IntroductionMost of her life Karenda carried a silent stigma, unmentionable among Christians. It was the stigma of mental illness. In times of deep depression, and on more than one occasion, she attempted to take her own life. But the Lord spared her, and blessed her with miracles of love, children, and then at last, the acceptance of her illness. Karenda, who once hated herself, now can give thanks to God with singing, for creating her just the way He did.
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Karenda's Miracles - From Sadness to SingingId like to start out by being brutally honest - no sugar coating.
In middle school, while everyone else was trying to find themselves, I was trying to kill myself. I made my first suicide attempt in the eighth grade when I was only thirteen years old.
At the age of five my parents noticed there was something different about me. I seemed sad a lot and had an unhealthy need for things to be clean and organized - traits that my three brothers did not share.
I was born in Florida but we moved to Georgia when I was six to live with my paternal grandmother. She would become my best friend in the world and surrogate mother - Mama Sylvia. I made it through elementary school with no real scars to speak of. I started working at my fathers clothing store when I was eight and although I guess I enjoyed the work, I mostly liked being with my Daddy and Grandmother.
My parents took us to church every Sunday morning, every Sunday night, every Wednesday night, and any other time the doors were open. I liked church, but nothing ever made me happy for too long.
I Longed to be Happy
I had a normal childhood I guess. After school I would make a snack for my three brothers that usually consisted of Mac and cheese and then they would go outside to play with the neighborhood kids. I would do the dishes, laundry, my homework, and go sit in front of the TV. I never went outside but really longed to be happy like my brothers seemed to be.
I would later learn that what my parents called sadness was actually full blown depression.
At thirteen I took a massive overdose and it was not quick and painless. I panicked and confided in a friend who ran to the school office and the principal rushed me to the emergency room herself. They inserted a tube that seemed a mile long and made me drink about a quart of liquid charcoal. I thought things could not possibly get any worse. Then my mother arrived. Her look of disappointment would haunt me for years to come. She worked for the school system and the church we attended and I knew she was afraid people would find out what I had done.
To me, Mom was perfect at everything she did and succeeded at everything she started. I could not live up to that, but would try for almost twenty more years. It was pressure I put upon myself, but I think in many ways I idolized my mother. I could tell she was embarrassed but I really wasn't. I was disappointed. I had failed at my attempt. My mother was calling it an accident and a big misunderstanding. The hospital did not believe her and the state slapped a 1013 hold on me and insisted on a police escort. My mother assured them that she would get me there. The hospital agreed to waive the escort and I was now on my way to the funny farm.
The people there were older and had real problems. They were alcoholics and drug addicts and really needed help. "So why was I there?" I thought, "I had nothing in common with these people." But when they taught me how to con my way out, I realized they didnt want help anymore than I did. I did exactly as they said and it worked.
The doctors told my mother I had a nervous breakdown and suffered from severe depression. The suicide attempt was really a cry for help. They gave her a list of therapists and a prescription. I would not use either and this momentary lapse would not be mentioned again.
It was not the best kept secret at school and the questions and stares seemed too much to bear, but I did, because I knew I could always try again.