Teacher and blogger Sarah Maurer discusses her journey of faith and mental health with Father Dave.
Sarah runs a blog called Abundant Life, where she has been very open about her battle with anxiety and depression. Father Dave asks Sarah when she first realized she had anxiety. “After the death of my best friend when I was younger, I kind of turned to isolation and didn’t recognize until about 12 years later the cycles of depression and anxiety that I experienced on a daily basis … As a young child I was very lively and outgoing, and I knew that I was not that anymore. It was actually kind of strange cause it felt like I had to convince my parents that I was actually this shy person and they did not buy it.”
Sarah thinks back to the lies she began to believe about herself. She writes these out on her blog, “I’m ugly. I’m not worth it. I’m not lovable. I can’t possibly live up to people’s expectations. No one wants me. No one sees me … The world would be better off without me.” She explains to Father Dave, “I really didn’t feel loved in high school. I had just lost my best friend and I was struggling to replace her and I couldn’t figure out how to do that. All these, what I now recognize as lies, I kept ruminating over and over in my mind until I finally just believed them.”
Sarah shares that she had a plan to end her own life, but her faith helped her rethink her decision. “I had just about every plan in the book … but I desired heaven and I knew that performing those actions wouldn’t guarantee that I would get to heaven. So that desire for heaven is what kept me going.”
Sarah shares that she clung to her faith in the midst of the darkness. “Throughout all that time, if nobody else was going to be my best friend, Jesus was going to be my best friend.”
Sarah opened up to her family and let them know she was struggling with suicidal thoughts. “Everything in me was screaming at me to end my own life, but I knew it was wrong. If I had actually acted on those ideas, it would have been a moment of complete irrationality. As soon as my family knew that I was suicidal, they did not leave me alone for several months. I constantly had a partner with me.” She also explains how cognitive behavioral therapy helped her through this battle as well.
Sarah explains how meeting her baby nephew for the first time gave her a new perspective on what it means to choose life. “In the depths of being depressed and anxious and suicidal, the knowledge that my nephew was alive and kicking is part of what kept me going, holding him,” she says. “I realized, for the first time, the many yeses to life that I had said in the last five months. And I also realized that I wanted to get to know him. And so that was when I realized once and for all that I would not be committing suicide.” Sarah now works as a preschool teacher and shares her journey through mental health on her blog, Abundant Life.
Father Dave asks Sarah what she would say to someone who is struggling with mental health, “You are strong and brave and you can do this.”
If you or a loved one is ever experiencing suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Line +1(800)273-8255. And consult these resources if you are concerned for yourself or another.