Simply put, I was broken.
It didn't happen all at once, of course. It kinda slipped up on me over the course of, oh, perhaps 20 years or so. But the day came when there was no doubt that something was not right with me. Crying, fits of depression, uncontrollable anxiety: all held me in their grip. But in June of 2001, I found myself in therapy, medicated, and being advised that if I didn't get 'better' within two weeks, I would be hospitalized.
Get better? Getting better meant no more panic attacks, no more delusional and obsessive thoughts, no more fantasizing about death. Getting better was something I craved but could not catch. Something I remembered but could not revive. I took every pill I was given and followed everyone's instructions with perfection, but I was spiraling more out of control than ever.
It's a strange thing to try to explain to someone what crazy is to you, because it's different to all of us. And I know there are those who will take offense at me referring to mental illness as crazy. But at the time, I did not know I was sick; I truly thought I was losing my mind and would never be able to get it back.
My crazy meant that I could go to work and put on a good face, but come home and fall apart. My crazy meant that my body longed for rest, but could not sleep. My crazy meant that my mind could be triggered into moments of fog and confusion with apparently no explanation. My crazy meant leaving public places abruptly because I could not catch my breath. My crazy meant bad reactions to drug cocktails that left me dazed, irritable, and once even paralyzed. And my crazy meant that despite the great love that I felt for my husband and children, I was daily tormented with violent, compulsive thoughts about them.
The rest of the story is truly too long to tell here, but if you want to know, please ask me and I will gladly share. The truth is that I called out to God, and He heard me, and He got me through it. He replaced compulsion with compassion, paranoia with peace, and lost with saved.
He got me through it, and He's still there when the tendencies raise their ugly heads and snap at my heels. I know now that I wasn't crazy in the sense that I once thought, but unhealthy. Incomplete. And desperate for a Savior.
I recently went back to therapy with a Christian counselor. It was not an easy decision to make. But the truth is that I've been taking shortcuts in my care and ignoring His voice telling me that it's time to once again address those demons. I know He walks by me today just as closely as He did that night more than 15 years ago, when I went to sleep sick and woke up in His healing presence.
And in His hands I walk through it.