In another post I told you about depression from the viewpoint of blogger Darren Rowse of ProBlogger,com. He shared how he has dealt with depression, steps that I endorse and recommend to my patients. In this post I talk about another public person who has depression and uses her insights to help others.
Sheila was an accomplished singer when she became co-host of The 700 Club. She seemed to be at the peak of her career publicly but privately she was careening downward. One evening she left the studio on the verge of suicide and checked into a mental hospital .
Since then she has lived with depression but not under the weight of depressive feelings.
” After entering the hospital, Sheila went through therapy and evaluation. Along the way, she discovered things about herself that were harmful. For example, when she was unable or unwilling to deal with what was true about her life, she buried it.
“You can try for years to deny the things that are tearing at your soul, but they will not go away. They thrive in the shadowlands, and if you don’t deal with them, they will one day deal with you.”
Her doctor determined that she was severely clinically depressed. She had all the classic signs:
loss of memory,
loss of appetite,
overwhelming feelings of hopelessness,
loss of emotional control, and
an unbearable sadness.
Sheila’s doctor helped her understand that mental illness is a reality, a treatable reality, and there is no shame there. Through prayer, reading the Bible, therapy, and medication Sheila began to manage her depression. At the end of thirty days, Sheila left the hospital and returned to CBN to say goodbye. ”
staying in touch with trusted friends who “know all about me”
“a kind supportive boss”
In this interview with her former boss, Pat Robertson, Sheila explains how his kind and caring support, medication, and her faith helped her overcome depression .
These are all similar to things Darren mentioned in his article- exercise (walking), getting a dog, telling friends and family, medication, and prayer/meditation.
(This post contains affiliate links which, by paying a commission if used for a purchase, help fund this blog. )
How Sheila was “Loved Back to Life”
In this book, Sheila tells her story of her recovery from depression.
Sheila’s “Unexpected Grace”
I enjoyed Sheila’s story about supporting her mother-in-law through a cancer diagnosis.
“Unexpected Grace is a tender account of the relationship between a mother and daughter-in-law and how they discovered extravagant grace in the midst of what could have been the most tragic experience of their lives. Their story will encourage you and help you see how God can bring good out of even the bleakest circumstances. “
If you are depressed and thinking about or planning suicide, please stop and call this number now-
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255
watercress words-exploring the HEART of freedom from depression
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Like me, Kristin Chenoweth was born and raised in Oklahoma; unlike me, she is an award winning singer and stage, screen, and television actress. She is loved and admired here in our home state, being an inductee into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame, as well as the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame.
From the opening paragraph, Kristin is candid, no nonsense, transparent, and hilarious. She’s one of those “you never know what she’s going to say next” people and you don’t want to miss any of it. She is just as up front sharing her failures as she is celebrating her successes.
This part of the country is referred to as the “Bible belt” and Kristin admits to reading and believing it. So don’t be surprised when she mentions and even occasionally quotes from the Bible in her memoir. Like when she talks about the circumstances of her birth.
Kristin’s faith and family
Kristin was adopted at birth by a couple who had one child but were unable to have more. She describes herself as the product of “forbidden love.” Her biological mother was an unmarried flight attendant who became pregnant. Instead of abortion or raising a child alone, she opted for adoption. Kristin joined the Chenoweth family soon after birth.
Her adoptive parents have loved her and supported her career and she is immensely grateful to them.
Rather than being angry or bitter, Kristen is grateful to this woman who she says was kind enough to “let me go”. To illustrate, she tells a Bible story from the Old Testament about the wise King Solomon. It goes like this.
One day two women (prostitutes in some Bible versions) came to King Solomon, and one of them said:
“Your Majesty, this woman and I live in the same house. Not long ago my baby was born at home, and three days later her baby was born. Nobody else was there with us.
One night while we were all asleep, she rolled over on her baby, and he died.
Then while I was still asleep, she got up and took my son out of my bed. She put him in her bed, then she put her dead baby next to me.
In the morning when I got up to feed my son, I saw that he was dead. But when I looked at him in the light, I knew he wasn’t my son.”
The other woman shouted.
“No! He was your son. My baby is alive!”
The first woman yelled.
“The dead baby is yours. Mine is alive!”
They argued back and forth in front of Solomon, until finally he said,
“Both of you say this live baby is yours. Someone bring me a sword.”
“Cut the baby in half! That way each of you can have part of him.”
The baby’s mother screamed.
“Please don’t kill my son. Your Majesty, I love him very much, but give him to her. Just don’t kill him.”
The other woman shouted,
“Go ahead and cut him in half. Then neither of us will have the baby.”
Solomon pointed to the first woman saying,
“Don’t kill the baby. She is his real mother. Give the baby to her.”
Everyone in Israel was amazed when they heard how Solomon had made his decision. They realized that God had given him wisdom to judge fairly.
She compares her birth mother to the woman who loved her child so much she would rather lose her than see her die. She believes, “The ultimate test of love is letting go.”
Kristin won’t try to find her birth mother, refusing to intrude on her privacy. She hopes she is happy, has a family, and knows how blessed Kristin’s life has been.
Kristin’s personal life
Unlike many entertainment celebrities, Kristin doesn’t seem to have any skeletons in her closet; she has avoided problems with alcohol, drugs, abusive relationships, financial problems, or other scandals.
Kristin makes living with Meniere’s Disease sound like a sitcom. Meniere’s causes dysfunction of the inner ear, resulting in sudden, unpredictable, debilitating attacks of vertigo(dizziness), nausea, and vomiting. Episodes resolves after a few hours or sometimes days.
There is no cure for Meniere’s except a radical ear surgery which might leave her with hearing loss. As a professional singer she doesn’t want to risk that, so she copes with the condition with humor and an unwillingness to let it stop her from fulfilling her work commitments.
Kristin has her serious side, evident as she describes singing at her beloved grandfather’s funeral, and supporting her mother through breast cancer diagnosis and treatment.
She sometimes feels caught between the Christian community which criticizes her liberal social views and her friends with unconventional lifestyles who are turned off by her uncompromising Christian witness. As she puts it, she wants to love and help everyone in the same way Jesus did; she doesn’t want to take sides or exclude people just because they are different.