One Year Ago.

It’s been one full year; one full year since I made a decision that would change me for the course of my life.

A year ago today, I didn’t want to live anymore. I’m not using this post to rehash all that lead up to it since I did that in a previous post last year—you can read that here. No, what I want to do today is reflect on life’s journey for me and where I’m at today.

It’s a weird transition, living after not wanting to. Surprisingly, it didn’t take that long for me to put that feeling at bay. The most confusing part for me was learning to tell people when I needed help. I’ve never been good at that. I always had a feeling like I was burdening others with my problems—I didn’t want to put anyone out. I felt like I need affirmation or validation from people that it was okay for me to lean on their shoulders. I never realized how many people actually cared for me until after I felt like I didn’t want to live. I had a myriad of people come alongside me and invest in me, point me in directions that would benefit me.

My relationship with God grew immensely over the past year. I learned to rely on his strength and to surrender my will–what I thought would be good for me–to His will, the perfect plan for my life. I thought for the longest time that I should pray for healing from my mental illnesses, from my vices, my addictive personality. What I realized though is maybe it isn’t in God’s plan to heal me. Maybe through these struggles God will reveal my need for Him, maybe He’ll use me to encourage others experiencing these things too. If God wants to heal me, I would praise Him and be so thankful. But if healing doesn’t come for me, I will still praise Him and spread the news of His amazing grace and saving powers.

I’ve come to appreciate the little things in life more. From my family making meals for me, or taking me out to spend time with me. For my friends who check up on me, offer me opportunities to do what I want in life. I appreciate my music, how it provides so much added therapy for me. After feeling like life is too overwhelming, you come to appreciate life more. Life is such a precious thing that you should never take advantage of.

A year ago today I made a decision that wasn’t one of my best. But it has made me a better person, a better friend, a better daughter, sister. I have such a huge desire to live, to tap into my purpose, and to encourage others in whatever stage they are in.

A year later, I am living life to the full and I plan to keep it that way forever.

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In the past month, I’ve been called many things: victim, coward, unhappy, patient, client, friend, a work in progress, hurt, a lost cause, boozy, strong willed, stubborn. Regardless of what label or category I get placed in, I’m Emma Welling and this is what my life has been in the past month.

February 28th, 2017. At 11pm, I found myself with a knife in hand talking to a campus police officer on the phone. “Emma, can you put the knife down, please?”. I had made about a dozen cuts on my stomach by the time the officer got ahold of me. “We’re dispatching the local police to your location, just hold tight, okay?”

At 11:30pm, two Ottawa County Sheriff Deputies knocked on the door. They patted me down and asked me what was going on. “I didn’t want to live anymore” They told me if I cooperated and let them take me to the hospital, then they wouldn’t have to cuff me. I obliged and Deputy Tim escorted me to the back of his police car. He apologized that due to protocol I wasn’t allowed to sit up front—he kept repeating that I wasn’t in trouble and nothing was going on my record, but I did have to sit in the back.

At midnight, March 1st, I was admitted to Holland hospital. Once they escorted me to a room, I met with a doctor and a social worker. It was at that point that I revealed the main reason why I tried to end my life: “I was raped 3 days ago,” I mentioned how a friend and I had been drinking, this friend convinced me to drive us to some guys apartment; there were other people already there. Some guy I didn’t know brought me into a bedroom, locked the door, and wouldn’t take my simple “No” as an answer. He used me and hurt me, and I felt alone and helpless. That mixed with failing all my classes in college left me feeling so empty and alone.

I spent nine restless hours in a room at Holland Hospital, while security stood guard outside my door since I was on suicide watch. At 9am, a few paramedics, lifted me onto a stretcher and wheeled me into an ambulance—I was off to the psych unit at Pine Rest. On the ride over, a very kind paramedic named Ryan talked to me about the events that brought me up to this point. He told me his heart hurt to hear that I was raped, that his wife works with people who have been through things like that, so he knows just how rough it can be. He encouraged me and told me no matter what it’s not my fault and that I should seek justice someday—if not for me then for the other girls that person could end up hurting too.

Around 12:30pm, I was officially in my assigned unit at Pine Rest and admitted as a patient. I was given a tour—albeit short—and was told how the schedule would look. Starting at 8am until 9pm, there would be either a meal or some sort of group therapy meeting every hour. I was told I had to go to at least four meetings. I went to most of the sessions simply because there was nothing else to do in the unit except sleep.

I met some really cool people who were going through extremely tough things like myself. It felt good to open up and talk to people who really get it and who have a unique quality of empathy. I made great friendships in the unit and they’re ongoing support and comradery helped my stay there be even more beneficial.

Once leaving the unit, I decided that being in college wasn’t the best choice. My case manager worked with me to help get a medical withdrawal. As of now, I’m no longer a student in college. While our society tells us that college is the only avenue, I believe I will truly be able to find myself in these months that I am taking off from school. While I hope to keep myself busy, I also desire to truly figure out the path that I need to be on in life.

I write all of this down today for one main reason. It’s not for your sympathy or your attention. It’s not even for me to learn to be vulnerable, because I already learned how to do that well in the unit. No, I’m choosing to write all of this because it makes me a human. Sometimes when I read others writing, I can’t always relate on a personal level with the one who penned it. I may connect with what they wrote about, but feeling like you know the person is a whole different level. I want to achieve that here because I want my writing to come out as if you asked me out for coffee and these were my responses to a topic or situation.
I have a lot on my heart that I want to write about in the future on this site; however, it will only make sense and have the power to connect with you if you understand where life has brought me up to this point. My story is an integral part of my writing and more than anything, I want that conveyed.

So, this is me; this is where life has brought me in the past month; and this is what I will tap into going forth from here.