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Anxiety and Depression Gone After 30 years!

Randy Rudder


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“I was never able to be that little girl. That innocence was taken from me at a very young age just because I was trying to protect my mom,” Sheila said. “I became the mother basically. And that's where the anxiety built up, because I never had stability. It was always, 'What's going to happen next?'"

As a young girl, Sheila Swartz lived in constant fear of the abuse inflicted by her father on her and her mother. His temperament was often fueled by alcohol. “The drinking would be overpowering for him because he couldn't stop, one after another,” she recalled. “And it was just hard for him to even be able to quit. And when he got like that, he was very mean.”

These early experiences set in motion a lifetime of anxiety, fear, and PTSD. “I had two sisters. So I was always the protector. I was always the one hiding them in the closet when my mom and dad would start fighting or, you know, those kind of things.”

Sheila did have a refuge at her grandfather’s farm. Her grandparents also sent her to church camp where she heard about the love of Jesus. “There were a lot of happy memories with me and my grandfather. He would always take me everywhere with him--just learning about God started very young with him and my grandmother. We would ride the church bus over to Shade Gap to go to church,” she recalls. “Camp Joyel was awesome cause that was my way, that was my out, you know, I, I didn't have to worry about anything.”

The early events of her life, however, led her to enter into a hasty marriage at 18. “Then my anxiety really, really started, getting bad to where I was not functioning at all,” she says. “I tried to reach out with God going to church with some friends and just staying in the Word. It was hard for me to be able to, um, get through all the traumatic, um, experiences that I've had. I was hospitalized for anxiety disorder, and panic disorder, and depression.”

The marriage ended in divorce. At one point, she only weighed 90 pounds due to her emotional disorders. Sheila married a second time at 23 and had two children. She sought various medical options, but nothing helped. “My medicines that I previously was taking did not work anymore,” she said. “They tried me on several different medicines and I still was not able to get better. It made me worse.”

Sheila’s second marriage also ended up falling apart. She continued to deal with her debilitating illness for thirty years. In 2020, she reached her breaking point. “It was the hardest thing in my life that I had to get through,” she recalls. “My son, he had a drug addiction. And that was hard. And that affected me internally and I wasn't dealing with that. It was my job. It was COVID. It was, everything was hitting me at once.”

One day in her bathtub, Sheila cried out to God to heal her. “I surrendered my whole self to Him, because, there’s nothing else when you get to that point. I said, ‘Please God help me because I don't know what to do. I don't have anyone, I didn't have my parents, I didn't have their support. I didn't have anyone in my life. It was bad.”

That day, God answered Sheila’s prayer. In an instant, she was delivered from her anxiety. “I felt the Holy Spirit come inside of me, like, you have never felt anything in your life,” she says. “It's a feeling that you will never forget. And that is when he gave me the gift of speaking in tongues. And that's whenever I felt the most strength come through me. And then I started healing day after day.”

SInce then, Sheila has not had any more anxiety attacks. She also knew she had to deal with the past and her resentment towards her father. “I needed to forgive my father. And I knew that I needed to do that,” Sheila says. “But I asked the Lord to help me to love like Him, and be like Him, and walk like Him, and talk like Him. And He did put that softness in my heart for me to be able to forgive.”

The freedom and peace she now enjoys have helped Sheila in every area of her life. She is engaged and looking forward to her upcoming wedding “He's a Christian man. This is how God works. So I'm very happy. My children are happy. They love him. And we we're going to have a beautiful life together now.”

She said she no longer sees the world as a fearful place. “I view the world as a beautiful creation that God has made. And that I want to enjoy every second, every minute, every hour,” Sheila says. “I want to be able to stop and smell the roses as a lot of people say, and be able to do that. See the ocean, and those waves, and the beach. I couldn't even enjoy a sunset. And now I look out and see the sun and I thank God for the air that I breathe and the sun shining. My life is so much better now only because He's in it and I'm able to live my life for Him.”

She is also excited about ministering to others who suffer from PTSD and anxiety. He will heal you. Go to Him,” Sheila says. “He doesn't love you more than me or me more than you. He loves everyone the same. And He really wants to be there for you. You just need to go to Him and ask for His help. He's the only person that can give you that complete wholeness feeling or that feeling of completion. He'll never leave you. He'll always be there for you. If you just open your heart to Him.”

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About The Author

Randy Rudder

Randy Rudder received an MFA in creative writing from the University of Memphis and taught college English and journalism for 15 years. At CBN, he’s produced over 150 testimony and music segments and two independent documentaries. He lives in Mount Juliet, Tennessee, with his wife, Clare, and daughter Abigail.