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Nancy Virden continued, “Therapy taught me the value of being me, validated those long-hid emotions, and I began to feel safer. When asked if I believed I could improve my health, my answer was no, but still I started to think about it. In September of 2013, I squared off with addiction and trauma at Timberline Knolls Rehabilitation Treatment Center outside Chicago. There I learned how addict behavior had interfered with healthy coping. I left that place with a distinct understanding of powerlessness with regard to food."
Her hardship has strengthened her connection to a higher power.
Nancy explained, “Both major depression and food addiction have served as catalyst for deeper dependency on God. Despite feeling far from him at times because all my emotions, good and not-so-good, were consumed with food, prayer has grown into a meaningful interaction with the Higher Power. I absolutely and unequivocally believe in a Higher Power. That power is, believe it or not, in a God who thought to be one of us; of course, I am speaking of Jesus Christ. He is my Higher Power because I know he walks with me, and he has never left me alone. Because his crucifixion and resurrection is proof of God's love for me, my hope is not just for a better life, it is an eternal hope.
I have my Higher Power to turn to each day; he helps me when I cannot help myself. He is the reason I am alive, and gives me the strength to say no when food calls my name.”
Nancy wants to share her testimony to help others.
“Sensitivity to people with shared pain drives me to tell my story publicly and in writing. My message to people struggling with depression and perhaps suicidal thoughts is to wait for the beauty. When it seems as if the path ends in a big hole, it doesn't; the miracle is around the bend. To people with food (or any) addiction, I speak of hope and the innate value of their lives, reminding them they are worth fighting for. I stand as an example of profound recovery; do not judge or dismiss anyone with mental health or addiction issues. Not only can I openly share with those who need realness and honesty from someone who has been in dark places, I can now also feel, and relate to what is happening inside myself without escaping my reality through food."
Therapy has gifted clarity.
She described, “In Pennsylvania I found a mental health organization that emphasizes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). A specialist in that field walked me through a new thinking process that allows me to exchange false and negative beliefs for reality. My individual therapist helps me to apply that new insight to everyday challenges. Also, a support group for food addicts has provided me with substantial help in that area.”
Nancy talked about the books she has authored. In her words, “My first book covers one year of my life. Called to Live: A Chronicle of Recovery After Attempted Suicide, shows the process of a major depressive episode as it occurs, not in hindsight. My second book, Always the Fight: A Living Testimony of What Only God Can Do, is my take on the sovereignty of God with regard to life's struggles. They Were Real: Short Story Gateways Into the Thoughts of Bible Characters, was released December 30. It takes key moments in the experiences of ancient people, and adds what the person may have been thinking or feeling at the time. I could not have written this before I learned to experience emotions.”
You can interface with Nancy via her website to gain insightful information.
Her closing words, “My website is NancyVirden.com and features a bi-weekly blog on depression, suicide, and how to be supportive to a loved one who is depressed. Information on what I offer to a group as well as a list of events is also on the site.
When it comes to major depression, it is vital to get professional help. To start, seek a medical specialist, a psychiatrist, and take the prescribed medications. Then reach out for support via talk therapy; I recommend CBT therapists because it is statistically the kind of therapy that works.
For anyone struggling with an addiction, support is your answer, too. Get to a recovery meeting and allow the wisdom there to guide your next steps. If you need rehab, do not postpone it.
Life begins today! You will never get yesterday back, and unless you change, tomorrow will be the same. Change is difficult but possible. Well-being is a challenge to maintain and it is worth it. Surrender to God can seem useless although it is the only way.
Diets will never solve a food addict's problems because they place our hope in losing weight. When our hope is in losing old thought patterns and beliefs, inner change occurs, recovery begins, and weight takes care of itself. I'm halfway to my goal weight, but almost 180 degrees from who I used to be.
Depression and despair can be results of lost or misplaced hope. When I put my hope in food and escaped from feelings, I added to my suffering instead of finding healing. Now the disease of major depression is manageable, and food nourishes rather than destroys my health.