Updated: May 10
I remember my daddy saying to me when I was about 10 years old, “You worry too much!” Little did I know that worry, anxiety and depression would be the path of my life. Those three labels
My first panic attack occurred in 2001. I was at work and began having chest pains that radiated down my left arm. When I began to feel tingling, my job rushed me out of there straight to the hospital. They kept me overnight to observe me and were able to rule out a heart attack. I went home the next day, only to return in another two or three weeks for the same thing. This time I was told that I was suffering from panic attacks and it was suggested that I find ways to deal with my stress. The only way I knew how to deal with stress was to ignore it. There were too many other things taking place in my life. As a single mom, all I knew to do was to keep pushing.
As the years progressed, depression crept its way into my mix of worry and anxiety. However, because my mind was always in fight or flight mode, I didn’t even realize that I was depressed. The constant adrenaline from being anxious all the time kept me so wired that I couldn’t see otherwise. I was literally living in survival mode. I remember when I didn’t have a car. My girls were six, four and one. I was living in Nicetown at the time. I would walk from my house to drop my baby to daycare. Then, me and the other two girls would walk to the train, so I could get them to school in West Philadelphia. After dropping them off to school, I would walk back to the train to get to work in King of Prussia. In the afternoon, I would do the same thing but in reverse. The constant going was turning me into a nervous (worried) wreck and I began taking it out on my girls. I was constantly yelling when things were out of order or always crying because I was so overwhelmed with no outlet for relief. In a nutshell, my life was full of fear and void of hope and faith.
As I continued to navigate through life, the depression began to become more prominent in my life. Thoughts of suicide began to enter my mind more and more. I can remember saying on several occasions that I wished I was dead. As a teenager, at 14 years old, I remember making two suicide attempts. The first time I tried to overdose on my father’s pain pills, and the second time I tried to slit my wrists. As an adult, however, I never made any attempts, I only had constant thoughts of doing so.
One time I distinctly remember having a suicidal moment when coming home from work. I was waiting for the train to arrive and remember looking at the tracks and saying to myself, “I should just jump.” At that very moment, as the express train was zooming by, I heard the still voice of the Lord say to me, “But I’m not ready for you yet.” That was the first time I had ever heard the Lord speak to me. I felt like there was a little hope left in me.
The last time I thought about taking my life was December of 2018. My depression had become so bad all I could do was go to work or church then come home and get in the bed. I barely had energy or desire to eat. I was mad or crying, either simultaneously or interchangeably. My daughters, now grown, were worried about me. One would take me out to eat just to get me out of the house. Another was calling daily just to check on me to make sure I was okay. Those suicidal thoughts began to run rampant in my mind. I figured since my girls were grown, they would be okay now. Yet, I still could not get up the courage to follow through. Now, there were two reasons, my daughters and now there was my growing relationship with the Lord. I had really begun to lean on Him and His Word to help me through my depression. Unfortunately, prayer and meditation were no longer enough to help me.
On March 6, 2019, I decided it was time to get back the life I was supposed to have.
After realizing that I couldn’t rely solely on prayer, meditating and scriptures to help me through my depression and anxiety, I talked with my primary care physician and I began taking medication. Initially, I didn’t want to take medication for fear of becoming dependent upon it. I’m thankful to have a doctor, who not only is a believer but also a support, and she said, “I’m not going to let you become dependent, but you need something to help you with the chemical imbalance.” I had peace in my decision and resolved, “this will not be my life...it’s just a moment in time right now.”
Today, I am living my richest life yet. Worry, anxiety, fear and depression no longer have the control over me that they once did. Every time I think about my journey over the years, I break out in tears of joy and praise because I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the Lord kept me and continues to keep me. I know that He has an extraordinary plan for my life.
Facebook: Kyla M. Neil Instagram: kyla.neilfaithfullyfearless