She stood quietly by the woods breathing in the warm air. Dusk had just fallen and the night air was heavy with humidity. Her fingertips brushed the craggily pine needles covered in the evening dew. She breathed in their  scent that filled the air. She slowly brushed away  the moistness against her favorite faded jeans. 

She  questioned; what had led her to this place, alone. 

She  had overcome many mountains in her past.

Firestorms events had  continually licked  at her heels threatening to devour her over the years. 

Like the Phoenix though she rose from the ashes that laid waste at her feet. Countless times she slayed the demon of her own private hell.

In a few days it would be her birthday.  She chose to not get excited for the annual event. The pomp and pageantry seemed ridiculous at her age. She preferred to simply consider it  a day as any other, except she shared the day with her twin brother. A faint smile briefly appears as her thoughts linger on him and how she wished she could tell him of her battle. 

She loved him more than herself and wouldn’t dream of involving him in her private hell. His life was just beginning again with a new love and his dreams were on the threshold. Countless times she had picked up the phone to call him and each time she had stopped. This she would firmly not allow the demon to control. 

A Crow shrieks testily  off in the distance voicing his displeasure at her intrusion quickly brings her back to reality.

She was overcome with a deep melancholy a sadness that could not be shaken. When had her sense of purpose gone? At what point did she begin to break and return to this secret hell? She has a wonderful supportive husband that loved her incredibly. This fact only deepened the sadness and despair. 

She was overcome with a deep melancholy a sadness that could not be shaken. When had her sense of purpose gone? At what point did she begin to break and return to this secret hell? She has a wonderful supportive husband that loved her incredibly. This fact only deepened the sadness and despair. 

 Questions like these would run thru her mind like the thin stream of water that lined the edge of the woods she had ventured upon. Ripples appearing and disappearing along its route. 

She saw the   horizon light up with jagged flashes of light indicating a storm was fast approaching. The soft distance rumble of thunder mirrored her emotions. She was a melting pot of feelings barely contained. Who would understand or more to the point who would  still love her if they knew her secret failure at fighting this demon? 

The demon had first appeared briefly when she was 14 years old. A scrawny gangly girl under an oppression which she was unable to understand or control . The first purging was a glorious rush of power. She was finally the one in control, no one could stop this. It was her secret. She had conquered this demon  and succumbed to it off and on through out the years. She learned to cope thru activities, physical exercise and thru her career. The demon was successfully slayed while her focus remains  strong.

Her job had always been her place of control. There she excelled, she enjoyed going to work and developing her team. When she saw her team succeed she felt am empowerment a purpose beyond being a wife and mother…however of late her control has been taken away. Stress and the constant scrutiny was taking its toll. Her resolve and reservoir of willpower was dwindling. Recent family  events spiraled her further from her center of strength. She unwittingly found herself out of control as she had been years passed. The demon once again whispers in her ear, “you can be in control again, you know what to do.”

A chill travels up her spine and envelopes her shoulders. She quickly gathers her  sweater closer to her thin frame. She weakly turns once more toward the woods and wonders if she has the strength to fight this demon once again.

Public ridicule of this demon is not as consuming as private whispers and the furtive knowing glances that would be thrown her way once they heard the truth. 

She summons up the last muster of courage  and turns away from the beckoning woods towards home. She must arrive before anyone notices her absence. She was not prepared for any questions or genuine concern. That only made her feel more lost, letting down those that depend on her and needed her to be strong.  

She quickly stepped thru the dew soaked grass allowing the coolness to soothe her flushed cheeks and calm her pulse. She arrives outside her home and steels her body language to appear normal. A sad but familiar sensation comes over her. She had  been here before, she knew the drill…she was adept at acting and hiding this demon…no one would suspect her inner turmoil. Silence had  always been her friend. No words could explain and no one could know the battle raging within her mind and heart. 

She slowly walks through  the front door and hears the sound of the TV broadcasting the daily news. 

She veils any suspicion through her eyes as she quickly surveys the room. She was safe no one had even noticed her absence. 

She prepares the evening meal, going through the motions as she had done a thousand times before. Her pulse quickens and her breathe seems shallow as she puts the food on the table. Food her enemy her poison was screaming at her senses. As if from a distance the chaotic  chatter of her families conversations swirled around her. She pushed the food around on her plate consuming small bites making sure she followed each bite with water…a trick the demon had whispered to her years ago, to ease the purging. She forces a smile and volunteers quipped responses to the multiple conversations that were swirling at the dinner table. Success no one had noticed, she was in control again. 

Night falls and with the cover of darkness shame enters as a thief. Robbing her of any refuge of willpower left. 

This cycle would repeat as before circling and tightening its grip on her over the next few months. 

Today the dawn broke as always  and the day commenced…however  she is  unaware that in a few hours her tenuous grasp on this demon would be gone. 

She arrives at work and begins her morning routine checking various reports from the day before. She browses thru her emails and deletes and saves accordingly. 

Mid morning she receives another visit from her new boss. He replaced her previous boss who she adored and motivated her. How she missed her and her engaging spirit. This boss was brutal in his tactics and enjoyed to publicy humiliate her in front of her beloved team. His tone and comments were extremely painful to her. She felt her resolve draining from her as the minutes ticked slowly away. He finally leaves with a sarcastic smile and bids her a good day. She turns toward her office her vision swirling and her pulse is pounding in her ears. As if a hand guides her from behind she makes it to her office.  She sits quickly on her worn office chair and puts her head between her hands and frantically tries  to regain her stability. Her favorite team member walks in unexpectedly and immediately exclaims “Terri what’s wrong you are so pale?” 

The lyrics to a Casting Crowns song runs rapidly thru her mind…Does anybody hear her?

Can anybody see her, does anyone know she’s going down today? 

Can anybody see her, does anyone know she’s going down today? 

She heard  her name being spoken and the voice appears to be far off in the distance. She suddenly felt warm and cold all at once. She turned to the voice and her face full of worry and concern. She mumble an inaudible responses to her questions. She shakes her head and quickly grabs her purse and jacket. She must leave before she is exposed. The Demon must not be revealed here. Home that’s where this  battle must be fought. No one must see, no one must know her secret shame. 

She blindly maneuvers out of her place of employment toward her car. She fumble in her purse for her keys. Her fingers shake as she turns the key in the ignition. Her chest felt as if it was caving in and perspiration  beads on her forehead. She quickly pulls out of the parking lot. 

She is unaware that forces beyond her control are guiding her next steps. 

Sometimes, God doesn’t send you into a battle to win it; he sends you to end it. The power was within her all along, God had placed it inside. She only needed to come out of the dark into the light where shadows and secrets cannot  hide. 

Miraculously she  arrives home shaken but with a tiny spark of resolve. With a bit of anger and despair combined she dials her Oncologist’s office and makes an emergency appointment.  

The next few weeks were a flurry of Doctor appointments and consultations. For the first time she begins to take tiny steps out of the darkness where the demon dwelled and fortified its grip on her thru silence and shame. 

She now had allies in her secret battle, allies who would help her understand the demon. 

She silently weeps with tears unseen. 

She effortlessly moves through the day. 

Memories here and there, appear. 

Tomorrow will be here soon enough, tomorrow she will fight again. 

With her tears  unseen.

The Fight:

She woke around 3 am which had became routine for her, with her heart racing the  covers felt stifling and heavy. She slowly climbs out of her 4 poster bed. A California King her loving husband insisted they purchase. The bed always reminded her of the nursery rhyme “The Princess and the Pea”. She wished it was a simple  pea that was cause of her sleepless nights. She sighs softly and walks toward her bathroom careful to not wake her husband who was softly snoring. He was oblivious to her torment while he slept. That fact comforted her and at all costs she would fight to preserve the peace that sleep gave.

She turns on the light and stares at her reflection mirrored back at her. Sadness and weariness was manifested thru the lines at corners of her eyes and the puffiness underneath. She turns the faucet on allowing the cool water to run thru her hands. She splashes the cool water upon her face hoping it would dispel the grogginess she felt. She had recently been prescribed anti anxiety Meds that were to help calm her emotions.

Armed with knowledge she slowly begins the fight.

Armed with knowledge she slowly begins the fight.

The Fight…she quickly found that the fight was always with herself. She would need to surrender the vice like control that she had on her emotions and secrets. This would not be easy to undo; years of habits would need to be peeled away. Her first step would be to attend her first therapy session. 

The journey out of the darkness;

Today I sat amongst many whose plights are similar to mine. Looking for answers in any form. I expected to feel shame and prying eyes upon me. 

However I saw faces of women all seeking the same thing; hope. 

I bowed my head not in shame but in prayer for all of us today. 

Faith still guides me, it is in the hope of that which remains unseen that brings the light into the darkness. 

So I try my best today and I pray to make each moment worthy of his grace. 

Share YOUR Story as a Guest Blogger

Stories are powerful — they can educate, they can inspire, they can change lives. Knowing you’re not alone in this journey is critical in a successful recovery. I have been sharing my story on this blog for over a year now and I have seen the impact of story on the lives I have touched. Now, I’d like to invite YOU to tell your story on my blog and have that same chance to change lives — including your own.

Here’s the scoop:

  1. Stories can be published anonymously, so there’s no need to worry about backlash.
  2. Anyone who submits a story will receive a package of three 30 minute phone coaching sessions with me.
  3. I will hold a drawing for a session “in the barn” with the horses for one lucky local participant!
  4. To submit your story, send an inquiry email to and I will guide you through the process.