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The Voice Within

The Voice Within: Breaking the Silence of Depression and Addiction

Copyright © 2018 by Alesia Johnson Sargent and 4-U-Nique Publishing

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. For more information, Email 4-U-Nique@4-U-NiquePublishing.com

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First Edition

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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data



Acknowledgments

To My Daughters:

There will come a time in life where things feel overwhelming. Never think your problems are too big to discuss. Find someone trustworthy to talk to. This book represents the voice that I held within. But your voice doesn’t have to be. I love you all immensely and I hope this book will empower you to speak your voice.

To my Aunt Marilyn:

Thank you for loving me throughout my time of struggles. I never really understood unconditional love, until you showed it to me. There have been times where I knew I disappointed you but there you were still there to show me, love. You’ve been the one constant in my life and for that I love you.

To my cousins, Donna and Lori:

Thank you for being more than just cousins, you’re like sisters to me. You’ve taught me a lot about enjoying life. And you’ve seen me through the struggles and never judged me. I love you both forever.

To my parents:

Thank you for loving me despite all my ups and downs. I love you more than you could ever imagine. And I am forever grateful for all you have done for me.

Preface

This book represents the struggle of a person suffering from severe anxiety, depression, and addiction. It shows how the struggle hindered relationships, growth, and opportunities. This book is to help, open up dialogue and to be a guide to others. It doesn’t necessarily depict who I am today, as I am continually growing and learning more about me. It does, however; represent the path I took to find me. And today, I am happy to say I am comfortable with who I am. I've found it is easier and more rewarding to love than to place labels on others or myself. I will always be a recovering addict and the anxiety and depression are very manageable. I am forever grateful for my support team, which includes my therapist and a few close friends.

The Disclaimer

This book and the subsequent books are not written to discredit those who are in my life, especially my parents. My thoughts are my thoughts. It is not their fault that I wasn't brave enough to ask questions, which caused my brain to have very dark thoughts. My parents raised me the best way they knew how. For that, I am forever grateful and I love them immensely.

I suffer from major depressive disorder and due to not understanding my disorder; I’ve hurt many loved ones over the years. People often think mental illness can be controlled by a person’s willpower, which isn’t necessarily true. Mental illness can, however, be controlled through medication and proper mental health therapy. After many years of searching for a therapist, I found one who has helped me to discover many coping skills. Through coping skills and medication, my manic depression episodes have been reduced.

I always knew my thoughts were dark, but I didn't understand how to voice them to others. It is a daily fight not to succumb to my dark thoughts and my battle with depression and addiction. The Voice Within: Breaking the Silence of Depression and Addiction, was written to help others realize they are not alone. This book’s purpose is to inspire, to encourage and support those who live in a dark world like I did.

The Disclaimer – Part 2

Dating a man that was old enough to be my father wasn’t in the plans of my then Pastors, so they decided to introduce me to David, the church’s drummer and college graduate. I looked at him and noticed he had a slight dimple and a beautiful smile. He appeared to be somewhat shy like I was, but I was willing to approach him. Besides, I was a college student majoring in Electrical Engineering and I could use some help in math. He gave me his pager number and said to call him whenever I needed help. One day, I put my shyness aside and paged David. It was a raining evening and he had been on my mind for some time. David called within a few minutes and the sound of his voice made my heart skip a beat. We talked briefly but I knew, at this point, a relationship was brewing. David was all that I was looking for in a man. He was a churchman, college graduate, worked out and had a career job. He was eleven years older than me but I didn't mind. He was thirty-one and I was twenty. Our relationship was good. We were good. I wanted, just like many young women, a fairy tale wedding and a lifetime of a beautiful marriage. I was a devout Christian so no sex before marriage and no shacking up. David and I married a little over two years after we dated and shortly after we started a family (We had a son from David’s previous relationship). Life at this point was a fairy tale. I never believed that one day it would come to a screeching halt.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

Preface

The Disclaimer

The Disclaimer – Part 2

The Story of the Beginning of the End

The Struggle of Depression

Reminiscing

Ambiguous Life-Discovery of Me

Sharing the Life

The Sea-Saw Game

The Beginning of the End

The Struggle of Addiction

The Eloquent Writings of the Voice Within

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

4-U-Nique Publishing

The Story of the Beginning of the End

Date: June 28, 2008 at 12:20pm

Prelude

What you are about to read are my thoughts pertaining to my relationship with my husband, David. This explains some of my pain, which has engulfed my life throughout the past six years. This story is not to put blame on my church or Pastor Stephen Mitchell. In my “normal” state, I am fully aware of the amount of time and effort that is put forth to reconcile my estranged marriage by my pastor. I am aware of the scriptures from the Holy Bible, and that the word of God encourages “His” people to endure through life’s trials and tribulations. The scriptures also show us God’s unconditional love. Understanding the word of God is essential because it shows a true battle of a believer that is plainly written in the book of Galatians 5.

The Story

At some point in life, there is a period of sadness. Whether it stems from the death of a loved one, a time when money is scarce to take care of daily needs, or anything that attacks the heart with anguish. Most of life should consist of happiness, joy, and peace. So, when most of your life is filled with sadness and very little of your life is holding on to an ounce of happiness; it then weighs heavily on your body, mind, and soul. I am sure that most of the sadness felt is consistent with one not being able to rid their mind of the cause of the pain felt. Releasing that hurt is difficult once it has a grip of the heart with such constriction similar to a boa constrictor snake gripping its prey. As time goes on, it is more difficult to release the pain. The heart is more likely to take on other pain that life’s challenges bring, that could’ve easily been shaken off if there wasn’t a grasp already present.

In my situation, the pain increased as time went on due to my inability to eliminate the stresses of life challenges. Initially, the lack of my husband’s ability to be a proper provider caused great stress upon me. I felt like I had to step in where he didn’t, this didn’t allow my husband to grow as the head. Which was my fault because I allowed myself to be put in the position of the “head of household”.

My husband did not spend adequate time with my daughter and I. (There is more to this story but for the sake of time, I won’t go into it but this is the basis of the situation). Since we now had a family, I felt it was necessary to do the best for the family. So, my daughter and I prepared to leave our home. We were living with my mother and slowly moving things out of the house, a situation happened that I never thought would happen, (ironically, my husband was the one who always said, “Never say never.”).

My husband had an extramarital affair with another woman. I actually caught him with her. One night, she had gone to my soon to be old home to see him. This night happened to be the same night my husband and I talked about reconciling. When I had left for the night, something told me not to go too far and I didn’t. I waited around the corner for a little while and felt a notion to go back to the house. There she was holding my husband’s left hand while she sat in her white car. He was rubbing on her hand as they talked. I am not going to relive all the details because I did ultimately forgive him for the turmoil he put me through. Even though I forgave him, I learned that forgiveness doesn’t mean the hurt goes away simultaneously. After four years, the pain was still gripping my heart.

Eventually, we reconciled and had two more daughters, however, I was still not happy. The sadness has been taking control of my quality of life and sometimes overwhelmingly. Shortly after we found out that I was pregnant with our youngest daughter, a friend recognized my husband with another woman at a local apartment parking lot. It turned out to be the same woman he initially had the affair with. I was again devastated and the thoughts of the previous affair were rekindled. This situation tore me up, literally.

The thoughts…oh the thoughts. The thoughts of him sleeping with her. The thoughts of him lying about the entire situation. The thoughts of me being pregnant with our third child. The thoughts of being a single mother. A single mother! I never expected to raise children alone. I didn’t know how hard or how painful it is to be a single parent. I have cried for many days and many nights. I feel this pain almost daily. My children mean the world to me. They are my therapy, despite the drama I go through with them. I don’t know what I would do if I ever lost any of them. They help me get through life a lot better because life for me right now is not pleasant.

I see my husband about 2-3 times a week, usually when we go to our two weekly services at church. Church is another issue that is painful. The separation between my husband and I has not only caused a rift between us, but also a rift between the church and me. Most of the members are friendlier to him. Only a few actually talk to me with conversations that have more than just “Good morning”. The situation with my husband and I have inevitably caused all of my duties at church to be relinquished (now I have some of them back).

I can’t handle the anguish I feel when situations arise between my husband and me in front of people. I lose it. I don’t know what I am doing or saying. It’s like I am a different person and I can’t control her. I have yelled out things in front of people that I shouldn’t have. I have acted in ways that were inappropriate. I know my actions were not pleasing unto God. I am deeply regretful for the way I’ve acted in front of people, children, and in particular my children.

*This is the time where I am crying uncontrollably*

I was mostly bothered at the fact my husband repeatedly shared with me and my pastor, his interest in reconciling with me, and I shared the same interest. His actions clearly don’t show his interest. He is always doing things for the church but neither for his girls nor me. Being a servant at church is good but when your household is torn apart, then your household should be the top priority.

“I am weak”. I can’t endure the pain that is experienced when I take notice of him diligently and faithfully working for the church. I am aware that this is not the fault of the church. My husband has the ability to make his own decisions. He chooses to do things of the church but I can’t help to think, “what if he didn’t have a choice?” What if he didn’t have any responsibilities in the church? Would he fulfill his responsibilities as a husband or father? Or, would he fall into a slump because he is not working in the church? Well, that is something I don’t know the answer to.

I try hard not to think about how I am being treated. When the pain is gripping your heart with no apparent release, your mind tends to follow the same path. I try with all diligence not to let this affect me for the sake of my children and myself. I ask, how would you feel if your spouse is not living up to being the spouse, you desired or the person they should be according to God’s word? All I want is my husband’s unconditional love for me, to be there for me in every aspect of my life. I wanted my husband to be the protector of our home, leading his family in the path orchestrated by God, helping me raise our girls in a Godly manner. He does little of that now, even though he says he wants to reconcile.

My husband has reconciled with the church but not his family. The church loves him unconditionally because when he failed they surrounded him with love. They embraced him with open arms. Which is fine, however, when I failed in some areas, I didn’t get the same response within the church. They think that he takes care of his children but he doesn’t do a very good job at it. Where was my husband when I needed him the most? When our two-year-old becomes extremely difficult to handle, and our baby girl requires attention all the time, and our five-year-old is having a tantrum because she can’t have what she wants. He is almost never there.

I hurt! I hurt to see him drive to church at least twice a week and he doesn’t come to see me, I live about 5 minutes away from the church. It hurts to see him communicating with others but not even call me in a workday to see how I am doing. He almost never calls to see how his children are doing. My children see my hurt. I am tired of hurting. I am tired of not being able to be as good as a mother as I can. Our pastor wants us to reconcile but I feel like my pastor shouldn’t allow my husband to do all the work he is doing in the church. My pastor said that he was going to pull him back from certain things, and wanted us to sit as a family while in church. That lasted a short while and my husband was back in the sound booth again…

I am in a never winning battle with the church. I can’t compete with the church or the pastor.

Please forgive my uncontrollable ramblings of how much my husband doesn’t do for me or his family. Let me interject, when I forget something at the store or when I am sick he does help. When I have to work on Saturdays that I am scheduled to have the girls, he watches them for me. He does this most of the time with no problem. I occasionally get some resistance. However, when he tells me that he wants to reconcile, I just expect him to be at my home more often, helping in my many daily duties. These duties cause added stress to my already heavy heart. For a person with little stress factors, these duties probably would not affect them to this extent. Add three children (one whom is a baby and one who is at the stage of getting into literally everything), work issues, church services, projects, chronic aches, and pains from a previous illness and mental anguish from the separation.


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