Contributed by guest blogger Dawn Marie Woroniak
And they have overcome him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony. (Revelation 12:11 NIV)
Most of my life, I have struggled with depression . . . a dark and hopeless place that was numbed by binge drinking when it became too much for me to handle. At the time, I thought it would help ease the pain of the emotional and physical abuse that had occurred during childhood. At an early age, I became insecure, lonely, depressed, and a perfectionist . . . all in the hopes of overcoming, but I never overcame.
Even after saying “yes” to Jesus, I struggled with binge drinking. Knowing, that I needed help, I began to receive counseling. Unfortunately, within a couple of appointments, I would convince myself that I was okay, only to discover the harsh reality that I was not—a cycle that lasted longer than it should have because of my stubbornness and unwillingness to work through the pain. Working through pain brings healing, but at the time I was not cooperating with God’s healing plan for me. Condemnation and shame consumed me. After all, how could I be a Christian and still struggle like I was? I doubted God’s forgiveness because of the prison I kept myself in. God gave me the keys to break free when I said “yes” to Him, but in my absolute foolishness . . . I did not use them. In essence, I was oblivious to the free gift of salvation He had given me.
During my healing process, I have learned that God has a very good sense of humor. At times, when God calls us . . . it can be in the “midst” of our pain and darkness. For it is in the “midst” of things that God shows up in greatness!
When He called me to write Victory Embraced . . . I was not only cleaning dishes . . . I was still in the “midst” of struggling with depression, which I have discovered is partly due to heredity. However, I now know I have God’s DNA . . . and because of this, I will always be victorious!
While collecting testimonies for the book, I began to experience symptoms of PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder), which is a major mental depressive disorder and definitely has a few extra edges than regular PMS, occurring only to 3 to 8 percent of women. I have been told many times that I am quite unique . . . not only in my sense of humor but also in how I process and see things in life. Now there is indisputable evidence that what has been said for years is true! Yep, this definitely proved it . . . not only to myself but also to those closest to me.
PMDD usually makes its ugly appearance in women who are in their late 30s or mid-40s. Mine showed up when I was 36. With all the hormone shifts, I also started having simple-partial seizures, which are rarely noticed by others. They begin with a feeling of deja vu followed by staring that can last a few minutes.
In my potential for perfectionism, I happen to have all of the symptoms of PMDD . . . not just the four or five that classify the disorder and help to make a diagnosis. Symptoms of PMDD include anxiety and a feeling of being on edge, memory issues, severe mood swings, crying for no reason, extreme sensitivity to abandonment and rejection, anger and increased conflict with the ones you love, decreased interest in usual activities, feelings of being overwhelmed as well as feeling out of control, joint and muscle pain, weight gain, insomnia, and headaches. Yes, a long list of symptoms, but nothing God cannot handle. Sometimes one month can be worse than another. During the more intense months, I pray for it to be over quickly and at times have felt as if I am holding on to Him for dear life. I have a neurologist for the seizures, which are now under control with the medicine. After two years of being seizure free, my doctor can begin lowering the dosage until I am completely off it. My psychiatrist is to help take the edge off of the PMDD. Through it all, I have the most renowned doctor in the world by my side overseeing things . . . my sweet and precious God.
I am learning there are things I can do to help relieve the symptoms of PMDD such as hormone therapy, taking nutritional supplements, antidepressants, exercise, drinking less caffeine. My hardest to follow through on is eating less chocolate, cheese, and carbohydrates. Yes, it is true . . . sometimes chocolate is a girl’s best friend.
I have learned that with any disorder—not only in my life, but with others as well—there is hope because God has the power to take any disorder and create order out of a total mess, He can create beauty. And because I have learned the character of God and who He says He is, I have absolute faith that He will provide the avenues for my healing even if that means He balances all my hormones through early menopause. A pure miracle in itself! I do not put anything past God . . . He can do all things! Being in the process of healing does not mean failure because obtaining victory is a continuous motion of moving forward.
We are a work in progress . . . always under construction. With God, seven months of intense counseling has helped transform my life. I have learned to put God first in all I do . . . and to depend on Him for all I need. I am blessed to have a very loving husband who has been supportive, understanding, and patient with me along my journey of Embracing Victory Over the Storm of Depression.
Many thanks to today’s guest blogger Dawn Marie Woroniak. Eight years ago, she started gathering testimonies throughout the United States for a book called VictoryEmbraced. The testimonies in this encouraging book are from people in various professions as well as some who are well-known and respected in ministry. Dawn Marie says, “It is my prayer, and the prayer of those who have shared their stories, that you will be blessed and forever changed!”
Learn more about Dawn Marie and her ministry at www.victoryembraced.org. It’s a ministry of prayer and healing . . . powerful testimonies . . . changed lives . . . and renewed hope.