Montel, Here’s What Happened

I want to share my story not for pity, or empathy, but solely to give God the glory and to allow my testimony to give hope and courage to someone else.
The oldest of four children, I grew up around alcoholic and abusive men and unhealthy out-of-wedlock relationships. Education quickly became my ticket out of a nearly impoverished struggling family. Graduating in the top 4% of my high school class, I applied to over 50 scholarships in the hopes that my grades and scholarships would alleviate the pressure from my then single mom to pay for school. A mentor opened my eyes to a larger picture and encouraged me to apply to Stanford. Because of his words of belief, I took a chance and applied.

Even after receiving over $15,000 in scholarships and grants, I found myself having to work as a work study student while at Stanford to pay for plane tickets to California from Texas at least three times a year. I worked as a research assistant, office assistant, babysitter, teaching assistant, and even started my own business to allow more flexible work hours and improve my people skills. In the midst of my undergraduate life, I married the first decent guy I had ever experienced up to that point in my life. Understanding that I was the “good” child out of four, that I was the “smart” one, I came to the conclusion that looks were not my thing and the love and affection I was not getting from home would have to be found through a boyfriend and eventual husband. According to Paul in the Bible, it is better to stay single but if you must marry to avoid fornication then do so.

Next month my husband and I will celebrate 3 1/2 years. We do not have any children but all three of my younger siblings either got pregnant or got someone else pregnant without any higher education or plans for their future. I knew that my family and community were counting on me to finish school, but the summer before my senior year my husband and I found ourselves heavily leveraged in bank and credit card debt. I could no longer turn a profit from my business, did not have enough cash or credit to get the plane tickets to return to school, and when I petitioned all the supporters and mentors and family members who committed to helping me finish my schooling for a co-signer on a loan no one would even fill out the application. I had to beg my mother just to apply and she doubtfully obliged me. Needless to say, she was not approved and though my credit score was high due to my status as a student without solid and consistent employment history I was not able to get the funds together in time to start my senior year.

I have since been on sabbatical, working my business, putting a plan in place to pay off my debt, dealing with my relationship with my husband, loving my neice, nephew, and soon to come addition to our family, serving my church and community, and just last year I had the rug pulled underneath me another time. I was hospitalized for a sever anxiety attack and diagnosed with manic depression. The first week I was in the hospital to this day I do not recollect. I was told that doctors believed I would never recover and would have to be institutionalized. My medications included a mental suppressant, anxiety pills, and others which resulted in weight gain, depression, and lethargic behavior. My psychiatrist and therapist worked together after I was released from the hospital but my husband and I could not afford the co-pays and medication costs on his salary alone (a little less than $1200 a month) so I told my doctor that I was ok and that I no longer needed the medication.

For months, I calmly worked my business part time and worked outside of the home part time. This past November I began working full time outside of the home on a night shift and in February my husband lost his job. My business, which I was still building and was not yet at a profit level, covered bills, gas, and what little food we could get. God blessed me with just enough from my customers and family to keep me going but the stress and pressure of bills, debt, working, and building a business once again took its toll and just last week I had an anxiety attack in my church parking lot. Suddenly, I realized that if I did not change soon, I would end up right where I was nearly a year before and obviously I had not learned the lesson God had for me.

I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me yes, but I can do nothing without him. I cannot do everything. The hand cannot do the work of the foot. I have such a heart to serve and help as many other people as possible that I never learned how to first take care of myself. When I started making phone calls for physicians, psychiatrists, and therapists my mother and I quickly realized that her Humana health insurance through the post office expired for me due to my age. So here I sit thanking God for restoring my mind (Luke 8:35) but I have to decide to pay debt or pay for doctors, pay bills or go back to Stanford, earn my car in Mary Kay or struggle with the one car my husband and I do have.

To whom it may concern, I have seen your show and know how you help people. I am not asking that you take all my financial and health insurance problems away, I know the value of triumph and victory from a tough challenge, but I am at the end of my rope, I have tied a knot, and I am swinging in faith that God will provide what I need to get through. I want to complete my senior thesis about my experience entitled Fantasized Experience Appearing Real (F.E.A.R.) and use it as a foundation for a dissertation in behavioral psychology and be able to say that my Ph.D. did not come from my academic skills but rather because God saw fit to return my mind and remove the spirit of fear and grow my spirit of faith. I would be most appreciative to share my story and help other young people, men and women who have lost hope to fear and paralyzing anxiety. To attest that there is a way out and up. I would be more than happy to share all the details and intricacies of my story as well as my full background, conspectus, and so forth. Please contact me at your earliest convenience and thank you in advance for your prompt response and consideration.

God Bless,
Shamika Goddard

Marc 2008

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