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Hi. My name is Serena, I’m eighteen years old and this is my story.
Growing up in an average middle class American family, you could say I had my share of troubles. I went to a public high school, had my group of friends that my parents did not like, but the one thing I did not have, was whatever I wanted. I guess now that I look back on that, it was a good thing. I had to work for what I wanted. My parents would rarely let me do whatever I wanted to do. They were super strict and, in all honesty, I did not like it. I wanted to do what I thought was best for me. I would skip class and say I was doing something when I was really doing something else. I would tell my parents that I was studying with friends when I was really partying. I would do anything that would get me a popular reputation at school. I would steal, do drugs, party every night, you name it, I would do it. Yet, I was still an all star volleyball player. The coaches didn’t want to say anything because I was their best. I was the best at my job, I would help any customer in any way I could. I had the leading roles in any play I was in. I put my heart and soul into what I knew I was good at.
That was until my Senior year in high school. Worst year of my life. That year, I got diagnosed with Lymphatic Leukemia, Stage III. I was mad. I was more than mad. I couldn’t do anything. Life was a daily challenge for me. I had volleyball, plays, and even my job. My family never went to church. I had no clue who God was. To me, God was just a fairy tale. He did not exist. Nor was He ever going to exist in my book. That was until my parents decided to take our family to New Life Church. New Life Church is a mega church. They thought that maybe if anyone was going to change, it was me. They wanted me to change my ways. They basically forced me to go. My parents wouldn’t let me make my own choices. They thought that this was what was best for me. I fought hard against going. I would go to a friend's house so I wouldn’t have to go. Some days, I wouldn’t even go home. I was so against it, I didn’t even want to go to the doctor. I didn’t want to do my treatments. I didn't want to hang out with friends. I didn't even want to talk to people. I would just lay in bed and slowly watch my life fade away into darkness. One Sunday, my parents finally convinced me to go with them. As much as I didn't want to, I decided to go.
The sermon was on depression and how to overcome it. The preacher said that many people who suffer from depression, don't know Christ as their Savior and think there is no hope for them. The passage that he read from was Psalm 55. Somedays I wonder if God put that passage on the pastor's heart to speak about that morning. Like David, I felt betrayed by everything. I was also afraid, and because I didn't know God, I had no reason to cry out to Him like David did. When we got home, I researched the history behind the Psalm and studied it thoroughly. There are many theories on who tried to betray David. It could've been a number of people. I just felt betrayed by everything and everyone. Little did I know that going to church that day changed my life.
I would start wanting to do things in life. I would hang out with people I would meet at youth group and my family. I would want to try at school and go to the doctor. I actually asked my parents to buy me a Bible. The more I read, the more I wanted to know, the more I wanted to know, the more I would go to church and youth group. Not only was the pastor accepting, but also the kids at youth group. One of the kids, Ajax, was the first one to come up to me. He wasn't your average teenage churchgoer. He was kind of like some of my old friends before I got diagnosed. The only difference was that he actually cared. He knew what I was going through, which was great. He knew what kind of battle depression was and how it affected you. Slowly I started to get better. I would go out and do things with the youth group, I would have more energy, I would want to do things with my family. I wouldn't just want to lay in bed all day sleeping.
I went to the doctor one afternoon for a checkup and he gave me the most amazing news ever!! I was winning my battle!! I had to tell someone, so I called Ajax up and told him. We went out and celebrated that night with the whole youth group. We had a blast. We went out to the carnival in town and just had the best of time. When I got home though, I thought that maybe I shouldn't have done so much...I was so tired. It hurt to breath and I didn't know what to do. I told my mom who immediately took me to the ER and explained the whole thing to the doctors there. They rushed me into an MRI scan to see if my lymph nodes had swollen or what was going on. All I could think was God, why would you let me be beating my battle only to have this happen. Please help me see Your plan. I can't fight this without you...After the doctors got what they needed, I had to call Ajax and tell him what was going on. I didn't know what would happen but he actually got a whole bunch of people to come down to the ER with him and circle around me and pray for me and for the test results to be negative and everything to be fine with me. My parents and I didn't know what to do. We were all in the middle of the circle crying by the time they were done. I felt peace during the whole ordeal that was going on. I felt like God was in control. That was until I woke up in the hospital bed with IV's all over my arms and my parents were crying telling me everything was going to be ok. Little did anyone know that I had made my peace with God and was ready to go home.
Little did anyone know that I was dead.