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Seeing Light Through a Cloud of Depression

Lauren was the daughter of alcoholics and struggled with depression all her life. She tried to find her worth in overachieving, and put on a happy face until a coworker noticed that there was something more she was trying to keep hidden. Read Transcript

There were times when I did feel, as a little girl,

that I had a lot of burdens to carry.

I remember feeling that I wanted to be somebody else.

And I remember feeling not OK about who I was.

NARRATOR: Lauren Dunn was three years old when her parents, who

were both alcoholics, divorced.

For much of her childhood, she was fearful of her mother's

frequent mood swings.

MOTHER: Who spilled this on the carpet?

LAUREN: I'm sorry, Mom!

MOTHER: You're gonna get it!

I didn't know if she would get angry.

I didn't know if she would get sad.

I didn't know if she would be happy.

And her overreaction would be getting very

angry about a small situation.

And I was left feeling like I did something wrong.

I would begin to just feel wrong about who

I was and wrong in my spirit.

NARRATOR: She had a close bond with their grandmother.

But when Lauren was just 10 years old,

her grandmother died.

The acceptance Lauren once knew was

replaced with feelings of loneliness and depression.

I didn't want to open myself up to experiencing

that level of sadness.

And having lost my grandmother, who

we lived with when I was younger and had

played a major role in my life, I

didn't know how to handle that.

NARRATOR: Lauren learned to stifle her feelings

and try to find a sense of self worth through overachieving.

As a teenager, I really wanted to fit in.

I really wanted to belong.

I wanted to be accepted.

And I felt so worthless.

And I felt so sad.

And so I would study really hard.

I would excel in sports.

And I thought that my value was based on things that I did.

NARRATOR: Lauren's parents went into recovery and got clean.

But Lauren still struggled with depression.

Trying to find purpose and meaning,

she got into relationships with boys, especially ones

with their own problems.

When I was in a relationship with somebody,

I really wanted to fix them if there

was some kind of substance abuse issue, which was often

the case.

I wanted that approval.

NARRATOR: In her senior year, a bad breakup sent her deeper

into depression.

I remember feeling this emptiness,

that something is missing and wanting

to fill this hole and this void.

I just felt worthless, just feeling like my value was

like the dirt.

And I tried to kill myself.

I took almost an entire bottle of Tylenol.

NARRATOR: Lauren was rushed to the emergency room

where she recovered.

Having survived, Lauren decided to become a counselor

to help others who faced similar struggles.

After college, she worked helping people

with coping and life skills.

She loved seeing people come around

but still hadn't faced her own demons.

Some of the dark days for me or what depression

would look like would be if I was sitting outside,

and the sun is shining, and I'm sitting under a porch,

and the porch is blocking the sunlight.

I know it's there.

But I can't see it.

And I can't feel it.

It just feels dark.

NARRATOR: At work, Lauren tried to hide her depression.

But a coworker, Brian, a Christian,

could tell something was wrong and reached out to her.

He spoke of Jesus's love.

And I never felt anything that was condemning or shaming

in what he spoke.

I just heard hope.

And that's what I needed.

NARRATOR: Brian started telling her

of the hope she could have in Jesus.

One day while traveling together on business,

Brian asked her to trust God with her struggles.

He asked if I wanted to commit my life to Christ.

And there was just this brokenness in me.

And I so wanted it to be filled.

I felt-- I just-- I knew that I needed something more.

And I knew that that was the answer.

So we pull over at this place in this parking lot.

And there's this sign that says the right track.

And he prays for me.

And I pray.

And I asked Jesus to come into my life and into my heart.

And from that moment, everything was different.

NARRATOR: Lauren says through prayer and reading the Bible,

she finally realized her worth.

Today I see myself as a child of God.

I see myself as chosen.

I see myself as redeemed.

I see myself as forgiven.

I see myself as pure.

I see myself the way that God sees me.

NARRATOR: Lauren says her recovery was a process.

Christian counseling, along with medication and support

from her loved ones, helped in her battle with depression.

But she couldn't have overcome it without God.

What really changed for me was accepting Christ as my Savior.

It-- There's nothing that can supplement for that.

NARRATOR: Today, Lauren calls the co-worker who

led her to Christ her husband.

And she and Brian are expecting their first child.

Lauren finished graduate school and is now

completing her internship on her way

to becoming a fully licensed professional counselor.

She has a good relationship with both parents.

And her mother is a Christian.

Life with God is a peace that I can't explain.

And that doesn't mean that I don't

have days where I might still feel sad, because I have.

And the difference today is I know who I am in Christ.

I know where I'm going.

And I know whose child I am.

And nothing can take that away from me.

So I don't have to stand alone anymore.

I don't feel alone, because I'm not alone.


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