Today’s guest is Kim Levings. Have you ever been in a place in life where you lost all hope? More people than we realize struggle with depression and suicidal thoughts every day. Not only did Kim attempt suicide twice, but she found hope again. She will be sharing her story in today’s episode.
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SHELLEY. Welcome back to the Broken Crayons Still Color podcast! I’m your host, Shelley Hitz and today’s guest is Kim Levings. Hey! Kim.
KIM. Hi! Shelley
SHELLEY. I’m so excited to have you on not only you a dear friend and an amazing person but God has done some really incredible things in your life, and I’m really excited for everyone to hear your story.
KIM. Great, thanks Shelley.
SHELLEY. So, I want to ask you today for those of you listening. Have you ever been in a place in life where you lost all hope? More people than we realized struggle with depression and even suicidal thoughts everyday. And I have people that email me and talked to me about this so I know that this is a very real thing. And not only did Kim attempt suicide twice but she found hope again. So she’ll be sharing her story in today’s episode and I pray that it blesses each one of you.
So just starting out Kim, what did the broken crayons look like in your life?
KIM. Well Shelley, it’s interesting because when I think of my only childhood and even into my tween years, I think of as a perfect box of crayons, you know filled with,
SHELLEY. Oh! Wow
KIM. all the, you know all the colors of the rainbows. I had a happy family life, we went to church every Sunday, I love school, I enjoyed sports and life has just wonderful. I also decided to be a teacher when I graduated and went in to the local university, but it was right around when I was about 18 my parents divorced after 25 years of marriage.
KIM. And what I had seen as my foundation just fell apart, and, so when I think of broken crayons it was like somebody took that pack of crayons and smashed them on the floor.
SHELLEY. Oh, wow
KIM. And at the time my sisters were travelling overseas and to be honest I can’t remember how long they were gone but I know that in those initial months of the separations between my parents it was really up to me to kind of run the household, I was going to school at night, still hold on a job and then trying to visit my mother in the apartment where she was staying.
KIM. And I just kind of wanted to doing what I needed to do but I, now in retrospect know that I really did not stop enough for self care and as a result my life continues just to spiral ahead, left the church, I thinking retrospect I felt that God had let me down. And at the time it was the beginnings of a depression but I didn’t realize that, and I found every other way to try instead of assure m y fears and feel better about myself which of course involved a lot of wild living and you know drinking, smoking, sleeping around, you name I did it. I did everything possible to try and instead of heal the wound and to hide my problems, and interestingly during those years I was also very, doing very well at my job. So whatever I was doing outside of work I hided most times, very well.
SHELLEY. Oh, wow
KIM. So I had just kind of the dichotomy of lifestyle going on.
SHELLEY. Yes, so you were like leaving a double life in some ways.
KIM. I really was, you know people at work said no idea but at the time but at the time of course I moved away from church and I had sort of lost my radar and I think it’s a great example of what happens when you start spiraling and you don’t ask for help. So in a way holding it all together and using my career as an outlet and a new form of identity was just one more mistake that I make.
SHELLEY. Wow. Yeah, and I think so many people can relate to different pieces of your story. I know I felt similar way when my parents divorced as you know, I was older I was an adult but I mean so much of what you’ve already said I know so many people could have relate to. But as you were walking through this time period, what would you say was your lowest point?
KIM. Well, Shelley I think you know all of this happen in my early 20’s and I think I must have been about twenty-two or twenty-three at most. I have moved away from my home city to another city thinking that I would trying start over somewhere else and that didn’t work, and it was when I was living there that I had my first suicide attempt and that’s a long time ago so I can’t exactly remember what drove me over the edge of first time. But after I swallowed a whole bottle of tablets, I believe it’s the most common suicide attempt in women.
KIM. I freaked out and call a friend who rush me to the hospital and of course I went through everything there and they put into mandated psychotherapy for a while and I had to agree to that before they would discharge me, and you know two days later I went back at work, back to work, nobody at work knew what had happened. I saw a therapist for a while but I was able to fool him too, I don’t think the poor guy could ever read any breakthrough with me.
SHELLEY. (LOL) oh no
KIM. Coz’ just you know I just slipped in to my strong self and just convinced him I was fine and it was had a lot of adjustment.
SHELLEY. Oh wow.
KIM. And have it all together but in fact it wasn’t so. My low point came a little later, a few years later I moved back home but which time my both my parents re-married and by then I was about twenty-six. And I moved back in with my father and step-mother, and I had, I had a day were I had a had a lousy performance review and as I said my job was my identity, mistake number two and because of that lousy performance review I was just absolutely devastated.
And that evening I went up to drinks with a married man who had I’d been having an affair with, he was an ex-boss and I’m almost embarrassed remembering all this but keep in mind that I was in a very dark period of my life.
KIM. But I went to meet him and, and he was so delayed for some reason and in those days we don’t have cellphones. So he was a no show and I left the hotel by just destroyed and I remember driving home thinking, my job is awful nobody wants to love me, nobody cares, and I went home and again took several bottles of tablets because by then they had me on the trustee anti-depressants, for you know they think it’s going to fix everything. So I took all these pills but this time I didn’t make a call for help.
KIM. I left a note come in to bed and I woke up much later and I don’t have an if there was one day or two days or even three, nobody’s told me.
KIM. But I was in the hospital and I had almost succeeded that time and my stepmother had found me when I didn’t get up for work in the morning and she had raised me to the hospital but that I would say was my darkness point.
SHELLEY. Oh my
KIM. You know just, I can’t believe it when I put myself back in that place but in a way I can because I think when you are in a dark hole and you have an absolute hopelessness about you, you can’t think any other way.
KIM. You just think there is no way out. So when people, when I hear stories today about people of others succeeding committing suicide or attempted and I listen to people’s reactions to them my heart goes out to them because I always say you know, you have to walk that journey to fully understand that depression and to get your arms around just what a debilitating disease depression is.
SHELLEY. Yeah, and there’s so many misconceptions and there’s so much judgement I think are around this whole topic so I’m really glad that you said that because I just want people to feel free, you know freed from that judgement. We all have different journey, we all have a different path and you know things ended up turning out differently for you and obviously God was not finish with you, you know.
KIM. No (LOL)
SHELLEY. I mean you were close, that is, that is just amazing that, that you you know you survived that. What would you say would have been the turning point?
KIM. Well, you know Shelley it’s interesting to say that because yeah, I think sometimes to those dark years and I was now I’m aware of just how He sent his angels to protect me coz’ the situation I got myself into but let me get to the question, the turning point for me was when I woke up to that hospital bed and I saw the look of pain on my family’s faces I realized that there have to be a better way to live and you know recently I heard a story on from Leo’s brown on one of his tapes he was also talking about a man who had also a fail at a suicide attempt but his, that man had said that God said to him “it wasn’t your life to take” and when I listen to that I wept, I still weep when I read that because I finally realized the same thing that God was not done with me.
KIM. And there had to be a better way and it was almost like He sort of grab hold my heart and I went home determined this time to get my life on track and was the turning point. I also was blessed to have a wonderful psychotherapist who wasn’t a question but she was just very able. I was also welcomed back at work with forgiveness and grace, there was no judgement.
SHELLEY. Oh good
KIM. My family agreed to go to various meetings with the therapist we could get to the bottom of the root of my depression. She started treating me for the depression and I was open, so it worked. I start to put my life back together and then funny enough and I laugh now at that time I didn’t laugh it was like 9 or 12 months later that I ended up falling pregnant.
SHELLEY. Oh wow
KIM. I hadn’t sort of that part of my life apparently. But I went dating again and I was still off of all medication post the episode I had gone through so and to this day I’m always afraid of medication but anyway I fell pregnant which was not the greatest at that time but now I think my daughter who is about to turned 31, and she’s extremely happy
KIM. But here’s what happen to me from a Christian perspective. I went to church the Sunday night of I had discover I was pregnant and of course I was really in a bad way, And the pastor of this church was the same pastor who had married both my sisters and my mother in her second marriage and he just gave me the biggest bear hug ever when he saw at the back of the church was an Irish man and he said “hello ma’am” he said” you and I have some things to talk about later. “And I met with him later at his study after worship. And of course I was a mess I couldn’t stop crying and he said to me, he said “you are experiencing the grace and compassion of Jesus right now.”
KIM. He said “a year ago you try to take your own life and God has given you one in return.” That was when I came face to face with grace and I discovered the power of forgiveness and from that day to this Shelley I’ve never taken another anti-depressant.
KIM. I found my purpose in life and you know I’ve realized and I hope teach others now because I’ve discovered my purpose that God has redeemed this in me and my role is to hope equip others to live a life they would destined to live and to claim who they are and one of the key lessons I teach in my coaching is how your true identity is not your job, your relationships, so anything external. Your true identity goes down to your intrinsic value of who does God see in you. So.
SHELLEY. And you’ve learned that the hard way, the deep way.
SHELLEY. The walking through the dark times and you have learned things through experience. And so if you could give one piece of advice or encouragement I know you are an amazing coach you have a ton of advice and encouragement you could give but, if you could just pick one what would it be?
KIM. You know Shelley, I would have to say besides that you know do not linked your identity to anything outside of your intrinsic God value that’s critical but the other point is even if you are in your darkness moment, no matter where you are if you were experiencing depression make sure you ask for help. There is no shame in admitting that you have these thoughts, that you’re in a dark hole that you feel hopeless. Depression I said earlier is a debilitating disease but we have a God is able and a God who loves us more than we could ever imagine.
So if you suffer from depression you can’t possibly fight it on your own you, you need the professional help but you also need to have the support of a community around you but most of all combine it with the life of faith and really letting God ministry to you and not feeling you have to hide it from Him, just trust Him with that.
SHELLEY. Yes, I love that and I love that encouragement. Do you have a scripture that has meant a lot to you throughout these years and that you would like to share with us?
KIM. Oh so many, so many, you know I think that the one that, that really comes to mind and forgive me I’m not sure what chapter and verse it is but it’s in Isaiah, it’s possibly Isaiah 55 where He said you know I’m bringing forth a new thing, do you not received it, that out of the ashes He will make something good and He had a purpose in me all along. Who knew that I end up a coach and a trainer in the US.
KIM. Miles miles away from home. Everything He has done in my life He has redeemed to my purpose.
SHELLEY. Wow, I love that. And you know if listeners want to contact you, how can they reach you?
KIM. Well I have a website and it’s actually at rethinkyou.com. And rethinkyou is my brand for individual work mainly because coming from my own list and that wherever you go there you are. So if you’re not happy with your life you need to rethink you because you are the common denominator. So my email is on the website and people are free to contact me there.
SHELLEY. I love that, and you know as we’ve been listening to your story and as we’ve been just inspired with what God has done in your life it truly reminds me that God can turn our messes into masterpieces.
KIM. Absolutely Shelley. Everything He’s done as it is redeemed in my life and what I am now is a masterpiece and that’s what He sees in me.
SHELLEY. Well thank you so much for sharing your story today and thank all of you that are listening I just pray that you’ve been encouraged and inspired and you are being filled with hope. Hope that there is something different on the other side. And if you are someone you know has a powerful story to share, I would love to have you on the show. You can apply to be featured on this podcast at shelleyhitz.com/story.
So thanks again for being here with us here today. Thank you, Kim and we’ll see you next time. Bye!
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