IMG_0420 I was born into an incredible family. My dad has been very successful since I can remember, and my mom was always been the rock who’s love and strength have held me. The truth is, that no matter how perfect a life looks from the outside, or how good or bad your parents may be, fulfillment, wholeness, and security doesn't come from any of that. Here is my story

Growing up I remember everything being happy and free. My mom was mainly involved in my life, as my dad’s role was to “provide”. There isn’t much to say but "we had good and blissful times."

When I was 7 I lost it all when I witnessed my mom fall into a depressive episode that shook my world. I was petrified as I saw the woman who held my life together, out of her senses. The memories are vague, but that’s when I felt I lost MY MOM. All I could remember is the nauseous and empty feeling as tears streamed down my face, in despair. A few days later she came home from the hospital, but was not the same. Depression got a hold of her, and the shame, secrets, and insecurity got a hold of me.

My whole elementary years was a series of ups and downs and life at home felt lost. This developed anger, anxiety, shame, and an unsettling fear of the unknown. My dad constantly tried to please me with material things, as he numbed the pain with drinking and work which made me bitter and mad towards him. When I was 13, we impulsively tried moving to Bolivia (where my extended family lives) with the hopes that everything would be better, but my dad stayed back until securing a good job. Things were finally better again and my mom was the strong and bold woman I once knew and I was happy knowing it was all over. She was emotionally back.

Until one afternoon, I got home from school and the woman who helped around my house told me my mom hadn’t left the bathroom all day. My heart dropped as I flipped out and went banging on the door. I yelled and cried but she wouldn’t open it until and told her I’d jump out the window and kill myself if she didn’t (that’s really how I felt). This was the first time I had witnessed the scariest experience face to face. It was traumatizing, and these episodes lasted an unknown number of days, and I didn’t know when she’d come back to her normal self. At this age, I took on the mother role in a sense. My mom couldn’t remember anything about these episodes, so talking about it didn’t help. I stuffed in all my feelings and sucked it up. I began putting on the masks, the smile, and the strength, and went on with life as if nothing had happened, and held on to all the secrets. There was so much I couldn’t control, so I became very controlling and a huge perfectionist in attempts to recover what I could and covering up my imperfections and shame.

2 years later, we moved back to Florida because Bolivia wasn’t a stable idea for my dad to come to. I was so excited to see my old friends again, and to just start all over. I could finally forget about everything, so I thought. As I started high school, I completely withdrew from my family and this is when the real mess began. I was preoccupied with the way that I looked, who I hung out with, and the parties I attended. I got my self worth and acceptance in popularity and forgot about all the crap that was haunting me through the black outs. The first time I drank alcohol, the ambulance had to be called because I got alcohol poisoning. But that didn’t faze me one bit, it was just the start… I was failing school, and drugs got introduced shortly after. I began smoking weed daily and hanging out with the drug dealers who introduced everything else. I was taking anything that was handed to me, and at the time it was great. I was having a good time with no consequences and my parents were completely oblivious because I was always known to be that good little girl. By the time i turned 16, I had done ecstasy, xanax, acid, cocaine, and anything to just to block out reality, and “have a good time”. I was reckless and cared about nothing. No one could stop me.

I began feeling depressed and suicidal my sophomore year. I felt crazy, so I told my parents I needed help. I went to rehab where I discovered the “why” to my problems, but still had no solution. This made me really angry at everything that happened to me, and because therapist blamed my parents, I felt like the the victim and I wanted apologies. I wanted them to feel what I felt, I was angry. Neither therapy nor my family’s “apologies” could provide the comfort I was seeking. I wanted to feel better, but nothing helped except masking it with friends and partying. It was the regular until I’d crash “and didn’t want to live like this anymore” and the cycle of rehab continued. I’d leave feeling worse every time; I was a lost cause after being to all kind of psychiatrists, therapy, even boarding school in attempts of “being happy”. My parents were desperate and they did anything. But the depression kept getting worse, and the things I was doing to numb the pain were no longer doing their job. My friends couldn’t make me feel better. I was empty, I was hurting, and I felt like crawling out of my skin. I hated myself.

In college, my friends began getting concerned. I couldn’t fake it anymore, and I got out of hand. Long story short I had to move back home and was more depressed than ever. I was wasting away and just wanted to die. Nothing could help me and living was too hard. I no longer had the strength to keep going or feeling and I didn’t have the guts to kill myself, and didn't necessarily want to die… I just didn’t want to feel like this anymore. Through my experiences with Catholic parents and certain experiences with drugs, God seemed like a mystical idea to me. My view of God was very skewed through the Truths I was told growing up about who we are and who He is, therefore I didn’t believe. I was wasting away… not eating and dying as I dropped down to 67 lbs. My physical health was destroying my parents and the pain in their eyes drove me to one last “attempt” at life for their sake. i mean, If this didn’t help, then that was it… I’d let myself go. I was tired, so I decided to give “God” a chance, if He was there.

I applied, free of charge, to a Christian residential program for girls with life-controlling issues Mercy Ministries, that a friend in rehab mentioned a while back. It was free so I wouldn’t feel guilty if I failed again, I had nothing to lose, it was my last chance. He didn’t let me go, He was there since I was born but I finally came home to Him on my last thread. The first week I heard about Jesus I went to the altar and laid my life down screaming in my heart “take me, I can’t do this by myself”. This is when my life completely changed forever. I was no longer alone. The journey with Jesus began as I developed a relationship with Him and He healed all the hurts and pain no apology could heal. He held my heart and every tear, He showed me where He’s been since the beginning. No drug, money, feeling, could ever compare. In 9 months I was transformed by His word, and discipled by the best. I felt as if my eyes were literally opened into a new life, and my lenses changed!

In 2012 I moved back home, and went to the church God led me to. Although I didn’t feel like it was “my type,” I knew that’s where He told me to go, so I obeyed. It wasn’t about me anymore. He already had me, my family was next. My mom got introduced to a relationship with God beyond religion, and got baptized at this church (she hasn’t had episodes since 2008 and I believe that it really has NO power over her with Jesus as Lord, and regardless I have nothing to fear). My dad is slowly but surely getting to know God and His love, beyond religion. My brother is an atheist on his way to Salvation. God will break down the walls, just as He did in my life. He is painting a beautiful story in our family, bringing each of us to complete restoration. After transitioning back home, it was time to look into the future. Nothing drove me as much as the compelling to do for others what was done for me. If someone didn’t tell me about Jesus, and walk me through like the people at Mercy Ministries did, I wouldn’t be here today.