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My Faith Journey

All my life I knew there was something missing in my life.

I have always felt so lonely, empty, and like I did not belong anywhere. I had a void that needed to be filled. In my early 20's I began to have panic attacks. I have been married 3 times and divorced twice. My first two husbands were wife batterers. My father has bipolar disorder and has always denied anything was wrong with him and refused treatment, as a result he was very depressed, angry, and abusive. My mother was very unhappy most of the time.

My mother is Catholic and my Father is a lost wandering soul. My father has never found a Church to call home so far. When I was a child my Father went from church to church in search of truth but instead finding fault in each and every one. If he did not find fault in the doctrine of the church then he would in the people.

My father forced me to attend the Mormon Church and to get Baptized Mormon. I knew in my bones that it was not a Christian Church. I did not feel the presence of the Holy Spirit. The atmosphere in the Mormon Church was not uplifting or comforting at all. My father would not allow my mother to raise my brother and I Catholic. She was forbidden to talk about the Catholic doctrine with or teach us to pray the Rosary. My Father disposed of my Mothers Rosary and took away her Catholic Bible.

My Father did take us to Mass about 3 or 4 times though and I will never forget knowing that I was at home. The atmosphere was incredible in the Catholic Church. It was one of warmth, compassion, very holy, and sacred. I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit. However, my Father found fault in the Catholic Dogma and members of the Parish as well. He believed the common misconceptions of the Catholic dogma. He continued his search and changing religions. As a result, I was turned off to religion for years afterwards.

I felt so isolated and empty most of the time. I could feel completely alone in a crowed of people. Something was missing in my life. I began to drink to numb the pain and try to fill the void. Drinking was destroying my family. I was so unhappy and discontent with my life and my marriage was falling apart. I felt that my life was so out of control. I despised the person that I had become. I felt as though my life was meaningless and worthless.

Then, in October 1998 I went to the International Festival at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church. My daughter felt drawn to the church as well as I did. We attended Mass the next day and the rest is history! I joined the RCIA class and was Confirmed Catholic at 30 years of age! My RCIA instructor taught me to not look at the people but to the Saints and Christ as an example of how to live. He taught us to go to church for the spiritual feeding not for the other people. I reflect on that often. I finally felt like I belonged somewhere. I do not feel out of place in the Catholic Church I feel so at home.

In November of 1999 I hit rock bottom. I am so thankful that I had my faith to hold on to. My faith and the teachings of the Catholic Church is what kept me from committing suicide. I had a plan and everything of how to kill myself. A friend at church recommended that I go to Catholic Charities for counseling. I did and they saved my life!

I found a helpful therapist that I saw for a year and she referred me out to a wonderful Catholic Psychiatrist! He is so comforting and the Psychologists that work with him are just as good. I feel so comfortable with them and it really helps. In January of 2000 I found out that I have Bipolar Disorder. I felt as though they had told me that I had a fatal disease. It was a hard blow! I worked and prayed through it.

My faith saved my marriage. My daughter received her First Communion in May of 2000 and is now an Alter Server. She loves the Catholic Church. She loves to serve the Lord by assisting the Priest on the Alter at Mass. I am so proud of her. My life is continuing to improve and my faith is growing stronger each day since I found the Catholic Church. I now see a wonderful Psychologist that works side by side with my Psychiatrist, which is really helpful. The Psychologist is also Catholic and it is very comforting to me that we share the same faith. I am getting over my dark past.

My faith is growing and my life has changed for the better since Christ is in my life now. I have also learned how powerful prayer is and that has had a positive impact on my life. I am now comfortable talking about my mental illness. I find that the more I talk about it the better I feel. It is my goal that by being open about it that I can help others and break the stigmatism of mental illness. It is the power of prayer and my belief in the Lord Jesus Christ that gets me through each day. When my medications fail me and I am scared and overwhelmed I turn to God for strength. When I feel a Panic Attack coming on I start praying for strength and asking the Angels to come to my rescue. I love the Lord and I know that with Him anything is possible.

My life has changed for the better since I found my home in the Catholic Church.

-- by Andrea Nix
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