I first decided there was a God when I was 13 – I was on a family holiday and there was a hurricane coming, so I prayed in desperation and when I woke up the next day, it had changed course overnight. I thought: ‘OK, there’s a God.’ But I kind of moved on with my life, not thinking about it again for about 10 years.
In my third year at uni I was diagnosed with severe depression. I left uni and ended up on a graduate scheme with Marks & Spencer, but I just couldn’t do it – on my low days, I just found the job too intense and I couldn’t face customers or my colleagues. I was also living in increasing squalor and didn’t care about things like personal hygiene any more. It reached a stage where a friend made me let her come over and clean my flat. She had to spend all day on it, while I lay in bed, staring at the ceiling.
I got chatting to one of my friends from uni and she invited me to church, but I didn’t really like Christians very much. I found them judgmental and hypocritical and holier than thou. But when I told her that she said, “Yeah, we can be like that, but that’s not how Jesus told us to be and I’m sorry.” It was the first time I’d heard that. So I went to her church, Grace Church Nottingham. The leader of the church, Nick Sharp, preached on Ephesians and everything made perfect sense to me, so I got prayed for at the end and got saved then and there.
Unfortunately my depression got no better and so I had to resign and move back in with my parents just outside Kingston. I searched online for a Newfrontiers church, finding that Kings was the closest to me. I settled in straight away, welcomed with open arms, even though I was pretty messed up at the time. After a few months I picked up voluntary work, but I was still taking time off and never getting to a stage where I was completely better. I was prayed for but nothing was getting sorted. I came to the conclusion I was going to have to cope with it for the rest of my life. Even on my good days I would do things like not check for cars before crossing the road; I just didn’t care if I died.
I did FP impact with King’s last year: a very fulfilling job, but I still had those awful days. I was away for New Year’s and spent most of January 2nd by myself, I just couldn’t face being with my friends; I decided that day I was going to kill myself because I couldn’t see any other way forward. I talked myself out of it basically just because I was scared of how God would react! I spent a lot of time yelling at Him on the beach that day. I just didn’t understand why He’d abandoned me so completely. I had given up and had reached rock bottom.
Then I went away on a Center Parcs trip as part of FP Impact. This was my last throw of the dice. I’d said to myself that if God didn’t do something, I was done. While there, Simon Holley was leading a freedom session and I asked him to please pray for me. I was immediately set free – I went from feeling very hollow and empty to completely full and overflowing.
One year later, I’ve never had a low day since. I’ve been completely set free. I’m now a small group leader, a stewarding leader, growing with God all the time and working full-time for actual money again, for the first time in two years. My life got completely turned around on that day; it’s been remarkable. It’s not just that I’ve got past this, but now God’s using it for his glory, and life means more than it ever did.