Singer for indie electro-pop band Monarch Brennan Strawn shares his journey from depression to new life
You wouldn't know it on the outside; but I spent the last 20 years of my life as an addict, liar, cheat, and a fraud.
Nothing fixed me – not religion, therapy, marriage, women, success, friends, alcohol, drugs, books, church ... you name it, I tried it and failed.
After finally coming to my senses, I saw how my behaviour had affected the people around me, especially a year after my divorce.
That's when I realised I was unable to change, and I had absolutely no integrity left in me.
The depression was so intense that breathing became a chore. Every breath felt like one more exhausting moment that was forcing me to continue existing.
So in August I tried hanging myself.*When the weight of my body broke the rope, I collapsed to the floor in tears in the realisation that my life had come to this.
After my failed attempt, I wondered around Hollywood Boulevard reflecting on my life.
I began looking back on all the things I had done and cared so much about and couldn't stop crying. The shame and guilt were overwhelming.
All the while something in the back of my mind was telling me that I wasn't alone, that even in the moment when I was hanging from my door of my apartment someone was holding up my feet ... someone wanted that rope to break.
I used to sing in churches and had been uninterested in religion and the church for quite some time for reasons now I'm not sure of but I felt something telling me to go to Mosaic [church] that night.
It's a non-denominational church I often walked by on the way to the gym and thought was super pretentious and not my scene at all.
“I felt loved and forgiven for the first time in 20 years”That night I went for some reason. I sat down with my arms crossed hating every moment but slowly started sensing my guard coming down; and I was letting in this beautiful message of love and forgiveness into my heart.
After it was over, a woman saw me crying and asked to pray for me.
After she prayed for me something filled my body with an intensity that can only be described as a rushing energy which started at my feet and reached the top of my head.
I was standing there speechless. In that moment I saw my heart the way God sees my heart.
I saw how much He was grieving for me, that He wasn't disappointed in me but instead was running to me and longing to just be with me and take all of the depression, shame and guilt away.
I felt loved and forgiven for the first time in 20 years.
He took it all away. All of the pain, all of the things that I had done and the people I had hurt, He took it all.
Now I am filled with joy and love that I never knew existed.
Where I once only thought about myself and what was gonna make me happy, now God has completely shifted my way of thinking.
I'm no longer a liar and an addict. I'm no longer consumed by fame and sex. I have been delivered from 20 years of addiction in one instant.
Looking back now months later it still shocks me that I was living my own way for so long and was so incredibly lost.
Running around in circles chasing money, fame, success, and women. All the while so incredibly unhappy and depressed.
It's very popular in Los Angeles to go your own path and find your inner peace. I can say now that I lived that way and it put a rope around my neck.
Once I realised life was not about me, everything became clear.
If that LA mentality is something you're tired of, if you feel empty inside or maybe indifferent, or you have suffered with depression to the point of suicide like me, know this: He's thinking of you, He's crying over what you're crying over.
God cares about the things you care and worry about. He wants so desperately to hold you, bless you, love you, and bring you joy that is not comparable to anything that comes from this world.
I'm so happy many of you get to know the real me now and not just the memory of another victim of suicide.•