When I was married and in an abusive situation, I took an overdose of pills right before going to work. My husband was beating me. They took my daughter away. I was looking for a way out. Ten minutes after I took the pills, I knew I had been stupid. I had a good friend who was a nurse and my co-worker. I told her. She gave me stuff to throw up. I was sick for 2 days. I’m glad I told my friend that I had taken the pills. I was 28 years old.

The authorities called me on my 29th birthday, a year later, and told me I could never see my daughter again. I had left my husband and was living on my own. I tried to jump off a bridge. But then I heard a voice telling me, “If I die, who’s going to tell my daughter I loved her?” Guys from my church were looking for me. They knew I liked to walk by the river. They found me. I never tried suicide again after that because I knew that was not the answer.

I was able to get the doctor to understand I was a sick puppy. I convinced the doctors that I needed something for my depression. I knew for a long time I was depressed due to the things that have happened in my life. As a nurse, I knew the criteria for diagnosing depression. I met the criteria:  I didn’t get up out of bed or eat; these were things I should normally do, but I didn’t.  I couldn’t sleep and my eating patterns were off. I admitted that I had suicidal thoughts.

I started taking a drug once I was able to prove to the doctor that I was depressed. That’s pretty interesting and also stupid. They started me off with Prozac. I didn’t know if the Prozak worked. My co-worker said she could notice the difference in my behavior. She could see I was behaving better, more upbeat than normal. When I was sad it was easier to see my depression.  I was on those drugs from the 1990’s and didn’t get off them until 2011. I took myself off them last year, in 2011. My doctor had put me on a low dose of Celexa. I didn’t feel anything. She kept saying to increase the pills, increase, but I wasn’t that trusting of the pills. One of the side effects is: people get more depressed and they commit suicide. That’s not where I wanted to go in my life. Then I found a healing project and different modalities. One of those was Reevaluation Counseling (RC).

I was invited to an RC class. I went a couple of times to the classes, but at first it didn’t work for me. It wasn’t only that I was the only person of color.  I had to face things that I hadn’t ever faced. I wasn’t comfortable with that. Then my friend that had invited me met with me one on one.

The next class I tried had more people of color. When I got into the class and I started learning how to release emotions, how to focus my counseling on a key early incident, I noticed I felt better. And I was still taking the pills. But probably toward November, 2011, I stopped taking the pills.  I was getting more and more into RC. I did more sessions. When I hit on something that was really big and I got a release from that, I didn’t feel depressed.  I figured out if I didn’t feel depressed, I didn’t need the drugs. I got to have sessions 3 or 4 times a week. The more I did counseling, the less I had to take the pills. The last time I filled the bottle was October 2012. I haven’t taken any of them. I haven’t refilled that 90 day prescription and haven’t taken any of them since then. For me, it’s been a process of dealing with the issues that have bothered me.

It felt good that I could do a class or session and then I didn’t feel depressed. It made me realize I didn’t need those chemicals in my body. I told my doctor. I didn’t get the understanding or the backup from her because what I was doing was not the norm. The norm is to go to the psychiatrist and they cut you off.

With RC, you can go back to that point – to deciding- and look at it over and over.  You’re encouraged to do that. I like that feeling that I can go back to it. If I feel sad and depressed, I can call someone to exchange phone time or make an appointment to do an in-person session. You can’t do that with a psychiatrist. They’re very strict: set up an appointment in 3 weeks,   or you go to the psychiatric ward.

There was a night I was in the RC class. I took a suggestion to scream & scream. I screamed until I had no voice. Afterward I felt a release in me: a peace and calm. I felt good. Every time I have a session and have a breakthrough, I have a great feeling. It’s not a feeling I would get if I were on “medication”. RC helps me emotionally and spiritually with my physical healing and wellbeing. I would rather do sessions than take a pill because a session doesn’t have bad side effects. If you have a bad session, you can do another one. With a pill, you could get a negative physical reaction.

I tell everyone about Co-Counseling. You need to try it, it’s different. It’s like you reclaim something about yourself. Something you may have lost. If I had not been introduced to Co-Counseling, my doctor and I would be looking at another psychotropic pill to deal with my depression. I would stay in my bed for weeks, wouldn’t eat, drink, take care of myself. But, that’s not how it is now.  ~~M