Tuesday, April 1, 2014

My Journey Out of the Darkness

The last time I posted was December 10, 2013.  The time since were the darkest days of my life to date...and I hope they will never be surpassed!

I was diagnosed with depression by my Gynecologist, whom I've seen since moving back to Chattanooga in 1998.  After the prodding of many close friends and family, I started taking a prescription anti-depressant.  It seemed to be helping for awhile, but on a subsequent follow-up visit, the doctor determined I needed more.  I didn't disagree with him, because I was truly drowning in a darkness so heavy and thick I really didn't see ever being able to come out of it.

With no end in sight for the circumstances I was living, I was believing in this pharmaceutical to at least help me cope...and I was really hoping it would make me numb and oblivious to what was happening around me and to me.

With the increased dosage came increased side effects.  My hands were shaking so badly I couldn't even take a clear picture with my phone or apply eyeliner or mascara without poking myself in the eye.  I woke up one morning with my thigh covered in bruises, even though I hadn't fallen or bumped into any furniture.  The bruises were an ugly reminder of the bruising going on in my heart.

I wanted to walk out.  I wanted to leave my marriage.  I wanted to stop being a mother, a daughter, a friend.  I wanted to quit.

Crying.  Wailing.  Slamming my fists on the floor in anguish and anger.  Falling apart in public and having to be practically carried to the car.   Hyperventilating.  Friends had to remind me to breathe. In such hopeless despair at times I would claw at the skin on my face.  Sometimes it would last for hours.  Finding myself driving somewhere, turning off my phone and location services and crying until there was nothing left in me.  This is not abundant life.

It eventually got so bad, I started googling ways to commit suicide that didn't require pain or a gun, because I'm not a fan of physical pain and we don't own any guns.  The majority of my waking hours were spent thinking of how death would be a sweet escape.  The only thing that kept me from it were the consistent texts, calls and visits from dear friends and my family, whom I didn't want to leave with that kind of scar.

Who was this person?  I certainly didn't recognize her AT ALL.  I felt like a foreigner had evaded my body and my thoughts.  Although I never questioned God's love for me, I did question the healing I  had experienced through Him.  Was it all a joke?  Was the ministry I had led others in for almost 6 years a joke?

I knew all the "right" things to say to someone in my position.  To be honest, they all sounded fake and pointless on this side of the curtain.

On an unusual day of clarity I realized the medication was not working, in fact, it was making me sick.  Prior to the medication I hadn't dreamed of dying.  Killing myself had never been an option.  I am normally a quite grounded person, even in the midst of conflict.  I usually can think and think well.  I realized I had to come off of this poison I was putting inside me.  Much to my hubby's chagrin, I didn't call the doctor, but went to google.  I researched the best way to wean myself from the particular anti-depressant I was taking.

It was through the detox process I realized just how poisonous this medication was to me.  I experienced full on drug withdrawal symptoms.  The shakes became worse, not just my hands, but my legs too.  I had headaches and vertigo and nausea and panic attacks.  Just when I thought I could go a day without a pill I'd have to resort to quartering one, just to make it stop.

At the tail end of my weaning process I had an appointment with my primary care physician.  The reason I chose him was because of his stance on pharmaceuticals.  Instead of writing a script as the first course of action, he writes them as a last resort.  His philosophy is if you give the body what it needs to come into balance, it most likely will.  I like that!  As I sat in his office and described the last 4 months of my life he immediately recognized I was dealing with a hormonal issue.  I am, after all, a  42 year old woman...some changes were inevitable.  He diagnosed me as peri-menopausal and was quite confident that with the right balance of hormones, I would be my old self again soon.  He also congratulated me on how I had weaned off the drug, he said I did it text book perfect:)  Although I do not recommend anyone come off their meds (of any kind) without a doctor or pharmacist's counsel;)

After I finish this blog I will be going for my follow-up appointment.  It's been a little over 4 weeks since I started hormone treatment.  I feel emotionally amazing!  The only trace of depression left is in my physical body.  My physical body still hasn't caught up yet and from what I've read in my research that could be a process that could take up to a year or more.  Most days I need to lay down around 3:00 and I still have trouble staying asleep at night, which is typical when your body is trying to rid itself of excess cortisol.

This post isn't an advertisement for essential oils, but most of you know I have fallen in love with Young Living's oils.  Instead of using the compounded progesterone cream my doctor prescribed, I am using a naturally derived serum.  Since using it, no night sweats, no hot flashes and no panic attacks out in public (or in private, for that matter:)  I swear by the benefits of Frankincense for balancing the mind and emotional center of the brain!  I inhale it often throughout the day.

Now, time for disclaimer!  I'm not in any way bashing pharmaceutical treatment of depression.  I have seen people need them in order to cooperate in their healing process.  My doctor even said, if we need to try a different anti-depressant we will, but let's try hormones first.  It's just my experience with the meds was so horrible, to be honest I would have had a hard time even experimenting with another...thankful it didn't come to that.

A couple weeks ago I sent a message to my prayer support group saying, "I am back!"  I wanted to wait a little longer before proclaiming that here, but it is safe to say, "I AM BACK!"  I know without any doubt, the inner healing I have received from my Papa God over the course of the last 9 years has been 100% legit!  I have no guilt and have shut the door to condemnation for not believing in His healing for me over the last few months.

Have my circumstances changed?  No.  Almost daily I come face to face with things that could cause great pain.  It is my choice to remain in my Papa's love for me and although these things sometimes shake me, I'm able to come back and rest in His arms.

If I've said it once, I've said it hundreds of times...I do NOT believe God sends sickness, but oh how I believe He turns EVERYTHING meant for my harm, for my good.  Through this process I have a much greater understanding of unconditional love.  I hope going forward when put in the place of counselor to someone who has walked through what I walked through that I will ooze the compassion and mercy of my Jesus.  No more trite answers from the books, but true compassion and love.  LISTENING.  Oh, how I've learned, listening is the greatest gift you can give to someone who is suffering from depression.  You don't have to fix them or give them answers.  Just be there.

So thankful that my soul is once again singing!  And ever so thankful for HORMONES!!!!


  1. Such Geat inspiration. .I've been there

  2. YOU ARE A BLESSING!! My daddy is a 30+ year survivor of the darkness you speak of, so thank you so much for sharing! I adore your REAL and RAW self! Just continue to let your light shine through darkness and not, and God will be glorified!

  3. Wacky hormones ... been there. All done now. Glad God has shown you what to do.

  4. I love you Amy!!!! Oh, how I missed the Amy I know and love. I have been so glad to see her lately. You are back!! There is no doubt about it.

  5. Powerful, precious and refreshing testimony and transparency..thank you dear one!!

  6. Amy, im really sorry you have been through all this pain..but thankful to hear you've made it out to the other side....hormone deficiency can make life very diffcult...thanks for your honesty and courage in sharing this :)