October 3, 2014

A Cry Out To God

A Cry Out To God
It's been almost two months since Robin Williams' death and I remember that day very clearly. The loss of this amazing talent was more than enough to make my heart sink, but it only got worse. As the news began to spread, it was reported that Mr. Williams had committed suicide in his California home. People on social media sites started pouring out their emotions. Many seemed in shock and confused about how a man that made everyone smile and laugh, could take his own life. No, I did not know Robin Williams personally, but I do know the horrible illness called depression all too well. And like all of those that suffer or have suffered with this illness, I'm sure they felt a connection to this tragedy on some level. I wish I could have shared with Robin, his friends, and family about how God gave me a second chance and about the treatment that changed my life. Unfortunately, it's too late to reach out and help in that situation. So in hopes that this might help someone else in need, I'd like to share my personal battle with depression today. 

There's a history of depressive illness in my family, so I was predisposed to have it from birth. Mix that with the environmental factors in my life and BAM! I have what I like to call, "The Double Whammy." Yes, it's a recipe for heartache, pain, and despair. I started having panic attacks, anxiety, and spells of sadness at an early age. Then, the deep depression started to hit me at the age of fourteen, after being molested by my music manager/producer. I can remember crying out to God on more than one occasion to let me die in my sleep. I didn't want to live in that much pain...no one would! My first suicide attempt was at the age of 16. 

Time passed, but the depression was always there. I had been put on countless medications, but none ever seemed to help and some even made me worse. By the time I was 27, I had been suicidal many times. During the weeks following my divorce, I'd go out to the garage, sit in my car with a hose hooked to the exhaust, and just cry. Everyday I'd wake up, kiss my dog goodbye, and head to the garage. I never even left the house that month, so the suicide set up would stay connected for the next day when I'd try again. The thing is that even in all those dark moments, I always cried out to God. And I know now that the only thing that made me turn off the car was God. 

As time kept turning I went through a few bad breakups and big time career losses. I would find myself on still more medicine and not feeling any better. It was my normal condition to feel as if I didn't want to live. The craziest part is that unless you were very close to me, odds are you'd never even know that I was so depressed. It was very easy for me to play a gig or be out in public and put on a happy act. Sadly, this facade happens with many who suffer from depression. It may not be evident that someone needs help until it's too late. I'm sure it was the same with Robin Williams too.

The Final Straw:

About four years ago in my Nashville apartment, I hit an all-time low. The pain, loneliness, and sorrow I felt was too much to bear. That memorable night, I downed almost 4 bottles of anti-depressants. I was found the next day by my then boyfriend. I would later learn that amazingly, none of my body's organs were harmed from all those pills. When I woke up, I stumbled to the bathroom and stood in front of the mirror. I could barely stand as I looked back at myself. Tears filled my eyes and I dropped down to my knees thanking God for letting me live! And that's when it happened... As clear as day, I heard God whisper, "I'm not done with you yet!"

Several days passed before I could even function enough to get around normally. During that time, things started falling into place for me. I spent long hours praying and seeking God's direction. I searched online and came across a newer treatment for depression called Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS). To put it into layman's terms, it stimulates nerve cells in a targeted part of the brain that regulates your mood. It's a lifesaving treatment that doesn't require any medication. The best part is that the in-office treatments require only about 37 minutes per session. Patients are awake during treatment and can go back to their normal activities afterwards.

I was so thankful that this treatment was available, but soon learned that it would cost $12,000 to complete. I certainly did not have that kind of cash hanging around. Even so, I kept faith in God and knew somehow it would happen. I opened up to a dear friend of mine in Carolina who had helped me financially with some recording costs in the past. Before the conversation even got into full swing, he asked how much the treatment was and then offered to pay it in full. He was surely placed in my life by God. I was amazed and still am of how everything worked out for me. 

 I soon met with Dr. Kent Colburn, a psychiatrist in Nashville who I am forever grateful for. Monday through Friday for a period of six weeks I had outpatient treatments. By the end of the second week, I had already felt that black cloud lift. And by the end of all the treatments, it was like a lifetime of major depression had disappeared. I had been saved in more ways than one! 

I'm sure that some people will argue that it didn't have anything to do with God, just pure luck that I survived my last suicide attempt or any of them for that matter. And others will give all the credit to the TMS treatments for healing my depression. Yet, I know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love Him and He heard my cry. If you are dealing with depression, no matter how mild or massive it is, please always know that there is hope in God. Speak up and ask Him for help and He will hear you! Invite Him into your life completely and give all of you to Him. He loves you and will take care of you always.

Scripture References:

Romans 8:28
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

1 Peter 5:10
And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

Psalm 18:6 
In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears.  

Romans 10:13 
For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Learn how NeuroStar TMS Therapy has helped reduce symptoms in people living with depression.

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