I previously linked this testimony in a post back in June but the link seems to not be working. I wrote this to share with my church family at the end of 2013 and later shared it with another friend’s blog as a guest post. Because I want to keep the message out there and thanks to a brave friend’s decision to share her struggle, I am reposting today. Friend, you know who you are, and I want you to know that you are not alone. (D&L, always friends, always sisters)
In 2013, I faced the hardest moment of my adult life thus far. Many may not understand, some may lessen it, while others may relate a little and some may know exactly what I’m talking about. God placed me at a job with an angel, a woman for whom I will forever be grateful. A caring supervisor, who’s office door was always open and whose heart was always listening to say what God would have her to say. One day after observing me and checking on me, she began to talk with me about the warning signs of depression. I can recall brushing some of it off but a part of me, knowing how I felt more often than not, couldn’t push it all aside. That afternoon after work, not yet aware of my earlier conversation with my supervisor, my husband revealed to me that at a random point in the day, he felt a sudden urge to pray for me and tell depression that it was not welcome in our house. This was interesting because depression had not really been a topic of conversation for us before or anything we ever accepted or said might be an issue.
Maybe a month or so later, after some morning prep in the kitchen went wrong, I got “that feeling” again. My husband was off to work and I was just feeling bad about myself, wondering what was wrong with me, blaming myself, beating myself up, not wanting to do anything. Then I remembered my supervisor saying “When you feel low like that and you want to stay there get up, move, do something, anything, don’t stay there and entertain the feelings because the longer you do, one day it will be harder to shake yourself out of it.” So I got up and got dressed for work, but my reflection in the mirror and the sight of my body disgusted me. I was so mad at myself. Mentally exhausted from the few minutes it took to dress myself, I flopped on the couch, fully dressed for work, in the house alone, knowing I needed to be leaving work but I couldn’t. I felt like I couldn’t move, I sat on the couch for maybe 30 minutes wishing I could just black out or something, be somewhere else, perhaps Heaven, just for a little while. I pushed through it, got in the car and headed on my short commute to work. The whole time I’m driving I’m wishing a car would just hit me and knock me out but since we’d just gotten that car I was more concerned about the insurance, the collision bill and the police report my husband would have to deal with. I couldn’t do that to him.
Thoughts kept flooding my mind, I remembered my supervisor saying “When the thoughts are racing one after the other, try to focus your mind on anything else, any sound you hear, any visual, just grab it and don’t let go.” So I turned on the radio, but I couldn’t hear it. The blaming thoughts and the wanting a way out of life thoughts were so loud in my head that I heard the music but I couldn’t grab it like she said. Right as I got to work, my husband called to check on me. I wasn’t doing well but I felt like I was as good as I was going to get because I had to go to work. He and I resolved to check in later. I got out of the car, wiping tears, preparing myself to fake a smile I knew I couldn’t.
Then walking up the concrete steps to my building main entrance, I saw myself in my head fall somehow and hit my head on the sharp edge. Blood was everywhere, my head cracked open, I would not have survived. I thought “Man the option seems so nice right now.” I walked into work and it seemed like nobody noticed me that day. No one said hello, everybody was busy working, nobody cared that I was late or that my eyes were holding back more tears. So I sucked it up, got to my desk, turned on my computer and tried to start work. I saw my coworker playing soft music on her computer but after a moment, I could not physically hear it. That was the only noise in the room and I could not hear it at all, that scared me. I felt to strange, I felt like things on my computer screen were moving and doing weird things, I felt my heart racing and thoughts kept playing in my head “My coworkers didn’t care I was there, why was I there?”.
I felt like I was about to pass out, throw up and fall in a hole all at the same time. The only thing I could think of was going to my supervisor’s office so that if something did happen, someone who cared would help me immediately. I got up, shaking, crying, took those 6 or so steps to her door, stepped in her office and broke down. I said “They won’t stop!” over and over, meaning that the thoughts in my head would not stop. I had no relief. I know what the Bible says about God always being there and looking back now I see that He was but in that moment it felt like He was somewhere else. My supervisor held me in her arms, began speaking scriptures about peace and she prayed, I started to catch my breath. She sat me down and asked if I had thoughts of harming myself or anyone around me. I told her no but I wanted something bad to happen to me. I wanted someone or something to harm me and take me out so I wouldn’t have to do it. After talking some more, she told me that I needed to go out to my car, call and talk to my husband and consider going to the hospital. My saved-Christian-self said “Oh, I’ll be okay” but the hurting part of me said “What if I really do need help this time?” I talked to husband (So did my supervisor, who had come outside to check on me and give me some mental health resources). And he and I both left work early that day and met at our home. We talked and we prayed. Not knowing for sure if it was what I needed but trusting God to guide us, we agreed that I would go for an assessment at the Coliseum Medical Center in Macon. I told myself I’ll try it one day and see if my spirit confirms that this was where I needed to be or if I’m exaggerating. This was not something I ever saw myself doing.
The assessment showed I was suffering from depression. I agreed to check in to the partial hospitalization program for day treatment. That means I went every day from 7:30 am- 2:30 pm. I agreed to give it a chance, just to see after one day what I felt. That first day I was so scared of going I felt sick but the day was full of support, hope and comfort. It was different and new but it was good. It felt right so I stayed. I had therapy and group activities all day and I had accountability with my thoughts and actions when I went home every night. I met people who were worse than me, some where I was and some who chose bad coping skills with drugs or alcohol instead of self-defeating thoughts like me. It was a good place for me. They were like family.
I felt God with me the very first day and every day after for two weeks. He spoke through a lot of people there. Even my husband sensed it when he came for Family Day and sat with me on some sessions. I finished that program and wrote a goodbye letter to Anxiety and Depression. I was never given medication and all of the therapists were proud of my work there. At the end of every day we said the Serenity Prayer then we’d say “Keep coming back, ‘Cause it works if you work it”. I wanted to work. I wanted God to heal me. I learned skills that I felt everybody had but me when it came to dealing with problems. I learned skills that my family probably needed years ago. In 2013, though He made me out in the work, God delivered me from depression. My mind does not go down the roads it used to because I don’t let and SPECIFICALLY I know how to not let it in the natural or physical sense and of course in the spiritual sense. I have been taught how to tackle things from a spiritual perspective and I believe that those efforts create the natural reality we live in. But in this case it seemed like I needed some help in the natural first in order to realize my responsibility in the spiritual so that I could properly affect both my natural and spiritual well-being. I’ve always said that I am a generational curse breaker in more than one area of my life. In 2013 I had to do something completely different to really tear through a stronghold from my life and family. The pride, fear and stereotypes of seeking clinical help were not going to hold me back from the freedom and life God wanted me to enjoy. Today I’m in a much better place. It’s an intentional choice to think the way I know I need to but it gets easier and easier. I still have days or situations that are a struggle sometimes but I use the tools I got in therapy. I have not been back to that low place and since I know how to avoid it from several angles, I’m not going to.