As I was preparing for this post, I felt as if I was cheating you. Cheating you from the truth. Cheating you out of getting the authenticity you deserved. In order to make amends, please read this with grace as I pour my heart out.
If you’ve read any of my previous posts, you’d know I struggled with severe depression for many many years. Depression has become such a mainstream term, so let me give you a glimpse of what depression really looked like for me. Everywhere I went, either to school, to the park, meeting a friend or just going about daily tasks I’d feel utter worthlessness. Thoughts such as: “Ashton, you are a waste of space. Just end everyone’s misery and disappear.” or “They don’t like you. They’re pretending to be your friend because they feel sorry for you.” or “Why did you just say that?! You are a complete idiot and everything that comes out of your mouth is absolute shit.” These were common daily thoughts I carried. Harsh, extreme and never forgiving to myself.
You might have heard the quote: “You are your own worst enemy.” unfortunately in my case, that was entirely true. Naturally, I became suicidal at the fresh age of seventeen. Which later turned into me using a wide variety of drugs, toxic relationships, and other coping mechanisms to deal with my sense of worthlessness. Now is where I feel the conviction to be more truthful with you in my recovery.
I’ve been fairly tame when it comes to speaking about God. Mostly because I’ve wanted to appeal to more viewers. I wanted anyone to be able to read this and find some tips/ advice on how to navigate this lonely journey. Recently I realized I was doing everyone a huge disadvantage by not sharing the complete truth. Because truth be told, no amount of antidepressants, therapists, self-help books, or coping skills could have healed me the way Jesus did!
At an early age I encountered Jesus on various occasions, but as I grew older and more bitter- He was the last thing on my mind or the last one I wanted help from. At 19 I joined the hippy (New Age) community, it was there I felt included, embraced and loved on. But within this community, everyone did what felt good to them. That meant using copious drugs, having multiple sexual partners, and many hollow/broken friendships. My heart knew this was a band-aid approach to some deeper trauma I was dealing with. Unfortunately, I wasn’t done licking my wounds.
So I turned to Buddhism, and solo backpacked Asia for four months to find my spiritual truth. It was there that under “many coincidences” I was brought into a small church in India. This church was held within someone’s apartment with about 40 attendee’s. Throughout those two hours I wept with relief, for there I felt the peace I so desperately longed for.
From that moment on I encountered incredible miracles and restoration. From barely graduating high school, I went on to attend a top 50 University in Malibu, CA! Clearly my life drastically changed, yet still, I experienced glimmers of worthlessness. Any potential job interview I’d walk into, I’d question my capabilities and qualifications. I’d fear they’d find out my inadequacies and fire me shortly after (even if I was overqualified for the job!).
Two years after India, during my senior year at Pepperdine University, I supernaturally received healing from depression. Someone at church noticed me and asked if they could pray for healing. As soon as they prayed, my mind fluttered into fogginess and my thirsty soul felt drenched. Once they were done with their prayer, I instantly knew my mind had been renewed- something internally shifted. Even now, two years later, I still have that freedom.
Therefore I write this post to give thanks to my Lord. He has become my salvation. I want to make his works known among the people and declare his name for He has done glorious things.
I never imagined a life without self-loathing thoughts. I never imagined God would restore my relationship with my family. I never thought I could become confident in my identity. And I certainly never imagined living a happy and healthy life. But I serve a God who is alive and willing to heal!
If you are struggling, if you are intrigued, if you are exhausted, or confused- please reach out to me! I’d love to hear your story and pray for you. I can guarantee a taste of His love will change you!