Freedom from severe anxiety and depression
For about thirty years, I was on antidepressants. I did fairly well with them for a while, but as time went by they were no longer as effective, and I started experiencing severe anxiety. I began taking a variety of medication combinations. And prescription drugs were not the only means I employed in my attempts to cope with stress. I also tried, at various times, smoking, exercise regimens, binge eating, and drinking alcohol, along with several forms of therapy. Nothing worked, and things seemed to keep getting worse.
Finally, I ended up on four medications, taken throughout the day and night. The psychiatrists knew that the medications caused suicide ideation—and I attempted suicide twice—but they didn’t know how to help me without them.
Then it was suggested that maybe mindfulness-based therapy would help. I proceeded to try this method. But while I was sitting in the therapist’s office trying to relax with the mindfulness therapy techniques, I had the thought that I should try prayer.
I had been raised attending a Christian Science Sunday School, had even gone through Primary class instruction in Christian Science, but had stopped practicing Christian Science decades earlier. At that time, I had thought other avenues had more to offer. But now I left the therapy session and called my Christian Science teacher from long ago, which marked the beginning of my journey back to Christian Science.
My road to recovery wasn’t quick; it took me six months to give up the medicine, which is a vital step to take when relying on Christian Science for healing. But I do feel Truth was at work in my consciousness, because I began to feel, though faintly, that God was present. That good was present. That I had worth. Finally, one day I said, “Enough!” and stopped taking all of the medication at once.
For about another six months, I sat at the kitchen table almost all day and night, very down and angry. My anxiety was so bad that I was scared to drive, to go into a store, or to have someone come to the house. I had quit my job long ago and didn’t even want family members nearby. Sleeping was impossible. But I refused to go back on the medications. I had the support of a Christian Science practitioner giving me Christian Science treatment, and she suggested that I work and pray each day with hymns in the Christian Science Hymnal.
I printed out hymns, a new one almost every day, and carried them around with me, praying with them constantly. There were hymn printouts in my purse, in the car, in the bathroom, etc. And I began to get better. I was learning that God is always with me—loving me, caring for me, helping me. The hymn that helped me perhaps the most was Hymn 330 , which begins,
The King of Love my Shepherd is,
Whose goodness faileth never;
I nothing lack, for I am His
And He is mine forever.
(Henry W. Baker)
I was also greatly helped by the concept of unfoldment. Mary Baker Eddy writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, “Christian Science presents unfoldment, not accretion; it manifests no material growth from molecule to mind, but an impartation of the divine Mind to man and the universe” (p. 68 ). What I should be doing just seemed to keep unfolding, in very small but definite, gradual steps. It started with helping others in little ways, until I felt free enough to resume working. I started doing volunteer work and then tutoring at a community college, helping adult students who were in need of extra attention. The college then asked me to teach, offering me a paid position. Best of all, I had gained a deep confidence that my future would be filled with God’s bountiful goodness.
It has been three years now with no medication. I am the happiest I have been in my whole life. I teach part time, do volunteer work, and have wonderful interactions with friends and family. I have joined a branch Church of Christ, Scientist, and this past summer I attended a camp for Christian Scientists with my granddaughter. Life is good because Life is God.
There are not enough words to express my gratitude for all the good God has bestowed on me through my study of Christian Science. I also want to thank all the Christian Science practitioners and Christian Science nurses—as well as contributors to the Christian Science periodicals and all other devoted Christian Scientists—who have helped me at different times as I walked “through the valley of the shadow of death.” Truly I have learned that “the Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want” (Psalms 23:4, 1 ).
Kinston, North Carolina, US