When I was in my early thirties, I became very depressed, and I didn't know or understand why. I had a wonderful husband, two beautiful toddlers, and a lovely home. "Why am I depressed?" Each month the depression became more and more intense. I felt I had no control over it whatsoever! I couldn't figure out a way to dig myself out of this dark pit I found myself in. It seemed so deep and impossible to crawl out of. I so wanted someone to throw me a rope so I could climb out of that dark place I found myself in.
I decided that something must be physically wrong with me. "There just has to be something physically wrong. There just has to be!" I went to my doctor, and he had tons of tests done and to my disappointment all the tests revealed that I was just fine. I so wanted them to find something that was physically wrong and then they could fix me. If they could find something physically wrong, then it could be fixed, and I wouldn't be depressed anymore.
Since they couldn't find anything physically wrong with me my hope for help sank even deeper into that pit, I was in. "Isn't there someone who can fix this? There has to someone who can fix this." I began to experience severe anxiety and panic attacks which I also couldn't stop or control in any shape or form. Believe me I tried. It got to the point that I couldn't eat, drive a car, do the housework, laundry, take care of my little toddlers or even to go to church with my family.
The panic attacks felt like I was having a heart attack and I would hyperventilate. Every time that happened, I would end up at the emergency room. This happened repeatedly and became my life. It kept occurring again, again, and again. The doctors would do more tests to check my heart and anything else they could think of. But they found nothing wrong with me. I lost tons of weight due to the fact that I was unable to eat or drink much of anything.
One day my husband came home from work, and I was in bed crying. I couldn't function at all, and I mean not at all. I told him, "I must be crazy and it's time you put me in a psychiatric hospital." He refused, of course. Instead, we decided to send the children to his mother's, for her take care and I went home to my parents. Maybe I just needed time to myself to figure things out, we reasoned.
That wasn't the case at all because I still experienced depression, anxiety, and panic attacks at my parents' house. My Mom decided it was time for me to see a psychiatrist and made an appointment with the one nearest to where they lived so she could take me to my appointments. I went several times, and his answer was to put me on medication. The medication only made me worse, and I ended up in the emergency room once again with a bad panic attack. As I laid in the hospital bed in the ER, I overheard the doctor tell my mom, "She needs to get off those pills that psychiatrist put her on and deal with what's bothering her deep inside." His words sank deep within my heart, and I knew he was right.
I went home and threw the entire bottle of pills down the toilet. Then I had my mom cancel my appointments with my psychiatrist. I wasn't going to him anymore because it was obvious to me that he didn't know what he was doing or how to treat me. And he certainly never cared to have me discuss what was bothering me nor did he care to hear it. Nothing had changed for me being at my parents and I was missing my husband plus our toddlers, so I decided to go stay at my in-laws where our children were. Then I could be with my husband and children instead of being apart.
My in-laws witnessed first-hand what I was going through and advised me to make an appointment with their Pastor. They thought perhaps he could help me find my way out of that dark pit I was in. What a disappointment that was! All he did was tell me to not be anxious and read to me Philippians 4:6,7, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." I left there in all honesty feeling angry and felt deep down he did not understand what I was going through. I didn't feel I was heard! And I thought to myself, "I wish it was that easy and simple because I'd do it." "Just quit feeling depressed and anxious that would be easy." I sank even deeper into depression, anxiety and the panic attacks continued. There was no one out there to help me. No one who could fix me. "There's just no hope for me!"
My in-laws didn't give up on me and later found a good Christian psychologist that I could go to and made the appointment for me. I went to him for two and half years straight and he listened to me. I felt he was genuine and safe to talk to meaning I knew he would keep what I told him confidential. He wasn't a judgmental person, nor did he condemn me. Something that's extreme hard to find in most people. "Wow, "I finally found someone who truly cared, listened, and understood me." As a result, he was able to help me uncover all the bad things I had repressed that happened to me in childhood and up to that moment. I had stuffed all those bad experiences down deep into my soul and had never told a single soul about any of them. I had never dealt with the deep wounds that had been inflicted on me and I couldn't repress those things anymore.
Relief came as I discussed each of those bad experiences and my psychologist
validated my feelings about each incident. In one session I shared with him, "I'm crazy, don't you think I'm crazy? I need to be put away." He told me, "If you were truly crazy you wouldn't even think that your crazy. Crazy people don't even think or ask that because their crazy." That really opened my eyes to that fact that I wasn't crazy. What a relief that was!
Through therapy I dealt with the sexual abuse I had experienced in first grade, the emotional and verbal abuse from various adults throughout my childhood, a date rape in my teens (8th grade) and how my close friend put a drug in my coke without my knowledge, the death of my grandmother, and other losses in my life. He told me as I shared the emotions related to each incident that any human being would have those feelings. I never before in my life had experienced someone validating my emotions and then assist me in processing them. It brought such healing to my soul.
I began to read Christian books outside of my therapy sessions and memorized Bible verses about cognitions. I became aware of all my negative self-talk for the first time in my life. The horrible things that had been said to me I had owned all those years and kept playing them over and over till I owned them. I learned how to combat those with comebacks and disown them. I had to work at correcting all of those negative statements with truthful statements. It required much work and consistency on my part. One doesn't magically just stop thinking negative thoughts or owning them. It requires work!
After 2 1/2 years, all of the depression, anxiety, and panic attacks stopped, and I was back to being able to function. I no longer was "stuffing things"! I could now live my life happily and be free of my past.
A year later or so, I decided to go back to college even though I didn't know why. I just knew the Lord wanted me to. I didn't know exactly what He wanted me to major in or where He was going to send me. I just knew I was to go. My husband advised me just to take the basic courses that everyone has to and decide later what to major in. I went to Broome Community College and two of the classes I took was, "Written Expression." I did very well in those classes and my professor wanted me to submit some of my writings in various competitions, but I didn't. That's a whole another story as to why I didn't which I won't get into. The whole time I was privately praying for God's direction and what He wanted me to major in. Basically, I was asking God why am I in college again? At first, I thought I was to go into journalism. But as time passed it became clear to me that I was to major in counseling so I too could in turn help others. So, I did and went on to Liberty University to earn my Master's in Professional Counseling.