Series Code: MOC
Program Code: MOC170037A
00:27 Welcome to A Multitude of Counselors.
00:29 We're so thankful you've joined us today
00:31 for our program entitled
00:32 "Escaping the black hole of depression."
00:36 Talking about the experience of our guest today,
00:38 Steve Wohlberg, Director of White Horse Media,
00:41 who had a tailspin
00:43 after many years of good mental health,
00:45 I'm assuming had a tailspin.
00:48 And it wasn't just depression really,
00:50 it was anxiety, it was panic, it was insomnia,
00:53 and a slew of other things came into your experience
00:56 that you've never faced before.
00:58 We're going to hear the story today.
00:59 But I want to start out by just giving you
01:01 a little bit of background, I think that possibly
01:04 one of the most important contributing factors,
01:07 at least at the beginning
01:09 of your tailspin was medication.
01:11 And so I want to talk about drugs and mental health.
01:13 We all know that street drugs, alcohol,
01:16 recreational drugs have mental health effects.
01:20 It's well-known in counseling circles
01:22 that people with vulnerabilities
01:25 towards psychotic disorders
01:26 often experience the onset of a disorder,
01:29 or psychotic break,
01:30 when they take psychedelic drugs.
01:32 I remember in high school kids taking LSD
01:34 and really basically losing their mind after that.
01:37 And so we're all acquainted
01:38 with the dangers of street drugs,
01:40 but what about prescription drugs?
01:42 What we often don't realize is that prescription drugs
01:45 have side effects.
01:47 The doctor told me once all drugs have side effects,
01:50 some drugs have only side effects.
01:52 The reality is that these drugs are very powerful.
01:55 And often the doctors don't have enough time
01:58 to give us all the details about what might happen.
02:02 The other factor is that medicating people
02:05 is kind of like Russian roulette,
02:07 you never know how a particular medication
02:09 is going to affect that particular body.
02:13 So there's so many factors
02:14 that sometimes that person goes home
02:16 and the side effects can be very, very significant.
02:19 It can even happen with herbs.
02:21 I remember a young lady that I was talking to
02:24 was on an herb for depression.
02:25 And ironically enough,
02:27 she developed anxiety
02:29 as a result of the herb that she was on.
02:30 So we need to be aware
02:32 that our bodies are very finely tuned
02:34 and these things are foreign substances
02:36 and they will have an effect.
02:38 There is a diagnosis in the diagnostic manual
02:41 called medication induced
02:44 anxiety disorders, isn't that interesting?
02:46 So the following medications can cause anxiety,
02:48 ready for this?
02:50 Anesthetics, analgesics, ADHD drugs, asthma drugs,
02:55 bronchodilators, insulin, thyroid,
02:57 or oral contraceptives, antihistamines,
03:00 Parkinson's drugs,
03:02 corticosteroids, blood pressure meds,
03:04 antipsychotics and antidepressants.
03:06 Is there anything that's not on that list,
03:08 just about all of them can cause anxiety.
03:10 And we know those of us that deal with depression
03:13 and help people with depression
03:15 that often young adults given even SSRI drugs
03:19 which I consider to be a relatively safe class of drug
03:23 for depression, Kenny,
03:25 in that first month to six weeks
03:27 have an increase in suicidality because of that medication.
03:31 So these are very powerful substances
03:33 and we need to respect that.
03:35 Now sleep medications are notorious for side effects.
03:39 And it's kind of counterintuitive
03:41 that a medication that would is supposed to calm you
03:44 can actually jazz you up so to speak.
03:46 But what's happening is very similar
03:48 to what happens with alcohol,
03:49 and that is that alcohol is a sedative.
03:51 Many people that use alcohol,
03:53 drink it to go to sleep at night,
03:55 but the body in attempting to compensate
03:58 for that sedative effect will become hyper active.
04:00 And I assume something similar is going on
04:03 sometimes with sleep medications.
04:05 So our guest today,
04:07 I think may have had some side effects going on.
04:10 And we'll unpack that
04:11 as we get into your story, Steve.
04:13 But let me introduce my panel first.
04:15 This is my friend Paul Coneff,
04:17 he runs Straight to the Heart ministries,
04:21 and he's a marriage and family therapist
04:23 from Texas.
04:24 So glad you came.
04:25 This is Dr. Jean Wright from Philadelphia.
04:29 He's a clinical forensic psychologist.
04:32 And an amazing guy.
04:33 And this is the beautiful Christina Cecotto,
04:35 a professional counselor from Tennessee.
04:38 And I'm so glad you're here
04:39 because you know a lot about lifestyle medicine too
04:41 and you'll make a valid contribution.
04:43 And then, Steve Wohlberg,
04:45 the director of White Horse Media,
04:47 who's going to tell his story.
04:48 Steve, what in the world, how did you come so unglued?
04:52 A guy that just has so much that he has to keep together?
04:55 What happened?
04:57 Well, if you don't mind,
04:58 I'd like to start with the Bible text.
05:00 And that takes us to the end of the story.
05:02 Thankfully, it ended well.
05:04 Praise God.
05:06 Psalm 40, David said,
05:07 "He brought me up out of a horrible pit,
05:11 out of the miry clay, He set my feet upon a rock,
05:14 He established my steps,
05:15 He has put a new song in my mouth,
05:17 praise to our God, many will see it in fear,
05:20 and will trust in the Lord."
05:22 And I can really relate to that text.
05:24 I've been through a lot of battles in my life
05:27 in different ways.
05:28 But this past summer was a nightmare
05:32 that I can never fully describe.
05:35 I don't understand all the reasons
05:38 what brought me into the crisis.
05:40 I think I've got a handle on some of them.
05:44 I'm a type A personality.
05:45 And so, you know, push, push, push,
05:47 I think some of us can relate to that.
05:50 I have always been a high achiever,
05:51 trying to do a lot of things.
05:53 And I was at the 3ABN camp meeting,
05:56 and I was sleep deprived
05:57 because I was delayed in my travel,
06:00 I got into the hotel 2 o'clock in the morning,
06:04 got up in the morning, went to 3ABN,
06:06 spoke a number of times, when it was over,
06:09 went back to my hotel, packed up, went to bed,
06:11 got up in the morning, went to St. Louis,
06:13 flew to Pennsylvania,
06:15 got my rental car, drove to the camp meeting,
06:18 just in time to get to my hotel room,
06:20 to change my shirt and my tie to go to the camp meeting.
06:23 And I was supposed to speak seven nights in a row...
06:26 PA camp meeting?
06:28 Pennsylvania camp meeting.
06:29 Yeah, conference camp meeting.
06:30 And it was just push, push, push.
06:32 And I had been struggling with some issues,
06:36 tightness in my chest,
06:37 things that I didn't really completely understand.
06:40 And as I was into the Pennsylvania camp meeting
06:44 where I was speaking every night,
06:46 I just didn't feel good.
06:48 I just felt, you know, bad.
06:51 And I was questioning
06:52 whether I should even be speaking.
06:54 When you say you felt bad, physical symptoms?
06:57 Like I said, the tightness in the chest,
06:59 just stamina issues, and just pressure.
07:04 And then in the middle of that one week in Pennsylvania,
07:09 one night at two in the morning I woke up,
07:13 and couldn't go back to sleep,
07:15 and just felt like
07:17 this was more than just a normal,
07:19 you know, nocturnal awakening,
07:21 like people get up and go to the bathroom.
07:23 It just felt like it was more than that.
07:25 And a physician connected to the camp.
07:31 Somebody knew him, he came to my hotel room,
07:34 examined me, I went to his office,
07:36 did a stress test
07:37 and a whole bunch of tests and...
07:38 What were the symptoms you're experiencing
07:40 besides wakefulness for you having part?
07:41 That was the main thing, it's just anxiety, I guess.
07:45 And my stress test was fine.
07:47 I'm a runner, I jog,
07:49 and I mean consider myself in pretty good health.
07:51 I try to eat well.
07:53 And he basically said,
07:54 your blood results look pretty good,
07:57 and you look fine.
07:58 And he recommended taking a tylenol PM
08:01 to help me go to sleep.
08:02 Did you know it was anxiety at the time?
08:06 Well, if you were to ask me at the time,
08:08 are you experiencing anxiety?
08:10 I would have said, "Yes."
08:12 But you wouldn't have known it was a diagnosable kind of
08:14 anxiety or had anything?
08:15 Not really, not really.
08:17 And so it really started with the tylenol PM.
08:20 I mean that was part of what you mentioned the drugs,
08:23 the medications, the sleep meds.
08:25 So I started with that and it's a long story,
08:28 you know, I try to bring it together.
08:29 But he probably was thinking take the tylenol PM tonight
08:32 and then you'll be okay tomorrow,
08:34 but you kept taking it?
08:35 Well, I took it for a fewnights,
08:37 and it helped, and I flew back home,
08:38 and it wore off
08:41 as far as its ability to help me sleep.
08:43 Yeah, you build up a tolerance
08:45 very quickly to these medications
08:46 and you need more of the same to give you same effect.
08:47 That's right.
08:49 And I met a lady on an airplane,
08:50 she work for hospital system, and she,
08:52 we got into a conversation, and she said that,
08:54 "When I'm under stress
08:55 and I can't sleep at night I take ambien.
08:57 So I thought, "Okay. Well, maybe I'll try ambien."
08:59 So went to my local pharmacist,
09:01 when I came back to Idaho after Pennsylvania,
09:04 and I tried the ambien,
09:05 and that worked for a few nights,
09:07 and that wore off and then I talked to
09:09 a couple physician friends of mine that I know,
09:12 and they recommended on a temporary basis trazodone
09:15 and then seroquel, and then I was getting...
09:19 At the same time?
09:20 No, first it was one after the other...
09:22 So off the ambien, please tell me about that.
09:23 Went off the ambien, went on to the...
09:25 I think it was trazodone first
09:26 and then went on to the seroquel
09:28 and part of all of this was that my son
09:32 was getting ready to have his 13th birthday
09:35 on a Sabbath,
09:36 and I was going to baptize him on that day.
09:39 He'd made the wonderful decision to be baptized
09:41 and dad was going to baptize him.
09:43 And as about a week prior to his baptism,
09:46 I was having difficulty sleeping,
09:48 and then I went a whole night late.
09:51 I lay in bed the entire night without sleeping at all.
09:55 And it was not fun.
09:56 Is this the night before the baptism?
09:58 No, it was about a week before.
10:00 And so as we were getting closer to the baptism,
10:03 my anxiety was increasing that, you know,
10:06 I'm going to be in front of a church,
10:08 I'm going to baptize my son, I'm not sleeping well.
10:09 I don't do well sleep deprived,
10:11 I can feel my mind starting to...
10:14 Turn to mash.
10:17 And so I talked to my physician friends and I said,
10:18 "I really need something strong
10:21 because I got to get through this
10:23 at least for now."
10:24 And somebody recommended
10:26 I think if I'm saying it, right, lorazepam or lorazepam,
10:30 which is a benzo and that surely knocked me out.
10:34 So can you just put a pause here
10:35 tell us about benzodiazepines, Christine?
10:38 Benzos are highly addictive.
10:40 Within how many weeks the person addicted
10:42 to benzodiazepines?
10:44 It takes about two weeks before they become addictive.
10:47 But what is really tough are the withdrawal symptoms.
10:50 They're usually worse than the symptoms
10:52 that the person is experiencing and the reason
10:54 why they took the drug in the first place.
10:57 So most benzodiazepines,
10:58 we find people get dependent on them pretty quickly.
11:02 And most people that do counseling
11:04 when they hear benzos are concerned.
11:07 So you were on them for how long?
11:09 About two weeks,
11:10 and I can totally relate to the addiction.
11:15 As soon as I was on it for a few days,
11:17 I thought to myself, I don't want to be on this.
11:18 I want to sleep without this.
11:20 And so one night, I thought, I prayed.
11:22 I said, "God, I'm not going to take it tonight.
11:24 I want to go to sleep. Just You, and me, and my body."
11:27 And 9 o'clock, went to 10 o'clock,
11:30 to 11 o'clock, to 12 o'clock,
11:31 I'm laying in bed and I just thought,
11:33 "Finally, Lord, I need to sleep."
11:34 So I took it.
11:35 And after being on this for about two weeks,
11:39 and there was a lot of things happening inside my head.
11:43 It was just, it was a deepening crisis.
11:46 Can you talk to us about?
11:47 Yeah. Well...
11:48 What were some of the symptoms? But you shrinks here.
11:54 Lack of being able to concentrate?
11:56 I felt like I was losing my ability to think straight.
12:00 And so after about two weeks,
12:04 I remembered that somebody in Pennsylvania had said to me
12:08 as I was getting ready to leave that camp meeting, he said,
12:11 "You need to talk to Dr. Neil Nedley.
12:13 He's an expert on the brain and he can probably help you."
12:19 So I remembered that conversation,
12:21 grabbed my phone, looked at my contact list,
12:23 I'm sure enough, there was Nedley cell
12:25 'cause he's a friend of mine from years ago.
12:28 And I texted him and thankfully he texted me right back.
12:31 And then I called him and thankfully, he answered,
12:34 and we had a conversation, I told them about my symptoms,
12:37 my insomnia, anxiety.
12:39 And then I said to him, "I'm on the lorazepam."
12:43 And when he heard that, this was a life changer for me.
12:47 He said, "Steve, you've got to get down
12:49 here to Weimar right away."
12:51 He said, "We have a 10-day depression
12:53 and anxiety recovery program that we run every month or so."
12:57 And he said, "We take 20 people and we've gotten 19,
13:00 and I can squeeze you in.
13:01 And you got to get here as soon as you can."
13:04 So when we got off the phone, I went to my wife.
13:06 And I told her I've changed my mind
13:08 what we discussed it we were going to go to ASI
13:11 to a big annual convention
13:14 where we had a White Horse Media booth
13:16 and an annual board meeting.
13:18 And I said, "I think I need to go to Weimar.
13:20 And I need to cancel this trip."
13:22 So she was all for it.
13:23 She wanted me to recover.
13:24 And she was concerned about me as well.
13:27 Did she have to run the booth alone?
13:29 No, we had other people there.
13:30 But so anyway,
13:32 when she drove me to the airport,
13:33 she helped me pack.
13:35 By this time my mental state was continuing to deteriorate.
13:38 Somehow I caught my connections.
13:41 And I was picked up at the airport by a friend,
13:45 one of Dr. Nedley's assistance in Northern California.
13:48 And he drove me an hour to Weimar Institute
13:52 in Northern California.
13:54 And during that hour drive, he shared his story.
13:57 He said that there was a time in his life
13:59 where for seven years he was on these medications,
14:04 these sleep meds, and he just was a mess.
14:07 But the Lord brought him through that
14:09 through various things.
14:11 And he said, "Now it's totally gone,
14:12 and I'm back to normal."
14:14 So could you just pause for a second,
14:16 you got really the beginning of it was insomnia.
14:20 And would you say
14:21 that the anxiety preceded the insomnia?
14:23 Yes, but not nearly to the extent.
14:26 As bad as it got.
14:27 As it surfaced after I was on this medication.
14:32 I was on the medication, things just spiraled.
14:35 I'm trying to kind of scale back a little.
14:37 So we're experiencing some insomnia,
14:39 did you develop what we call secondary disturbance
14:41 where I can't sleep and I'm really bothered
14:42 that I can't sleep,
14:44 there must be something majorly wrong with me.
14:45 And did it kind of snowball from there?
14:47 You were getting more anxiety?
14:49 I don't know.
14:50 And I don't really know exactly what,
14:52 you know, even to this day, as I look back...
14:55 You don't know what caused the anxiety.
14:56 I don't know all the reasons,
14:57 Dr. Nedley believes that part of what contributed
15:00 to what he considered
15:01 to be my brain chemistry out of whack,
15:04 was spending so many hours for so many years
15:08 in front of a computer screen.
15:09 And you spend like most of your day?
15:11 Well, I work at the office, and I've got my computer there,
15:13 and I'm always going, I'm writing books,
15:15 I'm doing research, I'm answering emails
15:16 and etc, etc.
15:18 And probably my genetics was part of that,
15:21 I'm a high achiever and the type A.
15:25 What was going on in your family,
15:26 have any anxiety?
15:28 No, no, we have no depression in our family,
15:30 we have no suicidal tendencies, we got nothing like that.
15:34 No, not that I'm aware of.
15:35 Well, it sounds to like as,
15:37 as you were describing your story
15:38 that you were really, really running.
15:40 I mean, you were off the plane, on another,
15:42 and you were getting into a hotel,
15:43 I mean, you barely had time to change.
15:45 I was putting myself too hard, and I woke up,
15:49 and I couldn't sleep in Pennsylvania,
15:51 I took the advice of the well meaning physician
15:53 and I started with the tylenol PM,
15:55 one thing led to another,
15:57 I went an entire night without sleep.
15:59 I finally got on lorazepam, and told Dr. Nedley,
16:02 this is what I was doing, I was rerouted to Weimar,
16:07 and one of the first things
16:09 he did was he took me off the lorazepam
16:11 and he put me on something else
16:12 that he said it's easier to get off of.
16:15 And he did a blood draw,
16:16 nine blood draws, not him himself,
16:18 but his assistants, nine blood draws.
16:20 Took my blood pressure when I got there,
16:22 it was 195/114, if you can believe that.
16:27 I was having severe anxiety attacks.
16:29 I didn't know what was going on.
16:30 I was confused and Dr. Nedley said,
16:32 "We got to get you off this benzo."
16:34 And he warned me.
16:35 He said, "You're going to go through severe withdrawals
16:39 for about two weeks
16:40 as you're getting off this medication.
16:42 And I went through this entire program.
16:44 It was a 10 day program.
16:46 He kept me there another week
16:48 because I just wasn't ready to go home.
16:50 And during those 10 days, I mean,
16:51 it was a combination of hydrotherapy
16:55 and a lot of exercise and plant based natural diet
17:00 and just a whole host of things that were good for my body.
17:03 Were you allowed to have your computer?
17:05 They took away my cell phone?
17:06 Everything? Everything.
17:07 Except for 45 minutes at night, or maybe half hour
17:10 when I can call my wife and my kids.
17:11 But no computer the whole time? No, nothing.
17:13 So what was that like to no computer, no work?
17:15 It was wonderful.
17:17 Your emails are piling up, all these jobs like you...
17:19 Yeah, well, by this time, you know,
17:22 I took the depression test when I got there.
17:24 And I scored very high
17:25 that I was very, I was depressed.
17:27 And it was the insomnia, you know, wasn't sleeping.
17:30 I was on the benzo,
17:32 and my future just looked very, very dark.
17:35 And that's what I was going to say.
17:36 Is there a whole bunch of cognitive factors
17:38 that come along with depression,
17:40 you have to have a certain belief system.
17:42 So I'm not hearing anything about that.
17:43 What were you... Yeah.
17:45 Inside of my head was telling me
17:47 that I may not get out of this,
17:50 that I'm never going to get back to normal.
17:52 So you were disturbed...
17:53 And that's why I was just so,
17:54 you know, and I think the medication
17:56 I mean, all of this happens so fast.
17:58 I'm not prone to depression, I'm not prone to these things.
18:00 But it all just hit me
18:02 like a ton of bricks in a short time.
18:05 And before I knew it, I was in a hole.
18:07 So it was all concerned about the condition you were in,
18:09 but there was no belief about the other aspects of your life.
18:13 It was mostly disturbance about being so disturbed?
18:16 I think so.
18:18 I mean, some people get depressed
18:20 because, you know, like, if you have an affair,
18:21 and you've done something you shouldn't be doing,
18:24 or you lose your job, or...
18:25 I was depressed because I wasn't sleeping.
18:27 You were depressed because you were depressed.
18:28 I didn't think I was going to get out of this.
18:30 And I thought things began to,
18:33 I started having this sense of hopelessness.
18:36 You didn't see any light at the end of the tunnel.
18:37 I didn't see any light. That's right.
18:38 And I thought, you know, I'm probably going to die.
18:41 You know, if I don't get out of this, I'm going to die.
18:44 And not only that,
18:45 but there was not just one night without sleep,
18:47 there was more than one night.
18:48 And the worst part during those 10 days,
18:51 or two weeks when I got off lorazepam,
18:53 and I can tell you more about this
18:54 if you want to ask, but...
18:56 Now we want to hear about getting out of the lorazepam.
18:58 At one point I went four when I was at Weimar,
19:00 I went four nights in a row without sleep.
19:05 And every morning 5:30
19:07 there's a knock on the door saying,
19:08 "It's time for exercise."
19:09 And I had to push myself and exercise
19:12 and go through all of the different things
19:14 that are part of the program
19:15 which were really good for me and the body
19:17 to just, you know, like,
19:19 especially the hydrotherapy going in the hot tub
19:21 and then the ice cold water,
19:23 and back in the hot tub and the cold water,
19:24 and the hot tub and the cold water,
19:26 three to five times, twice a day,
19:28 two or three times a day.
19:30 The program is designed to reboot your life,
19:33 but because I was getting off the medication,
19:36 and I wasn't sleeping, you know,
19:37 during those two weeks, I mean, it was a nightmare.
19:42 Do describe what was going on?
19:44 Well, first of all, I am already thin,
19:46 but I lost quite a bit of weight,
19:48 I had no appetite for food.
19:51 Did you eat anyway? Yes.
19:52 I forced myself to eat every meal.
19:54 I forced myself to eat.
19:56 I wasn't sleeping at night.
19:58 Did you engage socially with people?
19:59 Yes. You did?
20:02 Was that difficult? Was that?
20:06 I think it's just part of my nature, it's just,
20:08 you know, it's just the way I am.
20:10 When you talk to people at that time,
20:11 did you talk to them about how hopeless you felt?
20:14 Or did you talk to them about White Horse Media?
20:15 We talked about different things.
20:16 So there was another man that was very,
20:18 he was going through benzo withdrawals,
20:19 like I was and he and I really buddied up together,
20:22 we would take walks on the trails together,
20:24 we used to talk...
20:25 Did you go in as Steve Wolhberg
20:27 the mighty warrior for God with White Horse Media
20:30 or did you go and as a broken man?
20:31 How did you connect with people socially?
20:33 I went there as a broken man.
20:35 I believe in truth and truth told me,
20:39 I'm in big trouble.
20:40 And there were times when I mean
20:43 and I started having just, you know,
20:45 as you lay awake on your bed all night,
20:49 you can't sleep.
20:51 I don't know whether these were actual voices
20:53 in my head from the devil himself.
20:56 I strongly believe that
20:57 we wrestle not against flesh and blood,
20:59 but against principalities and powers,
21:01 and that there are real forces of evil,
21:03 and I heard those voices inside my head.
21:04 What did they say?
21:06 They laughed at me, they just said,
21:08 "Ha-ha-ha, you're not going to sleep,
21:10 you're never going to get out of this,
21:11 you're done.
21:13 And in the morning I'd hear this "Ha-ha-ha."
21:14 I've got you now Steve Wolhberg and I'll see you tonight.
21:17 When you go on your bed,
21:18 you're not going to sleep, "Ha-ha-ha."
21:21 So sleep, you almost developed an association,
21:23 negative association with sleep itself.
21:25 Or we trying...
21:27 I was just, I was terrified to go back to bed
21:30 because I thought, what if I lay there all night,
21:33 and I can't sleep.
21:34 And I'm just thinking about Bible verses
21:38 because I'm feeling this battle inside my head
21:40 in the middle of the night.
21:42 I'm feeling these forces trying to take over.
21:45 And I'm just thinking,
21:46 "No, Lord, you've got to bring me through this."
21:48 And what brought me
21:49 through this whole period was promises, Bible promises.
21:53 And there's many of them, "I could just rattle off,
21:55 I will never leave you nor forsake you come to me,
21:57 I will give you rest.
21:59 I am with you. I will restore you to health."
22:01 Jeremiah 30:17.
22:03 "I will restore you to health, I will heal you of your wounds.
22:05 And I was relying on those promises.
22:07 And I even had suicidal thoughts.
22:09 I mean, I had thought saying,
22:10 you might as well just take your life,
22:12 you're never going to get out of this.
22:14 And I've never had those thoughts before.
22:16 And I had this picture of my son Seth and my daughter
22:20 on my dresser in my room at Weimar.
22:22 And I looked at that picture.
22:24 And I thought to myself,
22:26 "If I take my life, you know, what am I going to do?
22:29 What's that going to do to Seth?
22:31 What's that going to do Adel?
22:32 And what's that going to do to my wife?
22:34 What's that going to do to my 89-year-old dad?"
22:37 You know, he's going to go down his grave, you know,
22:40 thinking that his son killed himself.
22:41 So I thought never.
22:43 And I just told the devil, "Never.
22:45 I'm not going to do it.
22:46 I can't do it. I won't do it.
22:48 I felt like I was on the edge of a psych ward."
22:50 But and I don't think it was because I held on,
22:54 I think it was because God held on to me.
22:57 Amen. That's right.
22:59 And I think in the next half hour,
23:00 we can go into more of the details
23:02 of how God brought me out of this,
23:03 because He did bring me out of this.
23:05 He did answer my prayers.
23:07 He did help me to get off all the medications.
23:09 He reset my life.
23:11 And like the Psalm said,
23:12 He brought me out of the horrible pit
23:15 and I praise His name for rescuing myself.
23:17 So let me ask my counselors here,
23:21 if he was your client, which he kind of is right now?
23:23 What would you ask him?
23:25 I wouldn't ask him a question right now.
23:28 But one thing that I would use his own words
23:30 to help me understand what happened.
23:32 You're type A personality, high achiever.
23:36 Whatever you set your mind to, you achieve, and it happens.
23:39 And there you were that night, and you said, "Go to sleep."
23:42 And you couldn't. That's right.
23:43 You were trying to will yourself
23:45 to do something that your body couldn't do for you.
23:47 And when you just read those texts,
23:49 and gave me those texts, it made me think about
23:51 when you decided it wasn't Steve anymore
23:53 that can handle it.
23:54 But it was God that could handle it.
23:56 And you held on to His promises.
23:57 That's when you started relinquishing
23:58 some of the power that you thought you had,
24:00 and you gave up on somebody, Steve,
24:02 you're good enough, you can do it.
24:04 But everything you would set up to that point
24:06 was you were going to make a change,
24:07 you were going make it happen.
24:09 And those voices laughing and really just kind of
24:11 ridicule you those inside voices.
24:13 You were fighting up against that
24:15 because at some point, you had to step back and say,
24:17 "Oh, I can't do this."
24:18 And that's where the Bible, that's what those promises are.
24:21 When you're a high achiever
24:22 and everything you touch turns to gold.
24:25 And then when it doesn't, you start trying to fix it.
24:28 When you can conquer so many things,
24:30 but you can't conquer your own.
24:31 And it gets frustrating.
24:34 Now what was it like to be in that situation
24:35 where couldn't will it, and you've shifted
24:37 from being a director of being very public,
24:41 being very active, to being a broken man.
24:45 Well, what was it like? It was a nightmare.
24:47 And there's a verse in Job 17
24:51 where Job's verse 1:17.
24:54 "My spirit is broken, My days are extinguished.
24:58 The grave is ready for me.
24:59 I am imagine myself, you know, in a casket, I mean,
25:04 my bags growing under my eyes, I was losing weight,
25:07 I would go to the cafeteria to eat my food and my fingers.
25:10 For some reason, were started curling in.
25:12 And I thought, "I'm done."
25:14 You know, I was totally broken and totally helpless.
25:17 And totally, I felt totally lost.
25:19 I felt like God didn't love me anymore.
25:21 I felt like I was hopeless.
25:23 I had no hope.
25:24 And, but then God taught me.
25:27 Don't rely on your mind.
25:29 Don't rely on your thoughts.
25:31 The heart of Jeremiah 17, I think it's verse 11 says,
25:33 "The heart is deceitful above all things,
25:35 and desperately wicked."
25:36 And then I...
25:38 It hit me one day that if my heart is deceitful,
25:40 then I can't trust in everything
25:42 my mind is telling me.
25:43 All these thoughts my mind is telling me...
25:45 We typically apply that positive thoughts
25:47 like don't fool yourself, it's, you know,
25:49 the end is coming, this type of stuff.
25:51 But this applies to negative thoughts too.
25:53 That's right.
25:54 And I realized, I can't rely on my mind.
25:56 I've got to rely on God's promises alone
26:00 that He still loves me.
26:01 Sometimes truth is even better than we think it is.
26:02 Sometimes it's worse.
26:05 In 2 Corinthians 10, you know,
26:06 we talked about breaking strongholds, how?
26:07 By taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ."
26:11 That was another big text for me.
26:12 So for me, you know,
26:13 it's like when you start going into God's promises.
26:17 That's one of the ways that we can go
26:19 and we're not trusting our thoughts,
26:20 we're trusting God's.
26:21 We're not saying all our thoughts are 100% bad
26:23 or 100% good.
26:24 But we're taking them all to God
26:26 so that He can move into that.
26:28 And it's according to that verse
26:30 it's the obedience of Christ.
26:31 So it His obedience even.
26:32 And here, you've been teaching people
26:34 the Bible all these years,
26:35 but all of a sudden, it's more real to you.
26:36 I'm not saying it wasn't, but more than it's ever been.
26:39 Yeah, it was the biggest crisis in my life
26:41 and I was at the bottom.
26:42 I was going to ask that question.
26:44 I don't think I could have gone anymore.
26:46 And as Psalm 107 says, "They were at their wit's end."
26:49 And I got to the point where it was right on the edge.
26:52 I felt like I'm heading for a psych ward.
26:54 "But God, I'm going to hold on to You,
26:57 You got to bring me through this."
26:59 Something that started as a lifestyle issues
27:02 sounds like it ended up into a cognitive battle.
27:04 The spiritual.
27:06 It was cognitive, it was spiritual,
27:08 it was physically...
27:09 It's hand to hand combat with the enemy missile.
27:12 It's also a lesson in how really frail we are
27:13 and how dependent we are on our brain health.
27:15 Like we're physical bodies, our characters are housed,
27:18 or even our thought life is housed in a physical organ,
27:21 and when that physical organ deteriorates,
27:24 because of lack of sleep, or what lack of nutrition,
27:27 you know, we're not going to be able to even think clearly.
27:30 And you're very, I would say,
27:31 exceptionally intelligent person,
27:33 the fact that you are losing your grip
27:34 on your ability to think
27:36 means that your brain was really being compromised.
27:37 It's very scary.
27:38 And it just shows it can happen to anybody.
27:40 We're so excited. We're gonna...
27:42 Well, he gets out of the black hole, by the way,
27:44 but not during this segment.
27:46 During the next segment, we're going to hear that story.
27:48 And he's really taken us down the pit with him.
27:50 I feel really bad for him that he went through this.
27:54 But he's going to burst out into the light of day again.
27:57 And I hope you'll come with us on that journey.
27:59 Be with us during part two
28:01 of "Escaping from the black hole
28:03 of depression."