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Depression and Porn—My Story

Imagine a massive earthquake on the floor of the ocean near a seaside town. The unseen damage is catastrophic. But later, a visible tsunami wreaks more havoc than its predecessor, ending lives. One hidden event leads to outward disaster.

I was that seaside town. I had no idea how my depression impacted my purity—and vice versa.

I grew up in a large Catholic homeschooling family with loving parents who were close to us and each other. I enjoyed serving Mass and learning about my Faith, until around the age of twelve.

During my pre-teen years, my feelings, thoughts, and actions began to change due to what I now know was Major Depressive Disorder. But I attributed this shift to becoming a teen. I couldn’t feel love anymore, so I decided to secretly rebel to find my true self and ultimate happiness. My worldview twisted irrationally, and I did everything I could to find the joy I lost and to hide my now-painful existence.

I felt the need to be accepted by groups of Catholic guys I thought were cool, but I was taken aback by how openly my newfound “friends” talked about sex, even though my parents were always nearby. Since these teens seemed content, I thought I should imitate them. It made sense to my warped mind.

I began to lie and find ways to be alone on the Internet. Pornography had wormed its way into my heart.

I wanted to know what was so exciting about this sex stuff. It wasn’t easy. My parents were very careful about our exposure to the Internet and required its use in a common area of our home. But every so often, I was able to work around the restrictions.

Each time I committed an impure act with myself, the relief from my pain was short-lived and I began to have overwhelming feelings of guilt and self-hatred. Porn was my “medication,” but it wasn’t working anymore.

I couldn’t feel the grace from the sacrament of reconciliation, and I lacked all contrition. I just wanted to feel love again, but despaired it would never happen. So around the age of fifteen, I began to seriously contemplate suicide, still not realizing that I was battling the medical disease of depression. I decided it was the only way I could be free from my pain and unending darkness.

On December 3, 2012, at age sixteen, I was done. I stole my mom’s 12-seater van. When I saw an SUV approaching in the opposite direction, I accelerated and swerved, elated that I would soon be free.

The 60 mph head-on crash was horrific. Both cars flipped, completely totaled. I wasn’t wearing a seatbelt, but my worst nightmare came true: I survived.

Luke_Maxwell_Van_PicMy only injury was a scratch on my arm. It was a miracle I owe to my Lord, Our Lady of Lourdes, and my Guardian Angel. After being arrested for assault with a deadly weapon and placed in a mental hospital, my parents actively pursued treatment. My family’s been through so much as a result of my actions, but I’m now leading a healthy, happy life. In addition, the man I almost killed survived, thank God, and we’ve become friends.

Pornography and depression were the two seemingly unrelated parts of my life that created a tsunami when they collided.

I now do my best to stay pure, but I will never completely be free of those images. Even one is damaging, especially for someone who’s suffering from a mental illness.

One image.

It was a relief to finally tell my parents everything and be forgiven. They offered me the love I sought so hard to gain from strangers.

If you’re a teen who’s walked into the same trap, tell your parents, even if it seems impossible. They can help you break the addiction and have you assessed for depression. Then seek spiritual direction with a good priest and embrace the power of reconciliation, even if you’re not in a mental state to “feel” the cleansing it offers.

I have dedicated my life to saving teens from depression, suicide, and pornography. I stand unashamed of my past and grateful to be given another chance.

________________________

KODAK Digital Still CameraLuke Maxwell is 18 years old and a college student. He speaks to teens, parents, and other audiences about his journey from depression and suicide to healing and redemption. He also talks on the topic of chastity and how sexual activity can be a self-medicating symptom of depression. Luke may be contacted through his website, ucantberased.com.

 

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