Bre Hanks

“I see climbing up a mountain with purpose, confidence, and goals, only to come tumbling down the other side down into a dark cavern. It is filled with twists and turns, moments of light, but dead ends, backtracking, and a deep dark hole I never saw coming. I don’t know how to get out. I have to save myself, no one is coming for me. I’m fighting and climbing at this very moment, but I’m making noticeable progress and that incites hope to keep going.

I have always loved tulips. They are my very favorite flower. Flowers hold power in their detail and beauty. It is a secret whisper that if God cares about the intricate details of this little flower, surely He cares about me. Tulips are not only beautiful but hardy! They brave late frosts and still push on to grow and bloom into this enchanting flower! I have experienced a hard frost but have been fighting for 8 years to be well for my family.

I have treatment-resistant depression and anxiety. It cost me my marriage of 14 years. Landed me in graduate school, which I wanted to do someday; but someday can sooner that I thought! I’m going to be a therapist to share the empathy I bought with years of anguish with anyone suffering who needs help too. I’m a single mom trying to raise a 15-year-old boy with Asperger’s and a mustache! My daughter is 12 and is extremely sensitive and has developed separation anxiety, social anxiety, and generalized anxiety. She is truly a warrior and I’m in awe of her determination to push through. Over the last two years since my divorce, my children and I have built a little family of three that shares a sacred bond that can NEVER be broken. I made the decision, not to date or remarry until the kids are out of the house. I don’t want anyone to disrupt the sanctity of the family we have built. We will be a family forever.

Despite my ex-husband leaving our church and me, I have not broken the covenants I made in one of our holy temples that seals my family for eternity. As long as I remain faithful, all the rights and blessings of those covenants will still be granted to me. There is nothing I want more in the world than to make it back home with my children.

I still have treatment-resistant depression and anxiety. I fight every single day just to be okay. I’m functioning at such a basic level it is devastatingly pathetic to me and often leads to the despair that I will never get out of this deep, dark hole. Each time I find my footing, something triggers me and I lose my grip falling back down. I will not quit, though many times I have thought long and hard about how I could and would quit; end this torment and leave everyone better off without me as a burden. But I can’t do that to my kids.

If I don’t teach them the gospel of Jesus Christ then no one will. I have to show them God loves them! I have to keep fighting for them. So I go to my psychiatrist, my therapist, a hypnotherapist, and try every drug under the sun to try to relieve the pain enough to allow me to live and not simply exist. What a terrible waste of a life that would be. God has to have something more in store for me. I’m surviving. I’m trying. I’m working harder at healing my soul than anything else I have ever done in my life. It has to be my first priority because if I can’t help myself, I cannot help others. And I certainly cannot be the mother my kids need and deserve. I will never be what they deserve, but I hope my love is sufficient to meet their needs, fill their souls with light, and give them the courage to face the world because they can never doubt their mother loves them.

I have learned life can ALWAYS get worse. And often it does just when you think it is not possible, it happens. Life is a struggle, but we cannot stay at the bottom of the dark cavern forever. It is not in our nature. We are meant to TRY! We are meant to learn and grow from the experiences life gives us. I have learned to fight each day just to be okay. Others may be accomplishing a million times more, but for me, brushing my teeth is a victory! We keep going and little by little we add a bit more and then a bit more until we are finding the light we lost, the person we once were, and the drive to find the purpose God intended for us.

Had I not experienced more agony and despair than I ever knew was possible, I would not have the unique empathy to sit in the sorrow and heartache with those who are suffering too. It was a hefty price to pay for such a gift, but it made all of the unbelievable hurt for not. I am in an unusual position to relate and understand clients, as I become a therapist to provide for my family as a single mom, to guide them to healing, hope, and ultimately the peace we all seek.”

- Amber

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