Friday, 30 November 2007

MY STORY Chapter 11 Life Gets Messy

My young brother had returned to the North of England and I was trying so hard to live the prefect life. I became a perfectionist in everything I did, but also became depressed, agoraphobic and ridden with anxiety. I became afraid to eat and my weight plummeted to a little over 6 ½ stone (about 95 lbs), Anorexia before I even knew the word.

Here began a long road of addictive medication. On my first visit to my doctor, in my innocence I had thought that pills would make me better, so was only too happy to accept all that was offered, even hypnotherapy. The result was that over the next ten years I became addicted to a large number of prescription drugs until I was taking Anti-depressants 3 times a day, Librium 4 times a day and sleeping pills at night. This was in the early 60’s when the addictive quality of these pills was little known. They were the new wonder drugs. I also embarked on 5 years of Psychotherapy at the Tavistock Clinic, London’s leading psychiatric clinic at the time.

I tried to hold down my job and look as normal as possible on the outside whilst getting more desperate on the inside. A meal in a restaurant, a coffee in a coffee shop, a simple day out or a trip to the shops would all end prematurely as I would be overtaken with fear and panic. I suffered deep guilt and loss of self-esteem as I began to see myself as a failure and I could not understand my inability to cope with seemingly ordinary things. My Psychiatrist believed that a lot of my problem was suppressed anger and would do everything to try and get me to express this anger. The more he did, the more I clamped up. None of these treatments really helped me to overcome my current problems. I think the only benefit was that I developed more insight into situations.

During this time we had moved from our rented bed-sitting room to a rented one bedroom flat in Hampstead that was actually the converted top floor of a house, there being 2 flats beneath us. Two things happened while there that made us realise we needed to move on. After a change of tenants in the flat below we began to realise after a while that our telephone bills were higher than they should have been. Also on a couple of occasions I bumped into strange men on the stairs when I had got up during the night. It turned out that the girls in the flat below were running a ‘call girl’ set up and they had been coming into our flat during the day when we were at work to use our telephone.

So in 1965 we left London and bought a house in the north eastern suburbs. I was fortunate enough to be transferred from my position in a large London General Hospital to a local Geriatric Hospital where I worked as an assistant to the then Social Worker. Not too long after I started working there she moved on and after applying or her post and being successful, I became the Social Worker, taking care of the practical needs of 450 patients with the help of a secretary.

Unknown to anyone else I was becoming sicker and more reliant on medication to cope. I knew I needed help, that areas of my life were out of control, but how could I get back to that place where I knew that God was in control. I desperately wanted to hand my life back to Him. My answer came in the form of a Billy Graham Crusade in London, it was 1966. It wasn’t that I did not believe myself to be a Christian, just that I saw myself as a miserable failing one who just did not make the grade.

In desperation I persuaded my husband Alan, who was then not a Christian, to take me up to the Haringey Arena in west London. When we arrived the place was full to overflowing and we found a seat on the furthest away row, high up and at the back of the auditorium. When the appeal was given, in spite of the distance and the logistics of getting to the front, I was out of my seat like a shot. I ran for the nearest lift only to find it was being used by the St. John’s Ambulance for a medical emergency. To this day I do not clearly remember how I got to the front, but I did with tears pouring down my face, and I recommitted my life to Christ. Anyone at any time can get on their knees before God and re-commit or repent and ask Him into ones life, but for me at the time I needed to make this public declaration. I do not know how I managed to find Alan afterwards but I obviously did because he took me home.
Was this the end of my trials, definitely not, but it was the beginning of the next step of an incredible journey. God knows what He is doing as He takes us one step at a time, teaching us every step of the way through trials, suffering and joy. He perfects us through our experiences as we walk in the light trusting in Him. He finishes what He has begun and He changes us from one degree of Glory to the next. It may not feel like it at the time but He is a Gracious and Faithful God whose desire is to see us mature and find our completeness in Him. We will see how He does this in the years ahead as we travel through the continuing chapters
Our rented one bedroom flat in Hampstead
It was almost impossible to get two people in the kitchen at once
Very different to how young marrieds start out today
I have always loved reading

Changing hairstyles

This was a Vidal Sassoon


Vee said...

So many of us have Billy Graham to thank for sharing the good news with us. My sister also came to know the Lord through a Billy Graham crusade. I understand the intensity of the call forward; it's unlike anything ever experienced. It's wonderful to know that that moment began the healing process for you. Thank you so much for sharing this part of your story! I look forward, as always, to reading more.

Loved the hairdos, too!

Paula said...

Barbara, I'm speechless. What a testimony. You described it so eloquently. Yea God for sending Jesus to save us who believe in Him. He sure changed my life for the better.
-was that on purpose that you spelt the word perfect wrong in the first paragraph? :)

TO BECOME said...

Barbara, this was a great story. I am so glad that you found the answer. You are a great blessing to many and especailly to me.

Thank you for signing my guest book. I loved your picture. Have a great weekend. your friend, connie from Texas

Susan Skitt said...

Barbara, I just love reading about where God has brought you in your life. Thank you for sharing that, I'm sure it will bless many people as it has me. I have a sister who has stuggled with depression, even knowing the Lord, but he is bringing her through. Prayer is a powerful tool in the hands of Almighty God.

We each have a unique story to tell, don't we? But the one common thread is God is working in our lives always, drawing us to Himself, loving us, caring for us, even when we don't see it at the time.

It's interesting to see what an impact Billy Graham has had through the years. My dad accepted Christ at a young age, but recommitted his life as a teen at a crusade. My dad's been serving the Lord as a pastor and seminary professor for over forty years!

Praise God the Father from whom all blessings flow. Praise our Lord Jesus Christ who made the ultimate sacrifice to save us. Praise the Holy Spirit who comforts and convicts us.

Blessings and joy to you today dear Barbara!

"I will surely deliver you, and your life shall be as a prize to you, because you have put your trust in Me." Jeremiah 39:18

Sara at Come Away With Me said...

Your previous commentors have said it all - and I add my affirmation to everything they have said. Of course, when you got to the part about Billy Graham, I had tears in my eyes. We all know God's grace and how he reaches out and works in our lives, but it is so wonderful and encouraging to read about each story as it unfolds. It reminds us of our own stories and causes us to yearn for those in our lives who have not reached this point to have a deep hunger for God and turn to him. Thank you for sharing.

inspired said...

wow, God bless you :]

Willow said...

Jeremiah 29.11 is one of my favorite verses: I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans to prosper you, not to harm you, to give you a hope and a future.
Recently I heard a speaker say, from his own experience, that sometimes God likes us better when we're weak and willing to listen to Him.

Willow said...

A question for you on a completely different subject: As I was reading your comment about the small kitchen, are there any British magazines focusing on renters, ie, making a rental your 'home'?

Kim S in SC said...

thank you for sharing your testimony. What a great God we serve! I look forward to reading more of your story!
In Him,

Betty said...


I am totally amazed at the turns your life has taken....Isn't it mind boggling how the good Lord takes the good and the bad and enriches our lives......Betty

Melissa @ The Inspired Room said...

Your life sure does take some twists and turns! Quite a story!

Linda said...

Ah, Billy Graham. He certainly has made an impact on the world. I've been to my share of his meetings in my lifetime.

Mike said...

Barbara, thank you for your inspiration, and encouraging me to share mine too.

He finishes what He has begun and He changes us from one degree of Glory to the next.

That is so true! I also love Romans 8:28; it all works together for good if we love God!

God bless. Have a blessed Sunday!

Linds said...

An amazing story, my friend. I am a firm believer that there is a reason for every single trough we wade through, and that God has a plan. Your life is such a wonderful example of this! I can't wait for the next episode.

Susan said...

Barbara, I love your last paragraph. It says it ALL!!!

Interesting to compare notes. We've talked about our similarities. But in 1966 I was being mother to my 2 year old son and 12 & 13 year old daughters. We had moved to Tulsa 2 years ealier and I had just begun working for the Oral Roberts Evangelistic Assn.

Heaven only will tell the full impact of Billy Graham on our world as a tool for Christ.

Lorrie said...

What a wonderful story of how God works to bring his children to the point where they run into his arms.
Thank you for sharing.

Tina said...

Hi Barbara,
What a chapter! And with a very moving and blessed ending. :)
I will be taking pictures of the market soon. This past weekend was impossible due to very rainy weather down here.
Take care.

walklet said...

Thank you for posting this part of your testimony -- it was so encouraging to me today! I have been a christian since 7th grade, graduated from Wheaton College (Billy's alma mater). I'm now 45 and
sometimes still struggling to trust God's plan for me when I am experiencing trials.

Can't remember how I found your blog but I love to read about places in England, how exciting it was to find out you are christian.

Jeanne said...

I love your stories and your photographs...........
Love and hugs to you darling one.
Love Jeanne

Britt-Arnhild said...

Hi Barbara.

Thanks for telling us your story.

Teresa said...

This chapter is so much different than the others. I will see as I travel along in this story, but I am guessing this chapter is very pivotal. God so very good and faithful!!! I am so glad you followed the prompting of the Holy Spirit to go to the crusade, and to go down an publicly rededicate your life to the, Lord. I am interested is seeing just how the Lord delivers you from these drugs. He takes us from faith to faith and glory to glory.

Barbara, thank you for your candidness and honesty.