I was diagnosed with post-partum depression in 1996. I started taking medication and eventually started feeling better. A few years later, I stopped taking my medication and got worse. In 2004, my left hip started going bad. For the next two years, I was in constant pain.
It was during those two years that my depression reached its greatest depth. I wanted to die. I knew suicide was selfish and would devastate the people who loved me, but I didn’t even have enough strength to care about myself. Being responsible for the feelings of others was a luxury I couldn’t afford.
I wanted to go. I was a born again Christian, so I knew that as soon as I died, I’d be in heaven with Jesus. And I longed for that release.
The cause of the physical pain was finally identified and my left hip was replaced in 2006. That, combined with the fact that I was taking depression medicine again, brought me back from the brink. I was no longer suicidal. Phew!
But I was forever changed. Medicine can save lives, but it can’t cure mental illness. It only buffered me from the worst my brain had to offer. I still had to live my daily life with depression.
The next decade was a different kind of roller coaster. I felt so much better with my new hip. I could walk without pain. I could live without pain. I had the best summer ever in 2007. I roared forward with a dream project… Until I ran out of steam and crashed. Not only did I end up in the pit of depression again, but this time I’d spent all of our savings along the way.
I realized that there was more going on in my defective brain than just depression, so I started researching bipolar disorder. In 2008, I went to a psychiatrist who confirmed the diagnosis of Bipolar II Disorder and prescribed a mood stabilizer. I was finally able to live my life away from both the frantic edge and the dead edge.
That same year, I had my thyroid removed. It took several months to adjust the dosage of the thyroid medication and in the meantime, I ate everything in sight. I was alive and finally on the right medications to keep me that way. Food was my reward. I decided that I was going to eat whatever I want, whenever I wanted.
I gained 90 lbs. within a year. In November 2009, I started attending Overeater’s Anonymous (OA). Very quickly, I realized that I truly was addicted to food and that the 12 steps were the best way for me to deal with this. In 2013, I started attending Celebrate Recovery (CR) in addition to OA. After a year of attending both, I focused on CR exclusively.
I started my second CR step study in February 2015. I finally decided that if I was going to do this “God thing”, I needed to go all in. I started listening to Bible messages every day. In March, I finally became obedient to God’s Will for me and started avoiding refined sugar and simple carbs. Over the next six months, I worked through the step study, avoided refined sugar and simple carbs, and listened to Bible teachings.
In September 2015, I experienced a week and a half with absolutely NO DEPRESSION. I double-checked, and triple-checked, and quadruple-checked to make sure this was not just another episode of hypomania. It wasn’t.
After that week and a half, the depression returned. But just like being suicidal changed me forever, tasting what it was like to be healthy changed me forever as well. In October of that year, I committed to a daily Bible reading plan and in February 2016, I prayed for and received my complete healing from depression and bipolar disorder.
Since then, I’ve stayed vigilant in my words and actions. I know that I have to keep renewing my mind in God’s Word and I have to stay obedient to the things He’s told me to do. Because the enemy is always out there waiting for any chance to tell me that I’m not really healed and that I’ll be sick for the rest of my life. But immersing myself in God’s Word and obeying His commands has brought me to a place in life where I no longer just maintain stability. I am healed and whole.
I want to offer to others the lifeline that God gave me. I want people to know that even if they’re at the mercy of a diseased brain, there is hope. God will meet you right where you are and His Word will feed you and strengthen you. And He will stay beside you, loving you and holding your hand, no matter what.
There is hope where you are.