Hope, Help, Healing
It is just after midnight on October 19, 2013. I am in the back of an ambulance, stretcher fully reclined. It is dark. There are no sirens. I can’t see anything. I am not dead. Actually, I am very alive. My mind is reeling from the events of the last nine hours. I am scared. I am lonely. I am singing songs of worship to keep from screaming. I am being transported to a mental facility over an hour from my home, my husband, and our three precious boys – one of whom is only almost three months old.
If this were a movie, this is the part that freezes, everything starts going backwards. The wind blows, books fly, flashes of memories go back to childhood and simpler times. Let me begin at the beginning.
I grew up in a happy home. Our family was functional and loving. Dad was a pastor in a tiny little town and my mom was (and still is) a beautiful, sweet pastor’s wife with a degree in elementary education. Somehow I felt off. I can’t remember a time growing up that I didn’t feel different, lonely. Yes, I had accepted Jesus as my Savior. I had a relationship with Him, but I was sick and I didn’t know it. My parents knew I struggled. Our home was filled with my mood swings and breakdowns. Behind the doors, no one could see my anger. My mind was filled with anxious thoughts. I felt like the world was against me. Friendships were a desire that seemed impossible to gain. Mom and Dad let me see a counselor a few times as a child, then as a teenager. But it was still there.
Behind the doors, no one could see my anger.
In 2003, a freshman in college, I finally went to a doctor for the way I was feeling. It was a time in my life when there were changes and my mom encouraged me to see someone. I was thankful for the prescription that the doctor wrote. Thus began my journey knowing I had depression.
Over the years, I dealt with it by taking medication. Sometimes I would feel fine and stop taking the prescriptions then I would relapse and have to start all over. A few relapses were worse than others. I married Carl in 2007. He loved me through the depression. God gifted him with extra patience and understanding that first year of marriage.
Fast forward to fall of 2013. We had just welcomed our third son, Stellan, in July. At my post partum appointment, I discussed with my doctor going back on an antidepressant. (During all three pregnancies, my body seemed to balance where I didn’t need medication.) She agreed and gave me a prescription.
To make a long story short, I was already falling into a deep depression. My baby blues booked an extended stay and weren’t planning on leaving any time soon. It was scary and painful. I was hiding from my children, afraid of my thoughts becoming reality. I cried, they cried. I can’t imagine how I made them feel as the days at home dragged on. I made the choice to see a counselor on the University campus (I was also finishing my bachelors degree and doing an internship at our church).
My appointment was October 18th, 2013 at 2:15pm. They didn’t let me leave the office alone. After a discussion with the counselor, she called in another counselor. They had me call Carl to pick me up. He took me to the emergency room. I didn’t wait in a waiting room that day. I went right back to a room where a guard sat outside for the eight or so hours I was there. I had a psychiatric evaluation. I had a caseworker. It was all a blur, yet time was standing still. And I just wanted to see my boys and nurse my baby. It was decided that I would go into a mental facility so I could get better. The closest bed available was over an hour away, thus, the ride in the ambulance.
This was my rock bottom.
Thankfully, I admitted myself. However, I signed an affidavit that if I tried to sign myself out, they would put me in a 96-hour hold. So, basically I was there until they said I could go. The stories I have from inside that hospital are for another time. I was able to get out in five days. Despite being over an hour away, I had company during every two-hour visitation allotment. Carl came every day. My mama and daddy kept my boys and my sisters helped. I had phone calls from Carl’s family encouraging me. The staff in the hospital was so impressed by the support I had. When I came home, our church family made sure we had food on our table for almost a month.
I was given medication and scheduled an appointment with a counselor. I saw that counselor every other week for five months. I stayed on the medication. I got better.
I guess I’m writing this for two reasons. The first is for someone to know there is help. No matter what the problem or the pain, there are professionals that are waiting to give treatment to those who feel they are at their end. There are people, whether it is a church or other organization that will support those who need to know someone cares. I can’t stress enough how important it is to take that step and acknowledge a need for help.
The second reason I wanted to write this is because I want people to know there is hope. My story does not end with seeing a counselor every other week and taking medication daily. Early in 2014, a few months after my stay, I met with a friend and, as we watched our children play at McDonalds, I told her my story. She, in turn, told me how she too had struggled with depression, but God had healed her. Now, I knew God heals. God heals cancer. God makes the deaf hear. I had witnessed healings of others in my life. But did God heal mental illness?
Does God heal mental illness?
Read more from Christian's powerful testimony as she continues next Monday in Entry Three of our Holding Onto Hope series here at Sanctuary.
Christian Fauth and her husband, Carl, have been married and in the ministry together for just under ten years. They currently serve as worship pastors at Life 360 in Springfield, Missouri and have three "handsome, hilarious, and wonderful" boys. "I have shaped my ministry philosophy around growing up with mental illness in a pastor’s home and seeing the need for more vulnerability and honesty about what God can do, not in spite of but, through our struggles." When Christian finds free time, she likes to read design magazines and spend lots of time with family and friends. Her greatest passion? "My greatest passion is to see people connect with God and to know who they are in Christ."