One thing most people don’t know about me is that I had a major emotional breakdown in the year 2000. It came after some tragic events occurred in my family.
I’ve written about it some but it’s hard to find words to express what happened. The best way I can describe it is to say that the old person who lived in this body died and a new person was not born for several years.
Up to the year 2000, I knew nothing about mental breakdowns. What essentially happened in my life was that the old person died, but my body did not die. So basically, you’ve got this living, breathing human body with no mind or personality in it. How do you function?
That first year, I did not function. I just walked through every day like a Zombie. I did things automatically without thinking. The second year, all my emotions came alive and I would laugh and cry at everything. It was truly an emotional rollercoaster. One moment you’re laughing hysterically about something that’s not really funny, and the next you’re wailing like somebody just ran over your dog.
Year 3 was better. Things settled down some. I made the easy decision to kill myself. No muss, no fuss. It’s over. Sayonara. It was fun but I gotta go.
During that time frame, I started watching a BBC program called, “The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin”. Reggie hates his life and decides to end it all. So he goes down on the seashore, takes off all his clothes and walks out into the ocean.
Only, instead of drowning, he returns to shore. He walks naked to a house and steals some clothes. He changes his appearance and makes up a new name and whole different past for himself. He goes to work at a blacksmith’s shop. He’s got a new life and all the old people think he’s dead so they bury him and go on with their lives.
I got this wild idea that I could do that too. So I divorced my husband and took a job traveling a lot for the government doing disaster relief. I went all over the US and Puerto Rico working hard but having a blast. I made friends, drank too much, did lots of drugs and left a guy in every town I visited.
Sadly, I eventually had to go home. There was still this house where we had lived together … there were all these furnishings and things from this old person’s life. It was soooo hard to go home. I cried many tears over it but eventually had no choice. The hurricanes, floods and tornadoes finally stopped coming and I had to go home.
I had to deal with the ghosts, the demons, the hideous memories. It made my Top 5 List of hardest things I ever had to do.
Unfortunately, you just can’t run away from yourself. As they say, “Wherever you go, there you are.”
So I did go home. I did what had to be done. Eventually, I left the suburbs and moved to Dallas to live in the Big City with people everywhere and so much noise and traffic. God began healing me even though I fought to stay broken. Somehow after 5 years or so, things did get easier. I guess Time really does heal all wounds. My mother used to say that.
Gradually, a new person was born who managed my life better. The old person was dead and gone, the Interim person was self-destructive, but the new human that God helped me build, was strong enough. She had learned the hard way, NOT to trust the humans. Only trust the Lord … he’s the one who won’t leave you when times get tough.
She took over and ran things well. She was much stronger than the original owner of the body. She was more level-headed and not so emotional. She worked hard earning a living for us and she got her butt to church every week and to counseling sessions … she really worked hard to help us get healed.
God did eventually heal me but I resisted at first. I had built a huge Altar to my Pain and that is where I worshipped every day. I was not at all interested in burning that Altar to the ground and getting well. That Altar was the last remnant of my old life and family. Though it was completely dysfunctional, I knew it well and wasn’t willing to burn it down and get on a more healthy path.
It’s funny how things work out though. The ending to my story could have been very tragic if God hadn’t been so persistent. I have a feeling that if He ever gives up on me, I’m in real trouble. But when I was a young woman and first got saved, He gave me this scripture from Isaiah 43:1-
"Fear not for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name and you are mine. WHEN (not if) you pass thru the waters, I’ll be with you. WHEN you pass thru the Fire, you will not get burned.”
So I walked all the way through the Valley of the Shadow of Death. I didn’t drown and I did not get burned. The person I am today is stronger and smarter than the old one. She knows better than to trust humans. They’re weak, they sin, they leave you. I also learned that God will never let you down. Even if you don’t deserve help or want it, He will still help you.
You can read more about my journey, here.