Most of my life, I have struggled with depression—a dark and hopeless place that was numbed by binge drinking when it became too much for me to handle. At the time, I thought it would help ease the pain of the emotional and physical abuse that occurred during childhood. At an early age, I became insecure, lonely, depressed and a perfectionist—all in the hopes of overcoming, but—never overcame.
Even after saying “yes” to Jesus—I struggled with binge drinking. Knowing, that I needed help—I began to receive counseling. Unfortunately, within a couple of appointments, I would convince myself that I was OK only to discover the harsh reality that I was not—a vicious cycle that lasted longer than it should have because of my stubbornness and unwillingness to work through the pain. Working through pain brings healing, but at the time—I was not cooperating with God’s healing plan for me. Condemnation and shame consumed me. After all, how can I be a Christian and still struggle like I was? I doubted God’s forgiveness because of the prison I kept myself in. God gave me the keys to break free when I said “yes” to Him, but in my absolute foolishness—I did not use them. In essence, I was oblivious to the free gift of salvation He gave me.
During my healing process, I have learned that God has a very good sense of humor. At times, when God calls us—it can be in the “midst” of our pain & darkness. For it is in the “midst” of things that God shows up in greatness!
When He called me to write VictoryEmbraced—I was not only cleaning dishes—I was still in the “midst” of struggling with depression which, I have discovered is partly due to heredity. However, I now knew that I have God’s DNA and because of this—I will always be victorious!
While collecting testimonies for the book, I began to experience symptoms of PMDD (Premenstral Dysphoric Disorder) which is a major mental depressive disorder and definitely, has a few extra edges than regular PMS occurring only to 3% to 8% of women. I have been told many times, that I am quite unique—not only in my sense of humor, but in how I process and see things in life. Now, there is indisputable evidence that what has been said for years is true! Yep, this definitely proved it—not only to myself, but to those closest to me.
PMDD usually makes its ugly appearance in women who are in their late 30’s or mid-40’s. Mine, showed up when I was 36. With all the hormone shifts, I also started having simple-partial seizures which are seizures that are rarely noticed by others. They begin with a feeling of déjà vu followed by starring that can last a few minutes.
In my potential for perfectionism—I happen to have all of the symptoms of PMDD—not just the four or five which classifies the disorder and helps to make a diagnosis. Symptoms of PMDD include: anxiety and a feeling of being on edge, memory issues, severe mood swings, crying for no reason, sensitivity to abandonment and rejection, anger and increased conflict with the one’s you love, decreased interest in usual activities, feelings of being overwhelmed, joint and muscle pain, weight gain, insomnia and headaches. Yes, a long list of symptoms, but it’s nothing God cannot handle. Sometimes, one month can be worse than another. During these more intense months, I pray for it to be over quickly and at times, have felt like I am holding on to Him for dear life. I have a neurologist for the seizures which are now under control with the medicine and in two years of being seizure free my doctor can begin lowering the dosage until I am completely off of it. My psychiatrist is to help take the edge off of the PMDD and through it all—I have the most renowned doctor in the world by my side overseeing things—my sweet and precious God.
I am learning that there are things I can do to help relieve the symptoms of PMDD such as: hormone therapy, taking nutritional supplements, antidepressants, exercise, drinking less caffeine, and my hardest to follow-through on is eating less chocolate, cheese and carbohydrates. It has been said that chocolate is a girl’s best friend, but in this case—not so much.
I have learned that with any disorder—not only in my life, but with others as well—there is hope because God has the power to take any disorder and create order—out of a total mess, He can create beauty. And, because I have learned the character of God and who He says He is—I have absolute faith that He will provide the avenue(s) for my healing even if that means He balances all my hormones through early menopause. A pure miracle in itself! I do not put anything past God—He can do all things! Being in the process of healing does not mean failure because obtaining victory is a continuous motion of moving forward.
We are a work in progress—always under construction. With God, 7 months of intense counseling has helped transform my life. I have also learned to put God first in all that I do—being dependent on Him for all I need. Yes, people can help and come alongside of you during the many seasons of life, but only God has all the answers. I have been and am—very blessed to have a holy magnificent God, an awesome and loving husband, and a wonderful friend that have been continuously supportive, understanding and patient with me along my journey of Embracing Victory Over the Storm of Depression.