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At age 11, my grandmother, who was the center of my life, died after a struggle with breast cancer. A paralyzing depression closely followed her death.

I was bullied in school daily and began to believe that I wasn’t good enough. That I didn’t belong. Suicidal thoughts landed me in a teen psychiatric ward for one week. It was there that I learned that if I just pretended to be happy, then things were okay.

Years later, the depression came back again as my new husband and I fought constantly. I felt inferior and isolated at my job, struggling with anger and uncontrollable emotions. After a second unsuccessful suicide attempt, I found myself on my knees one night, pleading with God to take my life. “Lord I need to be happy. Or I need to die.” Not long after that prayer, I was invited to church through a work friend, a God-sent friend. The preacher was preaching a series on “How to be Happy” based on the beatitudes of Jesus Christ as they prepared to launch a CR program. The particular principle he preached on was HOPE!

When the church started Celebrate Recovery, I was right there volunteering, working my own recovery.

My forever family helped me through another suicide attempt. CR saved my life helping me to realized that I was trying to fight a fight by myself that I was powerless to fight. I realize that I am not my depression. That I am worthy of love and grace. That I am worthy of being alive. That I am worthy of recovery.

My before and after picture look very similar, don’t they? That’s because depression is often hidden behind the smiles of the suffering. Mental health does not discriminate.

I am so thankful for the CR Mental Health Initiative and proud to be a significant part of helping to break free from the bondage and chains of the stigma that bound us to shame and guilt.

Thanks for letting me share.
April