Vacuuming the pain away

Hannah Denham’s eyes are bright and she smiles bravely as she tells her story

FILE PHOTO

"For the past five years I've been struggling with depression and I've actually tried to kill myself five times.

"I was molested when I was little. I've been molested four times throughout my whole life.

"I struggled with anorexia in high school because my brother used to verbally abuse me. That was really hard to work through. Overcoming anorexia is like ... insane."

Picking at fingernails covered in a coat of heavily chipped black nail polish, Hannah explains the last year of her depression was particularly bad.

She missed school and generally refused to leave her room, she spent nights unable to sleep and days wishing more than anything she could sleep so she "wouldn't have to feel anything."

After her fifth suicide attempt, which she had fully intended to be her last, she was jolted awake. She needed help, she realized, and asked her parents to send her to a mental hospital.

"I spent a week there and it changed a lot," she shares.

"But I was still so mad at God because if there was this person that was so powerful He could do anything, then He could have stopped what had happened to me."

Hannah's sister explained to her all the bad that had happened was not because of God, but because of people's choices and because we live in an imperfect world.

Still, she had to let her anger towards God go and once she did, she was able to welcome Him into her life and watch as it transformed.

"I was standing in church one day and singing to God, and I could feel Him all around me. I felt like He put this vacuum in my heart and He was sucking out the pain and sorrow — everything that had ever happened was getting sucked out of my body," she says.

"The devil used to have so much control over my life with fear because I always felt I had demons around me trying to eat away at me. I could feel those demons getting rebuked, and it was the most amazing feeling in the world."

The next step for Hannah was getting baptized. She remembers a baptism service at her church where she turned to her friend and said, "I feel like God is telling me this is the first place I'm going to tell my story."

As the pastor stopped the service for someone in the audience he felt needed to be baptized that day, Hannah and her friend looked at each other in disbelief.

"Getting baptized is a symbol of dedicating my entire life to [God]," she explains. "Because saying it is one thing, but showing it by getting baptized is so different."

"I love being around people now. I just want to keep getting closer with God."

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