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Calista's problems with mental health had a defined start date. June 18, 2014.

That was the day that Calista went into labour with her son Gavin. What she didn't know, until arriving, was that her son had passed away. Calista delivered Gavin and, though incredibly devastating, was also peaceful.

"I did see God in it," she said. "We felt the Lord's comfort through it."

Calista and her husband went to grief counselling immediately, joined a support group at Grant, and found comfort with family and friends. Things were better.

Until Calista got pregnant again.

"[It was an] emotional rollercoaster, thinking I would have to go through something all over again," she admitted.

Her entire pregnancy, she worried about her unborn child, not knowing whether she would survive. When her daughter was finally born, she almost didn't. She came out with a cord wrapped around her neck. Her daughter was OK, but once she got home, stresses and anxieties hit Calista.

"She did give me joy, but I had a lot of issues, always making sure she was alive, making sure she wasn't alone," Calista said. Normally OK with being alone, her husband noticed that Calista couldn't be away from her children, and couldn't be left alone.

While she knew something was wrong, she didn't seek immediate help.

"I kept thinking that I can do this because I have God on my side," Calista said. She believed they would get better. But they didn't.

One day, Calista was talking to a friend who lost her baby at nine weeks. Her friend said how strong Calista was for making it through what she had. But that wasn't how Calista saw it.

"I wasn't strong, I was a ball of nerves constantly," she admitted.

Eventually, her friend told her to go to the doctor. She agreed and ended up with a counsellor, who diagnosed her with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD is brought on by traumatic experiences. 

"I thought [PTSD] only happened to people who were in war, or police officers," she said.

Her friend told her that her brain is an organ, just like the heart. You would take medication for a heart condition, why wouldn't you take it for a brain condition? So she did. Calista started sleeping properly, was able to leave her children alone with someone else, and her fears were significantly reduced.

"My husband sees a huge difference in me," she said. "I feel like I'm living life again."

But Calista knows it's not over. The thoughts still come, especially when she began dropping her oldest daughter off at the bus.

"I just have to remember, pray," she said.


#ChurchLetsTalk is a month-long initiative designed to create conversation in the church around mental health.

You can learn more about this initiative by visiting our website. If you are struggling with your own mental health struggles, we encourage you to contact Grant's care ministry.