In this episode, we compile and share stories of hope from previous guests of the podcast. These stories offer inspiration and encouragement, even if they don’t directly relate to anxiety or OCD.

  • (Episode 7) Anika Mullen – Overcoming a rare condition during pregnancy. Anika finds hope in her family’s resilience.
  • (Episode 28): Brittany Dyer – Inspired by her school counselor after losing her parents, Brittany becomes a counselor herself, offering hope to others.
  • (Episode 21): Laura Mullis – Through prayer, Laura discovers the importance of self-healing in helping others on their journey to recovery.
  • (Episode 57): Aaron Huey – Aaron’s encounter with Christ and the love from strangers transform his life and inspire his commitment to addiction recovery.

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Transcript

Welcome to Hope for Anxiety and OCD episode 97. This episode is going to be Stories of Hope, volume one, and I am your host, Carrie Bock. If you don’t know me, Hope for Anxiety and OCD podcast, when I started listening to podcasts, there was one that I would listen to where she would ask some of the same questions at the end of every show.

I thought, well, for this podcast, why don’t we ask people to share with us a story of hope because it’s called Hope for Anxiety and OCD and we made it so that the story didn’t have to be about anxiety or OCD in particular. Some of our guests didn’t have personal experience with that. Their story of hope we knew was gonna be a little bit different.

I’ve been so enriched by these stories through the last two and a half years that I thought, why don’t we do a compilation episode of them? And this is also giving me some time and bandwidth to work through the grief and loss of my parent’s death. If you listen to our episode 94 podcast, we kind of know what’s going on with me there.

Anika Mullen’s Story of Hope 

Our first couple of stories of hope to review, I want to say, are things I didn’t know about my friends. Now, I had spent a lot of time with Anika Mullen, but had no idea that she had her story of Hope. Now, Annika shared this before I ever became pregnant, but I would remember what she said through my pregnancy when I had a lot of various complications that came up. So I’m so glad that she shared this on episode seven because. It really meant a lot to me and encouraged me later when I had my daughter. 

Anika: The most challenging times of my life was when I was pregnant with my child and I had a condition. It started five weeks before my child was born and my body broke out in hives and blisters from my ribcage all the way down to my toes.

It was very hard to sleep. It just felt like I was constantly burning, especially my fingers and toes because there are so many nerve endings there. It was just very hard to cope with. It’s a pretty rare condition and for the majority of the women that have it, it fades away after the baby’s born. In my case, I was one of the very few that it continued after my child was born for about five more weeks.

After my child was born, and it did not go away, I no longer had an end date. Up until that point, I was like, all I have to do is make it until the baby’s born. All I have to do is make it the baby’s born. And then it was still there and I had an infant to feed and take care of, and it got to the point where I couldn’t even sleep.

I would be getting through the nights with ice packs on my fingers and my toes, and taking three or four hot cold showers to reduce. The level of burning sensation that I was experiencing, and I think it would’ve been really easily to become hopeless at that time. I was not getting enough sleep and already a stressful time of life.

Also, it’s a very idealized time. You should enjoy every moment of it. They’re only going to be little one. It could have been really easy to go down the why me, why did this happen to me. And one thing that gave me hope and really helped me through that time was remembering family members who had walked with a child through open heart surgery, and eventually the death of their child.

Just their courage and strength walking through that time gave me hope that I could get through whatever I was experiencing. It just really helped put it in perspective and remind me that people have gone through such difficult things and have come out of it as such beautiful, wonderful people that there is another side to this, and I can get through this however long it’s gonna last.

Brittany Dyer’s Story of Hope 

On episode 28, my friend Brittany Dyer came to talk about play therapy and I had no idea that her story of hope was part of her life as well. And that one stood out to me. So here it is. 

Brittany: My story actually kind of relates to what we’ve been talking about today and why I wanted to become a counselor. So I lost my parents when I was in elementary school.

They died suddenly, and I had a school counselor who was amazing. Her name’s Janna Chambers and I thankfully can still be in contact with her. My husband and her son are really good friends, so I still get to see her sometimes, which is amazing. But she was my hope during that time. She really helped me. I don’t remember anything that we did, to be honest.

I remember we played, but I don’t remember anything specific. The only thing I remember is one time we had puppets out, and that’s all I remember, but just going to see her and having that space where I felt comfortable. And she was just such a comforting person and caring and listening. I just remember feeling so light when I would come back from her office.

That’s the only way I know how to put it. It’s just I felt light. She helped me so much and gave me so much hope for my future and such a hard time for me. I am just so thankful for her and all the children that she influenced and helped throughout the years. I’m thankful that she inspired me to be a counselor and that I just get to pass along that hope to many other kids too.

Laura Mullis’ Story of Hope

My amazing mentor, Laura Mullis, was on episode 21 called Is Healing from Childhood Wounds The Key to Unlocking Anxiety. I really appreciated Laura’s story of hope, and it stands out to me today because God is so good to be honest with us and to speak to us directly sometimes when we really need it. 

Laura: I guess I would say that one of my transformative shifts in my life was when I was in treatment for recovery from addiction, and I was praying for everybody else in my life, oh God, I want you to do this, but I want you to make sure this person remembers me and I want you to do this. And I was telling God exactly what I wanted him to do. It was like audibly, I heard God say, all right, listen up. First, you work on your relationship with me. Then you work on your relationship with yourself. Then you can work on your relationship with your family, and then I will add who I want into your life.

That moment changed everything for me because I realized that was the order. That was the order for healing, and I was trying to go top down rather than bottom up. I’ve lived my life that way for the past 19 years, and every bit of it has come true. It changed everything for me when I realized that, and I also feel like it also shapes how I help people on their process.

It helped me see a clearer path for not only how I got the healing I needed, but how people can get the healing they need. 

Aaron Huey’s Story of Hope

Aaron Huey literally brought me to tears on his Story of Hope, episode 57: Parenting Teens in Crisis.

Aaron: On May 21st, 1998, I stopped using drugs and alcohol for good. On May 20th, 1998, I hit my knees and I asked for a miracle.

I had been a minister since 1996. I’ve had a very colorful spiritual life, but despite my promises to God, despite my promises to my daughter, despite my promises to who became my ex-wife, I loved drugs more to the point where the shame and the guilt forced me to my knees. And I said, “I can’t stop. You have to stop me. I’m not gonna quit. You have to make me quit.” And I’m asking for a miracle. I’m asking to be shown that there’s something outside of this cause otherwise this is gonna kill me and I’m slowly dying. You have to bring me back to life. The next morning I got up and I went to work and I got in my truck and I got high as I was driving to work and my truck died. And my parents lived out in the country outside of Long Mountain, Colorado. And so I had to walk about a mile and a half to get to a phone so I could call my dad to come pick me up. So I got my drugs and I got my paraphernalia, and I started walking, leaving my truck on the side of the road and up ahead on my left as I was walking down this road was this small, it’s the quintessential picture in your brain of an old country church, little white buildings, single room steeple and cross in the front, quintessential Norman Rockwell painting that you could imagine. And so I’m walking towards it. 

I hear this noise and I know what’s coming, and my heart starts pounding. I know that I’m about to get what I asked for, which was the end. It was my personal Babylon was showing up, and as I’m walking, I’m getting closer.

I’m staring at this church trying not to look at it, and it’s just, and it’s getting louder and louder as I’m walking toward it, and I’m terrified. All I did was say, stop me. Now I knew that I was about to get stopped. I’m standing across the street from the driveway to this church and the noise is now the worst scratching TV fuzz, and it was so loud.

I turned and looked and Christ was standing there and he said, you can put down the drugs now for the rest of your life and never look back. Wow. And the feeling of love and forgiveness that I experienced in that moment, the overwhelm of pure, unconditional love, the thing that I had always been searching for and had never found.

It just washed me and I threw, took my drugs outta my pocket and carry, I swear on everything. I, that bag hit the ground and a wind went and blew it out, and I threw my pipe in a ditch and I burst into tears, and the noise was gone. The experience was over, and I walked. And if that was the end of the miracle, then this would be a nice short story, but I’m going to have to take you deeper into what happened next.

I go and I hit the phone. My dad comes and picks me up. I get home, I call to tell him I’m not coming in. They’re not surprised. I’m absent all the time because I’m always high. I go up to my room and I call the Triangle Club, the 12-step group there in Longmont, Colorado on Main Street. I had called him two weeks prior and the line was busy, and I promise you that I took that as a sign from God that I was overreacting and that drugs weren’t that bad.

I had lost my home custody of my daughter, and my marriage. I was living either in my parents’ house at 28 years old, or I was living in the back of my truck, and drugs weren’t that bad. That’s how insane this thing is. But this time when I called that the night of that first experience, May 21st, I called the 12 steps and somebody answered on the first ring and said, “Triangle club.”

I said, “When’s your next NA meeting? I think I’m an addict.” And the guy said, “Where are you? I’ll come get you.” And I said, “Don’t do this. And he goes, “It’s okay man. And I said, “Don’t you say it. I’m not ready to hear it.”  And it got all quiet. And he said, “I love you, it’s okay.” I said I can’t do this right now. He said, “Every hour we have a meeting. If you need a ride, someone will get you. ” I hung up the phone on him.

There was that love of a stranger, somebody who didn’t know me didn’t know my past, and he was willing to say, I love you. So then the next morning I wake up and I go downstairs and I’ve decided I have the day off. so I’m going to a meeting and I go downstairs and my parents are watching TV and I kid you not, they’re watching Clean and Sober with Michael Keaton and I sit down on the couch and I’m like, I can’t believe this. I’m like, it’s this sustained miracle, and I’m exhausted. And I sit down and I turn off the TV and my mom goes, she has this funny way of saying it.

It’s very dear, “Excuse me” and she was being goofy, and I look at her and about to break her heart. And I say, “I’m not going to a meeting at work. I’m going to a 12-step meeting. I’m an addict.” And my mom goes pale. And my dad, the man who raised me, not my father, but the man who gave me everything, who had lied to, who had stolen from and hurt his younger biological children, he looked at me and he goes, “Whatever you need me to do, I’ll do it because I love you.”

It was those three experiences of unconditional love that I just said. That’s it. That’s what this is about. I don’t love me, but everybody else does, and this thing. That I’ve always been seeking for has been seeking me, and I just have to let it in now. And that’s what I say to families and to teenagers is, a, I love you, and B, what you are seeking is seeking you.

That was the miracle I got on May 21st, 1998. Then on the 22nd, the miracles continue. A biker who yanked me back into my chair at the 12-step meeting who told me to. Sit down and shut up for once in my life and maybe I’ll learn something who became my sponsor and the police officer that pulled me over after my first meeting and said, you know who?

I told him it was my first meeting. It was the first time I didn’t have drugs in my vehicle in seven years, and I didn’t have to lie. I. And he looked at me and he saw the big stack of 12-step books in my truck, and he goes, keep going back. It works if you work it and you’re worth it, which is what we say at the end of every 12-step meeting, which told me he was a member.

He understood and 23 years later, the miracle still continues. And that’s been my life for 23 years. I was born 23 years ago. And the sadness, these are tears of joy folks, because I have such a beautiful, blessed life. I have my daughter, I have a son, my ex-wife and I are friends. I love my parents and they did so well.

My brothers and I get along. My business is successful and all I do is the 12th step. I bring the message of hope to people who still suffer.

Carrie: I hope you’ve enjoyed revisiting these stories of hope with me for additional encouragement. There may be some that you missed because you weren’t particularly interested in the topic of that episode, and that’s fine.

So this is another great reason for us to be replaying some of these. It’s always encouraging to hear from you guys when you send us messages through the website at hopeforanxietyandocd.com. We have a contact form at the bottom of the page that you can fill out, and I do read those and either myself or my assistant responded to them.

We received an encouraging note recently from a listener who had just been going through a lot of struggles and needed some hope and found the podcast just randomly one night and just really benefited from it. So, I’m so glad that people are able to get the love, support, and encouragement from this show.

Hope for Anxiety and OCD is a production of By the Well Counseling. Our show is hosted by me, Carrie Bock, a licensed professional counseling in Tennessee. Opinions given by our guests are their own and do not necessarily reflect the view of myself or By The Well Counseling. Our original music is by Brandon Mangrum. Until next time, may be comforted by God’s great love for you.