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I Am Not Enough

by Anonymous

Being able to help others with the pain we've gone through turns that pain 
into purpose.
When that happens, it takes away some of that pains power and grip over 
your life.
Share it enough, and that pain turns into Joy, with God's help.

But the calls are not out of malicious intent.
They are simply the voices caught in the wind,
Left behind in a dark room,
Fighting for a life to live.

 

I have chosen to remain anonymous because the true story I am about to tell 
you is not about me,
But rather, it is about the hope, joy and connection found within the story 
that matters. 



I understand that some parts may be triggering or difficult to read, however, 
I urge you greatly to finish this paper because I needed to tell you how far I 
fell to show how far I have come. 

 


Not by my own strength or power, but by a Power Greater than myself. 
This Power is granted to you as well if you choose to accept it. 

Who we are is not the experiences we have in life.


          After graduating from high school, I attended a college in Kansas on a baseball scholarship. While cherishing my new chapter, I had no idea I would become an entirely different person in the following two years. Life has the tendency of having its own plan. My first friend at college was an aspiring drug dealer. It was strange how my judgments and choices got influenced. The people drawn to him by a desire to be in his presence or acquire some aspect of his success impressed me more than the usual social interactions I experienced. I am reminded of an old saying while I reminisce:
Show me your closest five friends, and I will show you who you are.
          During therapy, I discovered that my desire to become a drug dealer was founded in the belief that I was not enough. It astounded me to realize that I had created a character in my subconscious, one that I purposefully acted out without realizing the source of my destructive conduct, not only for myself, but also for everyone around me. Therapy taught me the flaws in my thought processes, as well as the harmful emotional reactions and coping methods I retained from the past. While I came to value self-awareness and introspection, I also realized that I could no longer ignore the negative patterns of behavior I had developed.
          My buddy was arrested three months into the school year, but somehow, I still managed to maintain the company after he left. That sort of affirmation was crucial for me since I never felt appreciated by my high school peers. I have never felt like I belonged; and if I couldn't get people to like me for who I am, then at least I could manipulate them like me through my possessions. 
          I came to the unsettling revelation that I no longer knew who I was or how I had evolved into the person I saw reflected in the mirror. One early morning, my roommate and I were awoken at 4:00 a.m. by a frightening guy twice my age who claimed that I was interfering with his business. My roommate and I decided to go a more sinister path to solve this issue.  

          I felt even less deserving of altering my identity to I am enough after realizing in therapy that I had built it on the derogatory notion that I am not enough. After all, I was the only one who could change my identity. A therapist provided me with a list of positive affirmations, such as I am enough, and I deserve to be happy, to repeat to myself a hundred times every day to counteract the number of times that I unconsciously told myself the contrary. Without recognizing it, I had spent my whole life clinging to an identity that led to my self-destruction. I succumbed to the negative and caustic voice in my brain, which disparaged me at every opportunity, until I discovered a means to diminish the influence of these ideas. Yet, labeling these negative ideas neg and engaging in an internal dialogue with neg proved to be a therapeutically beneficial activity. 

If you wouldn't say it to your friends, why say it to yourself? – I told myself. 

          After opting to pursue the darker route, I knew that a good future was no longer offered for me. By the grace of God, we could not find the man, our target, whom we intended to carry out the plan. I re-entered my duplex that fateful night by walking twenty steps through the front entrance. I turned left into the master bedroom, and then the bathroom. I shut each door as I passed through it, made a 90-degree turn to the left upon entering the bathroom, and then regarded myself in the mirror. A pale skeleton was looking back at me. The drugs had skeletonized my face and hollowed out my eyes as I did not adhere to the adage, don’t get high on your own supply. My medium-sized apparel draped over me as if I were an inadequately clothed mannequin, but I was most horrified by what I saw when I looked into my own eyes. All I saw was an empty shell, just a little miniscule fragment of who I truly was concealed in the recesses of my own eyes.  

Who we are is not the experiences we have in life. 

I was unaware that I held a great deal of unresolved emotional baggage until I was seated across from many therapists. A remark from Auschwitz concentration camp survivor Viktor E. Frankl that has kept with me since therapy: When a person cannot find a deep sense of meaning, they distract themselves with pleasure. Yet even though I was admitted to treatment for reasons unrelated to my experience as a drug dealer, I was informed of the unconscious motivations behind my pursuit of that lifestyle by therapists; and as therapists asked me questions that I had never thought to ask myself, I began to examine the reasons for my behavior. 

          When I moved back in with my parents, my behavior and purpose altered significantly back to my former lifestyle. My mother was a member of the Children's Ministry staff, and when I was little, she would bring me to the Saturday evening services to assist. I would also attend the Sunday services. In addition to volunteering at a church, I attended a Christian private school from 7th to 12th grade owing to the bullying I endured from 2nd to 6th grade. I was nurtured in a traditional and religious household where we regularly attended church and where my private school also required three weekly Bible study sessions and one chapel service a week. My junior year in high school was a time of profound personal growth as a result of this stimulus. I felt like I was losing out on a whole new way of life in which I had complete control. As I felt that all I was learning were rules and regulations from the religion of Christianity, and I rebelled against my upbringing by exploring acts of deviance rather than conformity. When I was 15, I obtained a job in the church's audio/visual department after volunteering there, I rationalized that since I had to go to church anyhow, I may as well be paid for it. The bulk of my high school earnings were (wisely) put into savings by direction of my parents; but then I used those funds to raise my standard of living in Kansas. When I was on my own, and made my own financial decisions, I lost all self-control. 

          In therapy, I realized that since I never felt like I was enough or that I measured up to others’ expectations, and I pursued pleasure as a means of escaping the very identity I had created for myself. I went into therapy without being aware of these deeper patterns of thought. The training in mindfulness and the practice of being in the present moment were the means through which I acquired these capacities. The mindfulness journey, I realized, was a precursor to peace. My doubts and animosity melted away when I consistently practiced mindfulness. Before I started practicing mindfulness, I let my past sorrow and future worries overtake me. Meditation and other types of psychoeducation assist individuals in focusing on the present moment, rather than obsessing on the past or the future. However, since the awareness muscle is weak and has not been trained before, any first attempt will seem futile. Consistency is crucial, just as it would be for someone starting their first exercise in a gym; no one expects to observe major bodily changes after the first day, and the same is true for mindfulness practice. 

 

† 

          Upon returning from Kansas, I was overwhelmed with remorse. Notable is the following contrast between guilt and shame: Guilt is the emotion of remorse for one's actions, while shame is the perception that one's actions have caused negative consequences toward who they are. The difference between shame and guilt is that shame becomes a part of one's identity, but guilt is a learning experience and lesson on how to avoid repeating the same mistake in the future.  

          When I pursued my own pleasures and objectives, I became a stranger to myself, therefore I decided to return to the foundation of my religious childhood memories. I began to feel the need to make amends for my behavior in Kansas, so I voluntarily returned to the religion of Christianity.  

          Because our behavior and thoughts stem from the identity we adopt, counseling has taught me that we must be mindful of where we place our identity and purpose. I discovered more about myself by asking why regarding my own behavior. The majority of the time, my answer to the therapist's "why" inquiry was "I don't know," which was unhelpful. So, I was invited to speculate as to why, and we would analyze whether or not my suggestion rang true. Yet, more often than not, my assessment was how I regarded myself; I just avoided acknowledging it since it meant I had to work harder to improve my image of myself. 

          As a leader and volunteer, I quickly got involved in church services and discipleship programs. I believed that my experiences would help others understand the perils of chasing one's own pleasure, and I hoped that at least one person would be able to avoid making the same mistakes I did. In the autumn of 2019, I changed my major and transferred to Texas Wesleyan. I had fully embraced the religion of Christianity, expecting that rededicating my life to the Lord and according to His values would result in only good things happening in my life, since bad things don't happen to good people... right?  

          I had no clue that the years that followed my time in Kansas would provide me with an even greater life lesson. 

          The foundation of one's ideas, feelings, and thinking is their identity. When asked Who are you?, one's own identity is the response. Intention and drive stem from a sense of purpose. The answer to the question Why do you do what you do? is one's own purpose. An individual's conduct and activities are motivated by their identity and purpose. These are vital questions, however they are seldom asked or pondered until a catastrophe interrupts one's reality to the point that the only option is to sink into despair and contemplate suicide.

___________________________________________________________ 

I would like to take a moment out of this writing to ask you, the reader –  

Have you ever taken a moment to reflect on who you are and what your purpose is? 

An important consideration to make is to know that if your identity rests in a label or role you have such as a son, daughter, student, or professor, then allow me to pose the following questions: 

 

-What happens if you are no longer in that position or have that label? 

-What if you are fired or retire and no longer work in that position? 

-What happens if a loved one dies, and the label of husband or wife is no longer yours according to societal definitions? 

 

These profoundly intellectual and perceptive inquiries are instruments for self-discovery. I hope you have decided to engage in this intellectual activity. Let's return to the story. 

_______________________________________________________________ 

 

          On September 13, 2019, I reached the lowest point of my religious self-righteousness. I was left standing in the wreckage of my prior foundation of purpose and identity, uncertain of which way was up.  

          At the age of 15, I was employed to manage audio-visual at the church I attended by someone I considered a friend. About four years later, when he – my former employer and his fiancé relocated to California, I continued to serve the church. Once I turned 21 in 2019, he came to town for various occasions, and we had a few dinners and lunches together. 

          Throughout therapy, I sought objective truth about my identity. I needed 

to comprehend my identity, which was independent of my emotions, thoughts, and experiences, and instead was founded on a universally held objective reality; despite the fact that we are all human and bleed red blood, I needed my identity to transcend biological similarity and classification.  

          I discovered my answer via meditation after a year and a half of mixing residential therapy centers, six journals filled with notes and thoughts, many books read, and innumerable meetings with therapists. The psychological study of intrusive thoughts illustrates this principle: who we are is not determined by our ideas. Hence, if intrusive thoughts are not who we are, neither are our thoughts in general, since where would the boundary be drawn? Every thought is only an instrument that our awareness uses to traverse existence. 

_____________________________________________________________ 

 

The awareness underlying one's thoughts and emotions is where they find worldly identity. To show what this implies in practice, I'd love to walk you through a thought experiment. 

For this specific exercise, you will not need physical vision, but your imagination. 

 

-Imagine, with the closure of eyes, writing the sequence of numbers from 1-10 on a whiteboard, and the process of writing and erasing them. 

-Next, try to see yourself writing your own  thoughts on that whiteboard as they enter your head and erasing them as they leave. 

-Answer the following question after this thought experiment: Who is writing those thoughts on the whiteboard? 

If the response is – Well, I am – then the thought experiment has succeeded. Since it practically proves that who we are is not our thoughts, which we can perceive in our imagination. 

_____________________________________________________________

 

          In the week prior to Friday-the-thirteenth of September 2019, I dined with the former employer. During the conversation, he revealed that their engagement was unfulfilling owing to the fiancé's constant work travel. As a result of his loneliness, he committed adultery with several other lovers. Incredulous, I took the only course of action I felt was morally justifiable. I told him that he needed to tell his fiancé about his infidelity and start to mend the relationship by addressing the underlying issues. He indicated he would consider it. 

          I contacted him two days later, on the day he planned to cheat on his fiancée. He indicated that he did not follow through with his plan. He then asked if I wanted to go out to dinner on Friday the 13th, to which I answered that I didn't have the money for dinner, but I would still love to meet up and talk. I gladly accepted his invitation. He told me that he would pay for dinner when we met at the restaurant. After five hours, two restaurants, and too much alcohol, he told me that we could spend the night where he was staying and return in the morning to get my car. Trusting him in my drunken state, he drove us back to where he was staying. The date of September 13, 2019 will never leave my mind. 

 

† 

Who we are is not determined by the feelings we experience; for if we declare, I am depressed, then depression becomes a part of our identity. Depression is simply an emotion, not something to identify with, because once it becomes a part of our identity, it gets comfortable and we slip into a victim mentality, which, as we know from experience, is a pit that is tough to climb out of. Instead, emotions are only tools for navigating life, and they are not a part of our identity unless we give them that power through our awareness. 

† 

          The night of September 13th, 2019, I experienced a form of betrayal for which I could never have been prepared for. Being objectified and used against my will as a means for one to cheat on their fiancé had left me devastated beyond comprehension. My whole world was turned upside down to the point that I began to contemplate suicide as the only remedy for my dreadful experience. 

Who we are is not the experiences we have in life. 

† 

          My suicidal ideation became an obsession, yet despite this pathological obsession, I was unable to pull the trigger on the pistol I held to my head. I sat on my bed and fiddled with the nine-millimeter handgun I was holding. I would transfer it between my palms and determine whether it was loaded as opposed to empty. I inserted the fully loaded magazine into the weapon and then repeatedly cycled the rounds through until the last bullet. When I was down to my final bullet, I would violate all gun safety precautions and look down the barrel. I did this about 4 times, and the last time I cycled all the rounds through the pistol, I placed the weapon on my temple and had my finger on the trigger. But before my left index finger could contract by less than a sixteenth of an inch, the words of my father repeated in my mind. Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary issue, and it does not relieve suffering; rather, it passes that anguish to others who love you. 

† 

 

          Even after realizing that I am not my thoughts or feelings, and despite the knowledge I gained in therapy and the support of my family, I found no comfort from the despair I was experiencing. I still believed that my emotions, ideas, and experiences defined me. During this process, I lashed out at everyone who loved me and caused a great deal of suffering for those who were attempting to help me. I ultimately informed my parents a few weeks after September 13th because I could no longer endure the shame or suicidal thoughts. Despite the trauma I had previously caused my family during my years in Kansas, they encircled me with unconditional love and support for which I will be eternally thankful. They gave me the chance to begin residential therapy at several trauma recovery institutes for the next two years.  

† 

          I was expelled from the last rehabilitation facility I attended in January of 2021 for noncompliance. Thus began a six-month fall into despair, during which the only joy I could find was in watching the newest television series. When I finally got sick and tired of being sick and tired in June of 2021, I planned to go to the upper peninsula of Michigan to see my grandparents and isolate at the deer lodge my grandfather owns so that I might reclaim some sense of control over my life.  

† 

          On August 4, 2021, I made the connection that altered the course of my life. Up until this point in my life, I believed in religion of Christianity. I believed in a deity that behaved more like a genie than a God. My faith in the Supreme Being of Creation was transactional, and I believed that if I performed more actions that pleased Him, I would be rewarded with worldly prosperity. How much I have subsequently learned. Spirituality cannot be found in the laws and customs that characterize a particular religion. Spirituality is discovered through a connection with the Creator of All Things. 

          On that night, I was plagued with intrusive suicidal thoughts, and for the first time I prayed to the Power greater than myself to accomplish for me what I could not do in my own abilities. Earlier that day, I had purchased a second handgun, having sold the first to my father after beginning residential therapy. 

          As I returned home with the gun, the intrusive idea that flooded my mind was from neg and it was simply, Just Shoot Yourself, It's So Simple Now. Yet, I was aware that I did not want to, so I went to the teachings and tools that I had acquired in therapy. I walked to my room's bookshelves and retrieved the notes I used to deal with these bothersome ideas. I used cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, and mindfulness practices. The nagging ideas of neg could not be silenced by anything. Nothing I did or was able to do prevented this intrusive thought from continually recurring in my thoughts. After three hours, I felt irritated and helpless in my ability to modify my own thinking. 

          So instead, 

          I decided to pray, something I hadn't done in over a year. I went to my knees on my bed, played some gentle praise music in the background and bent my head in honest and heartfelt prayer to The Creator Of The Universe. I prayed to the Lord to erase my suicidal thoughts since I was unable to do so on my own. I talked out loud to drown out my thoughts so that I could concentrate on the words I was saying rather than the thoughts I was having.  

          I began to hear God's replies to my prayers in the background worship music after three hours of praying. The silent tears streamed down my cheeks like a leaky faucet. At the sixth hour, about 2:30 a.m., I felt my heart humbly turn toward God in my chest. I felt my identity shift and heard the Lord say – Finally, you are entrusting your suffering to the One Who Can Transform It for Good. 

          The knowledge I gained in therapy paled in comparison to the benefit of understanding that I am not in control, nor do I need to be, since the One Who Created Me is Good and Loving. The ability to transform evil into good does not reside in me, but rather in the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and myself. 

† 

          I felt I could conquer this difficulty in my life via my own strength by obtaining insight into myself through counseling. I believed that obtaining objective truth according to the standards of the world would be the key to my comfort, but the only rest I would find was in the One Who died for my sins on the cross and declared in Matthew 11:28, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." My confidence that I could tackle this challenge on my own was intrinsically prideful; and as I humbly acknowledged to The Creator in prayer that I could no longer fight suicidal thoughts on my own, He freed me of the despair and suicidal thoughts I had so strongly connected with by giving me the understanding of my True spiritual identity and purpose. The only identity and purpose that matter.

 

† 

          For individuals who believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, one's identity is decided by the God Who Created them and not by any power or trait of this world. "He declares that you are fearfully and wonderfully made" (Psalm 139:14), and regardless of what any worldly power, including one's own thoughts or emotions, says, it will never be more powerful than the Word Of The God Who Created All Things; because the Creator is the One Who determines what His Creation is. For instance, for the whole of human history, any individual who made or discovered something new was responsible for naming it. The invention or discovery did not give itself a name. This also applies to God, Who created everything in the universe. In the beginning, there was the Word, which was with God and was God. He was with God at the beginning. "Without Him, not a single thing could have been created" (John 1:1).  

          Having a relationship with God, who sent His one and only Son to live a Righteous and Perfect life and then die on a cross for everyone else's imperfection, was the key to my deliverance from the suffering and pain of this world. Because I am aware that when my time comes to be in the Presence of The Creator, I will enjoy a life much more superior to the one I am now living. "For God did not bring His Son into the world in order to condemn it but came to save the world through Him" (John 3:17). 

 

† 

          The Lord’s purpose in creating us is to Love us. Unconditional Love is the objective of an individual's connection with Jesus Christ. Understanding and knowing in depth what it means to experience and feel the Unconditional Love of God, and then sharing that Love with others to the best of our ability. This is what it means to be a Christian disciple and follower.  

          The last time I saw the guy who sexually attacked me was on March 3, 2023, at the restaurant where I regularly dine on my Friday work route. Contextually, I have consulted with attorneys and a detective about filing charges, but I have come to the realization that this is not a feasible option. 

          Sitting at my usual seat at my usual restaurant on that Friday at about noon, I had already had most of my meal when I saw a man who seemed hauntingly familiar cross my eyesight. I did not do a double take; rather, I gazed at this guy until he turned and met my glare after taking his seat. 

          It was him.  

          My heart pulsed at a million miles per hour. I saw that my hands had tightened into fists and that the rage rising inside me had caused the veins on my arms to protrude through the skin. I felt as if I had a temperature of 105 degrees, and I became solely focused on visualizing the next steps I might take. I listened to the voice of neg (evil) and pictured several violent actions I might do against the individual who had wronged me. In that moment though, I heard a small whisper, a faint and delicate thought that said, Ask your support team to pray, something I did not want to do. I wanted to indulge in the idea of having this man's exterior reflect how I had felt on the inside for nearly two years. Despite my feelings and thoughts of neg, I texted my family, and God told me through my sister that I needed to leave immediately. 

 

Who we are is not the experiences we have in life. 

I struggled.  I was reluctant to go. I wanted to rise from my seat, walk the twenty-five feet in his direction, and strike his left temple with my right elbow as a start to what I would do. Regardless, twenty-eight minutes after sending my initial text message to my support team, I exited the restaurant. I stood up (after paying my bill) turned around and walked to my work vehicle through the exit. Neg became quiet. I walked the distance between the restaurant and my work vehicle in total tears, despite the fact that the only thought in my head was, He no longer has any influence over me, and the Just and  

Righteous Creator Of All will judge him in the next life much more accurately than I ever could in this one. I had no clue he was back in town and not in California at the time, but despite the emotions I felt and the ideas that ran through my head, I was given the courage and strength by the Power of God to walk away. I felt a sense liberation from the grip that monster had on my life while I walked to my work truck.  

 

† 

          Instead of relying on my own strength, I relied on the power of the Creator, which prevented me from making a choice that would have landed me in prison. A few days later, I met with my pastor. 

          "He never looked at you again after the first time he made eye contact, did he?" My pastor asked. 

          "No, but I believe that is because he did not recognize me," I slowly replied. 

          My pastor answered, "He knew you; he simply couldn't look at you again because he knew what he had done." I was speechless, but I knew in my heart it was true. 

          The thought Share My Light with everyone and demonstrate that regardless of your circumstances, I am a Good God who loves everyone, then came into my mind.  

 

† 

 

          Following Christ is not equivalent to the religion Christianity can be. Following Christ is about a relationship and connection with the Creator, rather than a religion of rules and works. It is not about piety and condemnation; rather, it is about meek surrender and accepting God's grace and the identity He grants to those who follow Him. This Truth is a gift that is available to everybody. All that is necessary is an acknowledgment and confession that one is sinful ("imperfect") and that Jesus Christ, who was and is perfect, was sent to offer us His righteousness and demonstrate what it is to Love God and Love one another. Relying on the Sovereign Power of Christ in a relationship rather than my own power over my circumstances.  

This relationship determines who I am. 

This is the connection that has transformed my life. 

 

The question now is: 

Will this connection transform your life as it transformed mine? 

 

This gift of a new identity is open to all. 

The choice is now yours. 

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