At 13 years old, my parents came to me with the news that we would be moving from our small, one stoplight town in Colorado to a big city in California. It was the middle of my 8th grade year and at that age you’d think that I’d be dreading the move, but I was ecstatic. It was the thrill of change, something new, and I got to have the attention of the girl that was moving (people didn’t leave our small town often). As the move got closer I was dreaming more and more about this utopia of California. All the adventure it would bring and all movie stars I would inevitably become best friends with. What I didn’t realize was how hard reality would hit me when we finally got there.

Aislan-1-2.jpg

We moved to a suburb outside of San Francisco where my parents enrolled me in a small private school to help me adjust smoothly from our small city. Teenagers were mean. They made fun of my clothes because they were not from a mall.  I didn’t make friends until about my second week of school, and truthfully, it felt like their parents gave them extra allowance to be my friend. Waking up every morning became harder and harder, and I cared less about what happened during the day. I didn’t care to have friends, I just put on whatever clothes I could find, dirty or not, and didn’t engage in school. Of course, this brought more whispers and comments from these rich, private school kids and after a while I just became numb to them. I truthfully became numb to everything and darkness covered me. I didn’t know it, but I was depressed and eventually the suicidal ideation started. Looking back on it now, it was scary how morbid my 13-year-old thoughts got.

After being depressed for a few months my mom and dad found me a counselor to talk to and that helped. I also started public school where I could blend in a lot more and not be seen. It was easier to hide my emotions and push down my depression. My depression was at bay for about two years and one day it hit me like a train. That’s always how it seems to work. Life feels like it’s going pretty good then BOOM back in the slumps you go. Then battle begins. I got back into counseling and even got on some medication to help. It is this vicious cycle that I never thought I’d be in.

My battle with depression and anxiety has been ongoing my entire life. It feels like I can never escape it. It’s just this roller coaster that I’m on, and when I am good I am on an uphill slope but I’m constantly waiting for it to drop and to be back at the bottom again.

Before coming to Discovery I was so hopeless on that roller coaster. I didn’t acknowledge much of what I went through or how it was affecting me today, as an adult. I mean, truthfully, 4 years ago when I started coming to Discovery, I would have told you I had no story and the things I went through, I worked through. Oh how wrong I was. I started to venture into this thing called “my story” and it sucked. It brought up things and feelings that I hated sharing— that I hated feeling again. It was hard, it still is hard, and diving into my story was not a fix-it for everything I have been through. There are days that I still struggle getting out of bed or finding any sort of motivation.

But through my struggles I get to help others. I found my passion for student ministry and I get to share my story and my battles with students that struggle with anxiety, depression and suicide.  Through discovering my story, I got to experience the rescue that Jesus offers and offer that rescue to others.