This past week was challenging. I have a lifelong habit of not being able to ask for help when I need it. In fact, I tend to avoid showing weakness whenever possible. It’s not who I want to be. It’s not something that fits my personality or beliefs. While it’s fine to be someone who never gives up, it is not fine to push yourself to the point where you suffer an inevitable break because you were either afraid or reluctant to reach out to someone and tell them that you were falling apart. Keeping this to yourself isn’t always the best thing you can do to promote healing and growth.
As we find ourselves smack dab in the middle of Mental Health Awareness Month, I want to share with you a bit about my background with Mental Health issues. Back in the early 1990s, I suffered from depression. My parents’ relationship had been tense for a number of years and throughout my childhood, I’d dealt with the aftermath of many arguments and other issues that arose as a result of their problems. I fell into a deep depression as I entered my senior year of high school and eventually broke down outside the school nurse’s office one morning. I simply couldn’t take any more.
I remember that she had me sit in her office and she let me cry it out while she talked to me and helped me calm down. I was seventeen years old, and I was so broken that I couldn’t function. Everything had been so difficult, and I had used all of the resources that were internally available to me to cope with it all each day. This breakdown was not something I could control, and it was much needed at the time. Once I got some of the pain out, I began to feel much better about life. And it was a good thing, because I was heading down a very dark path emotionally and if I hadn’t had that interaction at that time in my life, I might not have made it much further.
Fast forward several years after my plans to enter the military had flopped miserably, my parents finally divorced. I was about 22 at the time and though I knew it was what needed to happen, it was a painful time in my life. There was a lot of confusion and even a brief reconciliation between them that threw me into a bit of a rage after having had to pick sides and suffer through the separation. I was mad, so I moved out and lived on my own for a few years. During this time, my anger got the best of me, and I began to drink…heavily. I hadn’t been a drinker because I was so opposed to alcohol and the damage it did to families that I could never have imagined that I would ever turn to drink. But in a moment of weakness and poor judgment, I took a wrong turn and it resulted in even more pain.
One night, I had drunk to the point of passing out (blacking out, really) and a male friend who was staying at the apartment I share with my cousin back then had decided that this was the time to try and have sex with me. Mind you, I was out cold. I was not a willing participant and would never have been. But this happened and it drove me to drink even more as I tried to regain the control that had been taken from me. The next few years were a blur of drinking and making terrible decisions. I hadn’t wanted life to turn out this way, but I moved into this misery full force because I was too ashamed to tell anyone what had happened. And the worse I got, the more ashamed I became.
Thankfully, after a few years I decided that I’d had enough, and I cut ties with everyone I’d been hanging out with. I stopped drinking and moved back home with my mom. I went to work and kept my head down until I felt like it was safe to look up again. It was a long time before I felt my strength come back and it wasn’t the last time I went through significant trauma. But the common thread in all of these times when I was hurting and when healing finally commenced was that I had finally reached out and talked to someone about what happened. I finally trusted that I could tell people what I had been through without fear of judgment and being shamed.
Later, I found the ultimate counselor. And when I started to have regular talks with Him, all of the anxiety and depression that used to hold me captive finally let me go. My chains are gone, indeed. I’ve been set free. As the song says, “My God, my Savior, has ransomed me.” And for as long as I live, I will call on Him when I am in pain. And He will remind me that I am no longer chained to the misery that once held me prisoner. Life isn’t easy. There are so many ways that we can hurt and so many things that we go through as human beings. But we do NOT have to go through those things alone. We can reach out to a counselor, a friend, or pastor. We can always call on God for peace and strength. And we can rest knowing that taking care of ourselves is exactly what we are supposed to do.
Also, if someone has a problem with you getting the healing you need, then you need to remove that person from your circle. Don’t allow anyone to tell you that your healing is not okay or necessary. God will guide you if you ask Him, so don’t be afraid to breakdown. Don’t be afraid to step back and take inventory of what you need and don’t need. Don’t be afraid to make changes. You’ll be surprised at how your quality of life improves when you let God remove those chains.
Rebecca Benston is the owner of Higher Ground Books & Media and the author of over twenty titles currently available through Amazon and other outlets. Her books include a mystery series (The Rona Shively Stories), empowerment resources such as Wise Up to Rise Up, Don’t Be Stupid (And I Mean That in the Nicest Way), and From Judgment to Jubilee, children’s books including Grumble D. Grumble Learns to Smile, All the Scary Things, and See How Strong You Are. Benston lives in Springfield, Ohio with her awesome daughter, Mya and enjoys traveling, reading, writing, and telling it like it is. She enjoys being able to help other authors get their stories out there through Higher Ground and has recently expanded her freelance services to offer more extensive guidance as a writing coach and social media manager. For more information, you can contact Benston at email@example.com.
The End of Eternity
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My name is Rebecca Benston. I’m a Christian. I’m a woman. I’m a mother. I’m a writer. I’m a thinker. When I write fiction, I am usually writing a mystery series called The Rona Shively Stories. My P.I. character, Rona Shively is feisty, fearless and fabulous and is usually caught up in something she doesn’t want to be caught up in. In addition to this series, I also have a blog called Higher Ground for Life. Through this blog, I’m hoping to reach women or anyone who is seeking to develop a relationship with God and give them inspiration to get out there and follow His path for their lives!
I also have a blog called Leading the Follower. This one is my favorite. I write about religion, faith, spirituality and all that goes along with it. What we believe, what we don’t believe, what we are told to believe and how society feels about believing in general. I do a lot of testifying here and some of what I say may make you angry. Most of it will make you think. Some of it will make you cry. Any of it could make you laugh. It’s really up to you.
If you are looking for practical advice, honest conversation, and no nonsense observations about living in today’s world, check out my blogs at http://highergroundbooksandmedia.com and http://www.ronashively.wordpress.com and http://www.highergroundforlife.wordpress.com and http://www.leadingthefollower.wordpress.com. And if you’re so inclined, you can purchase my books and some other great, inspirational works from Higher Ground Books & Media at http://highergroundbooksandmedia.com.