Depression and anxiety are often bedfellows, and both are painful and debilitating. Whether the depression is brought on by life events or a chemical imbalance, the depressed individual struggles to accomplish the most basic activities that the “average” person does without thinking. Anxious people wonder how they are going to make it through the day without coming out of their skin!
Overcoming anxiety and depression is not just a matter of finding the right medication and counselor, although both medication and therapy can be incredibly beneficial. We want to take a holistic approach and focus on the mind, the physical body, and the spirit. We are unashamedly Christ-centered.
Allow me to share my own story. I began struggling with anxiety when I was 5-years-old. As I got older, my anxiety worsened. When I was 11-years-old, depression accompanied my anxiety. At age 13, I had a 6-month phase where I couldn’t eat or sleep. I had panic attacks and scary thoughts. I spent most of my time in my head, running obsessively through my thoughts and praying that God would rescue me from me.
By age 17, I narrowly escaped being institutionalized. I simply could not keep anything down; my nerves were shot. I was afraid of everything. I scrambled for some sort of help, hope, relief. I found none. After 7 months, the anxiety eased and the depression lifted, but I was terrified. What if something triggered my anxiety again? I developed avoidance behavior. I withdrew. I became agoraphobic.
When I was 23, I began taking Prozac and seeing a counselor. That same year I stopped both the medication and the counseling. I saw a different counselor at age 30 and started Celexa. I finally declared myself anxiety- and depression-free after graduating from my third counselor in 2008.
My life seemed to be under control and going along quite well. I got married, moved into a new house, earned my Masters degree, and planned an active future involving trips to lakes and other outdoor destinations. Then I got pregnant.
The depression started in earnest in my second trimester. Thirteen days after my daughter was born, I was diagnosed with full-blown post-partum depression.
My first line of defense was medication and counseling. I found a counselor who would take my insurance, and I began seeing her twice a week. I also regularly visited my psychiatric nurse to make sure I was on the correct dosage of the right medicine. Thirteen months after my child was born, I had been on Celexa, Zoloft, Abilify, Xanax, Ambien, Lunesta, progesterone, and Saphris. My depression was so bad that I would lie face down on the floor and cry. I was in despair.
After attending a 3-day church event (which was very difficult because I was so anxious and depressed and couldn’t really hide it), I decided that what I really needed to do was the exact opposite of what I’d been doing. And so I exercised, ate what I thought was healthy food, forced myself to face my condemning thoughts, and scheduled every moment of my life. After 3 months of developing new habits, I declared myself officially over post-partum depression.
The following year was an exciting one of growth and insight. I felt like I could see more clearly. I still had some growing to do, though. I told my husband that the best path we could take was sterilization. If I was going to succeed, I could not have any more children.
My appointment to the gynecologist for permanent birth control turned into a prenatal visit. I was pregnant again. It was July 2014, and I’d been okay for barely one year. I couldn’t believe it. My depression returned immediately.
When my second child was born, I plunged into depression again. Six days after her birth, I asked to be taken to a mental health facility. Instead, one sister took my 3-year-old, the other sister took the baby, and my friends picked me up and took care of me for 2 whole days so I could sleep. When I was conscious, my mind was filled with terror and sorrow.
These feelings continued over the course of the next 6 weeks. While I waited for Prozac to get back into my system, I also took Klonopin and Ambien. I stared into space in between forced meals and bed times. Good days were few and far between.
I remembered what had pulled me out of the last round of post-partum, but I didn’t have the strength to do it on my own, so I called Life Transformation 360, a business partner with Transformation Life Centers. I asked Coach Scott if his program could help someone like me, a self-proclaimed “weepy mess,” and he assured me that he could help.
What I have learned since May 27, 2015 when I signed up for LT360 has changed everything. The holistic approach to health, the nurturing of the whole person, has been the key to my long-term freedom from the pit of anxiety and depression. I learned that if I’m eating the right kinds of foods, I don’t feel anxious. If I move my body, I don’t stay depressed. If I focus on TRUTH, then my mind doesn’t get bogged down with scary, condemning thoughts. I literally cannot maintain a high level of anxiety on this program. It is physically impossible.
Whether anxiety and depression are chemical, physical, emotional, or a combination of everything, the Transformation Life Centers can help. We do it every day.