Crystal overcomes mental hurdles, finds peace in the Lord

Crystal has overcome her addiction by focusing on healing from past trauma, not just coping.

Crystal has overcome her addiction by focusing on healing from past trauma, not just coping.

She has plans for Bible College, motivational speaking, and pastoring

Crystal can’t pinpoint exactly when, as a child, she started to experience depression. But it’s been something that has been a part of her memories for as long as she can remember. “I grew up in a really quiet household,” she said. “There were a lot of secrets and oppression. I recall at a young age, crying in my bed, feeling like I wanted to go home. But I was home. That’s how disconnected I felt in my own household.”

Crystal’s father was an alcoholic and started experiencing major health issues as a result when she was about 3. He died when she was 9. Crystal was also a victim of molestation. “I never spoke about it,” Crystal said. “It happened in numerous places to the point that it was normalized to me. And the silence came from there. I didn’t have a voice in my family. I didn’t have intimate relationships with anyone.”

At 16, Crystal got pregnant. “It was the first time I had encountered a man, and I hid the pregnancy from my mom,” she said. But when she found out, her mom arranged an abortion for Crystal. “I didn’t feel like I had a say,” she said. “There was a lot of fear, and I was raised to be obedient.”

Crystal said she felt betrayed by her mother. “After that, my suicidal tendencies came about,” she said. “My mom didn’t know what to do. She took me to urgent care, and they put me on anti-depressants. That’s how I learned how to cope with life—with pills and substances.”

Crystal started abusing cough syrup and alcohol. “As long as I was quiet and not making trouble, it seemed everything was fine,” she said.

Crystal got into a relationship and had children. “The depression wouldn’t go away,” she said. “Something was always missing, even when it appeared I had everything. It was as if I was haunted with this yearning to find deeper meaning. There was just so much suffering. I felt like I knew God, but He wasn’t for me. It didn’t feel like God would even want me.”

Crystal lost her kids and partner and went on to become homeless. “I fell into the wrong hands,” she said. “I wasn’t street smart. I got used in ways … I felt I wasn’t worth anything. I was trafficked for a month-and-a-half. I had no fight left in me.”

When Crystal escaped, her paranoia escalated, and her mental health worsened. “I couldn’t talk to anyone about what had happened to me, and I couldn’t grip the fact that I needed to heal. I didn’t know what I needed, I just knew I was getting worse and I didn’t have support.”

She was in and out of jail, and was often on psych holds and suicide watch. “During this last time in jail, from lights out to 5 a.m., I’d pray to God to just take me out or to use me,” she said. “I just couldn’t go on knowing I was harming people and harming myself. It was in that breaking that I started feeling like complete liquid. All that was left was a light inside me, and that was God.”

Eventually, she found the Lighthouse. “I had been to another Christian program, and they said my mental health was beyond their scope, because of the labels of mental health,” Crystal said. “But at the Lighthouse, they believed in healing. They know the transformation of God. He will restore because He is a true healer.”

Crystal has been in the Lighthouse’s Life Recovery Program for more than 10 months. She’s planning on entering the ministry resident program and has longer term plans to become a motivational speaker, Christian counselor, and perhaps a pastor.

“It’s like the Bible verse (John 10:26): ‘My sheep know my voice … No one can snatch them out of my hand.’ I felt like He was saying, ‘No one can snatch Crystal from me.’ Only He was able to redeem me. In those unbearable circumstances, I was bearing the unbearable because of Him. He makes beauty out of ashes.”