At first glance, my childhood was as normal as everyone else’s; however, things began to go awry when the first lesions appeared. My mother thought it was something normal that children get, something that would come and go, but over the following days and weeks, the situation kept getting worse. What seemed to be simple was actually a rare disease that was spreading throughout my body, atopic dermatitis. This was when we began seeking medical help, but nothing! Treatments and medicine gradually became insufficient to solve my chronic problem, and my mother was convinced we would have to live with this on my skin forever.
At the age of 11, the symptoms of depression and deep anguish began because of this problem. There were days where the lesions would open because I would scratch them so much. It was torment.
Bishop, living with this was not easy. As I grew up, my dreams and plans were slowly slipping through my fingers. I started having an inferiority complex, insecurities and was absolutely unmotivated. Then I became anorexic; I was no longer eating and reached a frightening 62 lbs. As the disease spread, I was forced to wear clothes that completely covered my arms and legs. With this came the panic attacks, visions of shadows and hearing of voices, to the point where I couldn’t even go to the bathroom alone.
I remember becoming an extremely aggressive person, even hurting my own parents. The truth is that I blamed them for everything that was happening. I took several black box medicines on a daily basis, such as Gardenal, Diazepam, Rivotril and others to ease my pain.
So I decided to seek encouragement in my friends to help with the suffering. I tried to hide my problem from everyone, pretending to be totally normal. I believed that time spent with friends would be good to help me forget my pain a little. This is when I was introduced to the nightlife, promiscuity, parties and drinking. I had various boyfriends who never imagined I had that problem. But the alcohol, mixed with prescription drugs caused terrible effects, worse than what was already bad.
My parents decided that having me admitted was the best alternative, since the doctors said I could no longer go to work or school. This is when I hit rock bottom. And, to my disappointment, those who claimed to be my friends, turned their backs on me once they found out. That’s right! Everyone that I hoped to show me better times, turned their back on me when I needed them the most. Disheartened with everything and everyone, all I could think about was killing myself, since I no longer found any pleasure in life.
This was when an assistant evangelized me at the hospital. She explained that my problem had a very simple solution. I said, “Simple? My life has been a living hell for the past 16 years, so how can you tell me the solution is simple?”
With few words, she explained that I suffered for so long because I hadn’t sought help in the right Person. I decided to go to the Universal Church and believe me, what I couldn’t achieve during all of my life, I achieved in just one week! What God did for me was INCREDIBLE. Gradually, the lesions subsided, the fears faded away, the depression disappeared and before long the doctors confirmed: I was healed! And this was only the beginning, because I slowly changed within and had the greatest experience of my life: my Encounter with God.
Today, I am a new woman. A youth that discovered Who is her real Friend. I’m happy, I love my parents, I’m an assistant and, above all, I’m proof that miracles are not a thing of the past. It really seemed impossible for me to change, but I changed!
Fernanda Batista – Belo Horizonte