When My Life Turned for the Better

Today is an anniversary of sorts. It’s the anniversary of the turn that saved my life.

This is where I started, chanting, “Thank the Lord, for He is good; his kindness is forever.” My, how perspectives change.

I shared that on Facebook on March 16, 2009, nine years ago. I was going through a depression so deep I considered killing myself at one point. I began digging out after I discovered the work of psychologists Joe Griffin and Ivan Tyrrell—on this very day nine years ago. They suggested that maybe I was depressed because my emotional needs weren’t getting met.

In the days and weeks that followed, I began paying more attention to my own needs, taking care of myself better, and doing kindnesses for myself. Psychologist Ross Rosenberg suggests that this is the first step to healing from what he calls Self-Love Deficit Disorder, and the first step to extricating yourself from an abusive relationship. For me, it was the first step on a journey in a better direction that allowed me to leave behind the Judeo-Christian religions and their narcissist god.

“Thank the Lord, for He is good; his kindness is forever.” This Psalm we used to sing and recite in a dozen different forms, and I had memorized it in both English and Hebrew. But what is Yahweh’s “kindness,” really? At best, it is the random forces of nature, sometimes wonderful and sometimes horrible. It’s a kindness you can’t count on. I’ve become more comfortable accepting true kindness—especially from myself—rather than chanting the nonexistent kind in hope that this will somehow magically increase the happiness in my life.

At the time, this was a revolutionary thought, and I didn’t even realize it was happening. All I knew was that Griffin and Tyrrell had validated me, had validated my needs where my entire social circle had failed to do so. And I liked it. I needed it.