From depression to mental health nurse
Miriam Jarvis was considering suicide until the love of God transformed her life.
I’ve grown up in a household where depression was always present.
From before I was born my dad suffered with depression and later in my teenage years it crossed my own path.
After a series of difficult events within my family, alongside sitting GCSE exams and normal teenage changes, I found myself battling each day with depression, self-harm, suicidal thoughts and an eating disorder. At first it was all very secretive but with time I sought help.
After two years of community treatment I was admitted into a young person’s psychiatric unit where I spent the next six months.
Towards the end of my stay in hospital I was allowed leave to attend a Catholic conference called Celebrate.
It was a two-day weekend event and it was there that I experienced the love of God for the first time. It was at Celebrate that healing began in my life and helped me find something to live for- God.
Arriving at the venue for the weekend I felt frustrated, fed up, bored and with a plan to end my life once I got home.
Reluctantly I followed my Mum as she was walked me down to the group for older teenagers and young adults.
I pretended I felt ill and got to the point of begging her to let me stay with her.
I hated the idea that I would walk in and everyone would be full of joy and everyone would be talking about how great life is and how good their God is. That wasn’t the life I knew.
I couldn’t believe that there was anything worth hanging around for. I couldn’t believe that life might just change for me.
All that healing stuff, that happened to the super-Christians, not bog standard and mentally-ill Miriam!
Darkness to light
In the first session we were split into groups of guys and girls and were able to ask for prayer. Within time I opened up to the few girls around me about what was happening in my life.
Within moments I was in tears as the girls all reached out to me and prayed over me. It was the most powerful and life-changing moment and I can’t help but smile as I think back to it now.
These girls weren’t condemning my actions, they weren’t mocking me. Their first words weren’t ‘Miriam you really shouldn’t self-harm. You should always turn to God.’
Instead they thanked God for my life. They prayed for protection and for healing. They asked that God would make his presence known in my life. That I wouldn’t feel alone or frightened.
The love I experienced that weekend from my peers and from God, changed my perspective on life. It was such an incredibly powerful experience and I fell in love with God that weekend.
A brighter future
Four years on, almost exactly to the day of the Celebrate weekend, I am in my final year of university training to be a mental health nurse. I always knew I wanted to be a nurse, but mental health was not on my list!
As a nursing student I love seeing the power that healing has in people’s lives.
Not only the patient’s life but their friends and their family too. Sometimes complete healing doesn’t come, but the power of storytelling and listening is just as important to them and to me.
When you have experienced the healing work of God, you can’t pretend that it didn’t happen and go on living life quietly. God has given you a story, a testimony to share with others.
During my recovery I have been open and honest which has led to interviews for local news channels and newspapers. I have worked alongside services, schools and charities. God doesn’t want me to keep quiet. He has placed used my experiences to bring Him glory. To show to others his mercy.
God is alive and He working. He is a healer and longs for each and every one of us to live in relationship with Him; even those of us who feel fearful, sinful, ashamed or weak. He loves us and is waiting with arms wide open for you. For me.
Don’t ever feel like you are too dirty, too sinful, too much or too little for God. He will use everything you have experienced to bring his Kingdom here to Earth.