and happiness i’ve ever felt. When I woke up on July 11th I expected to have a hard few months or even a few hard years. What followed after was freedom, happiness, joy and feelings I’ve honestly never felt so deeply. I can’t help but cry typing this out. I went from wanting to be dead to feeling the the most joy and happiness I’ve ever felt. Truly. 

The church can be such a happy and wonderful place for some. For me, it was not. It was the root of my confusion, a huge part of my anxiety, my frustration, my unhappiness and my mentality that I was never good enough or doing enough (disclosure: I’m not placing ANY blame on the LDS church, these are simply my feelings and experiences being in the church). Deep in my soul I always knew it was not my spiritual home. Being out has been the biggest relief. I feel I can love more deeply, I can empathize more, truly be myself, and really explore what spirituality means to me and SO much more. I finally feel like ME. And the biggest part of that: that it’s more than okay to be me. 

The suicide rate is so extremely high right now. Especially in Utah and it breaks my heart. I was almost one of those numbers. The reason I share this is because I need you to know you are not alone. Whatever you are struggling with, YOU. ARE. NOT. ALONE. I am here begging you with all of my soul to please reach out if you are ever in a place where you could harm yourself. 

Looking back my heart aches knowing I might have missed the happiness and joy i’ve experienced over the last 2 months. The pain I would have caused my family. The memories I would have missed with my kids and my husband. No matter what terrible thing you are going through, I promise it gets better. It ALWAYS gets better.

I will wear my tattoo “Be Brave;” proudly as a reminder to myself that I am here for a reason and my life was not meant to be cut short. That I need to be brave. For myself, for my family and for others. I have so much more life to live and love to give.

If you have a friend going through any type faith crisis, has lost a family member, struggling with mental health, going through a divorce, PLEASE REACH OUT RIGHT NOW! You never know if you could be that person’s saving grace! Sometimes all it takes is a loving friend’s ear.

As for me, my life is not over. I am more alive than i’ve ever been. I will be brave and continue to walk my path no matter how rough it may get, but I KNOW my story does not end here;


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  1. Jalynn, When I read your story, it could be mine. This past year has been the worst. Yes, anxiety, depression, low self esteem and PTSD. I have had so many serious medical issues on top of this. This has been as you said a lifelong struggle. I was forced by police and rescue to go to the hospital this year one evening. This was after the police and dogs and ambulance were scaring me out of my own skin. I couldn't refuse even after my therapist came to my house (a 40 min drive.)..My ex husband came to watch the dogs. It was needless to say a nightmare.

    On another occasion I signed myself into the hospital because I was afraid of my pulmonologist convinced me. The experience was terrifying.

    Please know that you can talk to me anytime and perhaps in Nashville we will be able to connect. I am basically fighting this battle every day. I have had better times and have had horrible times. Sounds like the beginning of one of my favorite books "A Tale of Two Cities.". Thank you for sharing this on your blog. You are very brave. As a teacher, you know the stigma is so negative that I would be unable to share this on my blog or Facebook.
    Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my struggles and fear of the future. Much love...Donna

  2. I’m so happy that you could be brave and decide to live your life in the way that brings you the most joy. ❤️ Liz

  3. Thank you for sharing your story. You truly are very brave ❤️

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  5. I have just read this post and the one prior about leaving your church. Decades ago, I too left something, for very good reasons, and I know that it takes bravery and honesty to do so. It is not easy but when your heart is telling you something, sooner or later, we have to listen. I am so impressed by you!!! and it is wonderful to find a blogger who is not just about the superficial stuff. I am much older than you, but I will tell you that these difficult feelings will pass, in time, as you flower and become even more of yourself.

  6. Thanks for the great post on your blog, it really gives me an insight on this topic.