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A Cry For Help: Our Personal Story, Part I

Dr. Chris and Alisa Grace pose for the cover of The Art of Relationships Podcast.

Is your loved one crying out for help? What signs would you look for? In part one of this two-part series, we (hosts Dr. Chris and Alisa Grace) are joined by our 19-year-old daughter, Caroline, to share our personal experience as a family navigating Caroline's battle with clinical anxiety. 

Speaker 1:    Welcome to another Art of Relationships podcast. We are grateful for listeners like you. Let's get right into it.

Chris Grace:    Well, it's so good to be back for another podcast Alisa, it's been fun, isn't it with, just the opportunity to just be together, talk about some fun things and it's good to be here. We just thank Biola for helping us in this process, what an awesome opportunity, great school to be at and then, so.

Alisa Grace:    Yeah. In fact, we're sponsored by Biola University Center for Marriage and Relationships. So we'd love for you to check us out on our website. It's, and we'd really encourage you to go and hit that subscribe button. Give us a great review. That really helps us out a lot. And today though, we have a really special guest with us in the studio.

Chris Grace:    Yeah, we're going to... I think at least what we'll do is, we'll talk about the topic first and we'll introduce our guest and, we love doing this simply because one of the cool things is we feel like it reaches so many of y'all listeners out there, in various places in the country and even internationally. But the cool thing is we get to talk about things that are important to all things, relationships. And so the other thing is we're fully, funded by donors and that's what's really cool at the Center for Marriage and Relationships. So if you ever... Well, for many of you that are millionaires and most of you are multimillionaires, just go to the CMR and donate some of those millions.

Alisa Grace:    Yes.

Chris Grace:    And make it multi and especially for multi, just make it single. That's all, just...

Alisa Grace:    Yeah. So it was an old saying and fundraising, just to add another zero to the chip, my friend.

Chris Grace:    Yeah. Now we are, we are fully funded by donors. And so thank you to all of our cool donors out there. And...

Alisa Grace:    We are grateful.

Chris Grace:    ... We are grateful. So, we were talking last time about the idea of what is mental health, what happens during times of things like, depression and anxiety, how do you know symptoms of it? And what about therapy? So our special guest today is our 19 year old daughter, Caroline. Caroline welcome to the studio.

Caroline:    Thank you for having me.

Chris Grace:    Well, it's good to be here, man. Caroline is just joined the university. I believe she's a psychology major. Last I heard. And is that right?

Caroline:    Yes, that is right.

Chris Grace:    Yeah. And finished her first year. And how was Biola in general?

Caroline:    It was awesome. I loved it. I'm so excited to go back for sophomore year.

Chris Grace:    Yeah.

Alisa Grace:    What did you love about it?

Caroline:    I loved meeting all my new friends. I'm so thankful for them. They're so fun. I love the new freedom without the responsibility. That's really nice.

Alisa Grace:    Yeah. Enjoy it while it lasts. A few short years.

Caroline:    Yeah. I'm loving it.

Chris Grace:    Yeah. So friends, classes.

Caroline:    Yeah. Classes have been awesome.

Alisa Grace:    Who's been your favorite professor so far Caroline.

Caroline:    Oh, my favorite professor.

Chris Grace:    Let's do. Okay. Intro to psych is off... No, go ahead. We'll leave that in the...

Alisa Grace:    What's that like when you have your dad as your own professor?

Caroline:    It was nice being in a really big lecture hall where I was able to hide in the corner.

Alisa Grace:    It's nice to fade in a sea of 300 faces.

Caroline:    Yeah, that was super nice.

Alisa Grace:    Yeah. You were under the radar a little bit, but he kind of outed you a couple of times. Didn't he?

Caroline:    A few times. Yeah. I saw my picture up there. So I had to hide a little bit more.

Alisa Grace:    Didn't he show a picture of you, like when you were like four in a pink cowboy hat or something?

Caroline:    My pink cowboy hat. And I had friends send me pictures of it.

Chris Grace:    Cause they recognize the...

Alisa Grace:    Phone was blowing up during class, wasn't it?

Caroline:    Yeah.

Chris Grace:    Yeah. So sorry. Yeah, but you know, yeah. I didn't realize that you really do look lot like you did back then. So, hey Caroline, thanks for joining us. One of the things we want to do and our listeners are really interested in are a couple of things I think. And we think. From what we heard from them and from the feedback that we always get is, "Hey, somebody close to me is struggling with their mental health. They feel like life is off the rails". They have a friend who is just simply overly anxious all the time, stressed out. Or they're constantly dealing with fatigue and tiredness and depression and things like, not garden variety, but you know, most of the time we don't run into people with, schizophrenia, psychosis, but we do run into things like a lot, depression, anxiety. Do you agree? Is that... Have you seen that as a college freshman, and even in high school? I mean, you've been to two different high schools, one in here in California, one in Minnesota.

Alisa Grace:    One Christian and one secular.

Chris Grace:    Yeah, that's right. One public and one private. Tell me your experience in general of the friends around you and how often this seems to happen, that you've seen friends that struggle with these areas.

Caroline:    Yeah. Both a secular and a private schools. I had many friends who struggled with mental health issues, whether they knew how to categorize it or not. I was able to see the patterns in them. If they were struggling, maybe they weren't able to put words to it or maybe they did. And they just didn't have access for help. Very few of them had resources to take advantage of. A lot of my friends, I was one of the few that did have resources to take.

Chris Grace:    Tell us, what did they lack? What did you have? What resources like...

Caroline:    Yeah, what they lacked was a system of people that they could go to. A lot of times their parents would dismiss it or they had no access to therapy or medication, even if they were really, really struggling, their parents very easily dismissed it, or they didn't feel comfortable going to their parents. Schools didn't have that great of resources. At least at the schools that I went to before Biola, there was nowhere for them to get help at home at school, anywhere.

Chris Grace:    Gotcha. That pretty much limits them. I mean, they're not working so they can't take advantage of a lot of that. And to get to some of the medical doctors, they're going to have to go through their parents who sometimes are skeptical.

Caroline:    Yeah. If you're 14, you can't just go to the doctor.

Chris Grace:    That's right. That's right. So Caroline people that you've been around, how many... is this like the one or two people that might be in a university, I'm sorry, in a high school or in a college in university or, is this more widespread? I mean, is it like... Numbers show anywhere from around one out of every four or five people are going to struggle, 20 to 25% with depression and then anxiety at 25, what did you think was that... Did you find that to be the case that number of high?

Caroline:    Oh yeah. I would say that was definitely the case. At least every school I went to every friend group I had, it was probably at least 50% of the kids in my friend group that struggled.

Chris Grace:    At some point struggled.

Caroline:    At some point struggled...

Chris Grace:    Okay.

Caroline:    With it.

Chris Grace:    And in that case, when that was happening. Was it things like anxiety or depression or could you tell, or what did you think you were seeing more of?

Caroline:    Yeah. More often than not. I would say was mainly anxiety and depression symptoms. Some OCD was sprinkled in there.

Chris Grace:    Okay. And OCD is of course Obsessive Compulsive Disorders where people might, it's part of an anxiety, right?

Caroline:    Yeah.

Chris Grace:    Where people might obsess over things and then do compulsive behaviors. You know, like always showering or washing their hands, to keep the fear down the obsession of "I'm dirty, I need to go wash my hands all the time".

Caroline:    Yeah. Yeah. A lot struggled with that. Some with bipolar, it was really a mix of a lot, but it was mostly, the most common was probably anxiety and depression.

Chris Grace:    Let's go back to parents. Alisa, this is kind of something that you are interested in. How did they...

Alisa Grace:    Yeah. Well I think what I'd like to do is maybe let's just go ahead and start talking about your story, Caroline.

Caroline:    Yeah.

Alisa Grace:    And I guess I'll kick it off with just starting in the middle of it.

Caroline:    Okay.

Alisa Grace:    And then maybe we can go back and unpack a little bit more of your story. But I would say as a parent was really interesting because Caroline's the third of our three children. You're the youngest. We have two older ones and...

Chris Grace:    Who we love just as much as Caroline.

Alisa Grace:    Equally. We love you.

Caroline:    Just your favorite on the podcast.

Chris Grace:    Yeah. Yeah. Just because you're here doesn't mean we don't love them... And who they're married to as well.

Alisa Grace:    Yeah. So I mean, Caroline is significantly younger than the first two. She's a good 10 years younger than them. And so life kind of hummed along when we had during Natalie pretty normal kids, normal high school experiences and stuff. But I remember that the summer before your freshman year in high school, you were leaving junior high entering high school. You tried out for the cheer squad and you made the cheer team. You were really involved in the youth group at church. Our relationship as a family was really solid. You love your siblings, you get along well with them. You got along well with us. We were all real close. The three of us still lived at home.

Chris Grace:    Oh, we were awesome, by the way.

Alisa Grace:    We are awesome parents. That I remember one specific... well, I remember two incidents specifically. One, we were in the car driving and you were telling me about your friends and you were saying, "Mom, it's interesting. I know everybody experiences, anxiety and gets stressed out and is fearful of things. But I just feel like I have way more anxiety than my friends do". Do you remember that?

Caroline:    Oh yeah.

Alisa Grace:    Yeah. I remember you saying that. And that caught my attention, that you saw a difference between the level of fear and anxiety you were feeling and what your friends were experiencing.

Caroline:    Right.

Alisa Grace:    So, that kind of was a sign to me. And then probably about a month later, you had been to cheer camp and you really struggled at cheer camp. Like, "Oh, I'm really stressed out. I want to come home". And you know, that was not unusual for you in your background. But one night, the fall semester was kicking off. You went to a youth group activity, like at somebody's house, at church, it was like a swim party and Bible study.

    And afterwards I picked you up and you got in the car and you were like, "Mom" I was saying, "How'd it go? Do you have fun?" And you're like, "Mom, I'm just not doing well". And I was like, well what do you mean? And you said, "I'm just not doing well. You know, I just don't want to go back to church. I don't want to go back to youth group. I don't want to be... I don't want to stay on the cheer team. It just it's stressing me out. I don't want to go back to school". You know, just "Mom, I'm not doing well". And so that kind of caught my attention and it's like, well, tell me a little bit more about that Caroline of what you're feeling. And at one point you said, "Sometimes I start to feel like it would just be better if I wasn't here". And in my role, if what we do here at the center, in our role of counseling stuff, I mean, I know that's a red warning sign when you start talking about suicidal ideation or harming yourself.

    And so that was the point that I said, "Okay, something's going on here" that isn't your typical just, "Hey, she's stressed out. She's a little bit more high strung". Chris, do you, do you remember some of that?

Chris Grace:    Yeah, no, I do. And because you brought it to me and.

Alisa Grace:    Yeah. We said, "Well, I think we need to go and talk to your dad and let's get his perspective because I just want you to know, you don't have to make any big decisions right now about what you're experiencing". And then we went and talked to your dad.

Chris Grace:    Yeah. So Caroline, tell us what was going on. And how did you first know that you were different or what was going on?

Caroline:    Yeah, from pretty early on, I was able to figure out probably when I started junior high and I was exposed to more friends. I just started realizing that I got stressed out more, not stressed out more, but I guess I got irritated quicker than they did. I was scared about walking in the hallways. I knew to count my steps from classroom to classroom and they didn't do that. And it was just different. And I started talking to them and I was like, "Why don't you get stressed out when you go into the cafeteria line, and there's so many people?" And they go, "Why would I get stressed out?" And I said, "Because there's a ton of people. Of course you would get stressed out. Like they're looking at you..."

Alisa Grace:    And didn't you have a friend that actually brought that up. Didn't Sean say something to you?

Caroline:    Yeah. My friend Sean said something to me. We were sitting in the library and I just asked him, "I was like, don't you get stressed out? With all these people, aren't you like always worried". And he said, "Nope, I'm not always worried, Caroline. I don't think that's normal".

Chris Grace:    So what was it you felt like there were so many people that would be looking, evaluating, thinking bad thoughts. What was it? What went through your head?

Caroline:    Yeah. I thought people were thinking bad thoughts about me that they didn't like me. That they would talk bad about me. That they thought I was mean that they thought I was ugly. That I wasn't worthy of having friends, everything in the book.

Alisa Grace:    And did anything or ever actually happen or did anyone ever actually say anything about that or was that just your thoughts?

Caroline:    That was just my thoughts. That was just, my thoughts were constantly racing and it felt like I couldn't turn them off.

Chris Grace:    So it's clear then, that you started to know this isn't normal. This isn't what normal... I mean, you're starting to hear from some of your friends.

Caroline:    Yeah.

Chris Grace:    You're sometime around your... Well it's your high school years. When it got really bad, probably... I mean, it started even in elementary school, we know that. And we've talked about that, but...

Alisa Grace:    Yeah, I think that's a great point Chris. Is that once we started figuring this out, once that night happened after youth group and we came back and talked to your dad and we're like, "Okay, I think we need to get some help for you. I think we need to go see our family doctor. And we need to talk about maybe starting some medication, maybe getting you set up with a really solid, good Christian therapist and getting help". All of... it's like your whole childhood. It's like pieces of an odd puzzle just suddenly went clink, and all fell into place for me as your mom, all these years. I kind of in the back of my mind thought, "Well, Caroline's just a little bit more high strung". She's just a little bit more...

Chris Grace:    Fearful.

Alisa Grace:    ... Fearful. Yeah. I even remember, right before eighth grade, the summer between seventh and eighth grade for you, the three of us, you, Chris and me, we had a wonderful opportunity to go to Cambridge, England for a month for a study trip for your dad. And I remember that we would walk around the city. We would want to sight see and you never walked with us. You always walked... Do you remember that? You would walk like 20 steps ahead of us or 20 steps behind us. And we always... how did you interpret that? Why would you do that?

Caroline:    Honestly, like looking back, I didn't even realize that was an anxiety thing. It was just like, I needed my alone time, my space outside. We were staying in like a little flat apartment that was super kind of small.

Alisa Grace:    Tiny.

Caroline:    Pretty tiny. And I just couldn't be around people it felt like. I was just like, talking was exhausting.

Chris Grace:    Yeah. So we would sometimes say, "Hey, we're going to go meet this person", we had an opportunity to meet all kinds of cool people there. And you'd be like, "Yeah, I think I'll stay in the room". You remember that?

Alisa Grace:    We're going to go visit the tower of London. "No, I'm going to stay here in the room".

Chris Grace:    So, why was that? what's going on in your head? If you can look back now... Because here's what we are going to do. There are definitely people out there listeners who can either relate to this in their childhood or currently, and or we have people out there that are parents or teachers. What was going on? And then what do you wish could have happened sooner?

Caroline:    Yeah. Well I was withdrawing, I was anxious and I was exhausted and I didn't know the words to put to those emotions yet. I knew I was more stressed out, but I didn't realize it was anxiety and exhaustion from that. I was emotionally drained. I was tired and that resulted in physical exhaustion for me. I didn't want to go out. I didn't want to be in big crowds of people. I didn't want to be in a new city because I was scared. I was scared of what people would think of me. I was scared of getting lost or getting kidnapped and those thoughts just circled through my mind. So it would be better to stay in a safe room alone.

Chris Grace:    Okay. And so for others that are listening and this becomes an issue, take us through the next steps. Some of the things that you knew you had to do and the things that, we incorporated, that we all did.

Caroline:    Yeah. So once we finally figured out that we needed to take extra steps, what we first did was we went to my family doctor, just a general doctor. I'd seen her for many different physical things before, just for checkups throughout the years. But she, like every general doctor, she also helps with that. So I went...

Alisa Grace:    And how did she respond when you talked to her?

Caroline:    Oh, she was so kind, she was so nice. She just sympathized with me. She wanted to get me help. She got me to a specialist. I sat inside the doctor's office and cried with my mom there and my doctor.

Chris Grace:    Yeah. That's a shout out to Dr. Ann Ford and [inaudible]

Caroline:    Yeah, she's awesome.

Alisa Grace:    Oh we love her.

Chris Grace:    But keep going.

Caroline:    Yeah. She just sat there and she almost got teary eyed too.

Chris Grace:    And how did you describe it, you just... What you just said to us? I just get anxious.

Caroline:    Yeah.

Chris Grace:    I can't stop my thoughts.

Caroline:    Yeah. What I just told you guys. I told her I was scared all the time that I was scared about starting school, that I was having a hard time wanting to do the things that I used to love to do. I didn't want to go to church anymore. I didn't want to go to cheer anymore. Things that I love to do. And she said that she thought it would be a good idea for me to start to see someone see a therapist and to start medication.

Chris Grace:    Yeah. And so we were all in the same room and you know, she shared that with the both of us, as your mom and I were in that room. And I remember the feeling of, "Well, okay, now here it comes. You know, we've always talked to people about starting medication", but she really did a good job of explaining, not just to you, but to us, "Hey, this medication is a good thing to try, it's safe for children" or at least someone that's 13, 14.

Caroline:    Yeah.

Alisa Grace:    Yeah. I love it. One of the things that she said that really set my heart at ease, and I think, I remember, I think it did for you too, Caroline, you can speak to it. Is that she said, "I don't want you to feel like this is odd or that there's something horribly wrong with you. You're not a bad person". She said, "I see this all the time in my practice. Especially both, guys and girls".

Caroline:    Yeah.

Alisa Grace:    But she said, "I see this. It's very common. We can get you help". And one of the things that was really interesting in this journey as we started the medication that was new to me, that I learned in the process. Is that, just because you start medication on Monday, doesn't going to mean you're going to start feeling better by Wednesday or Friday that it actually takes... Do you remember how she explained that Caroline?

Caroline:    Yeah. She said it would take a buildup of a few weeks, maybe a few months. And I... sorry.

Chris Grace:    Took a little bit of time. Huh?

Alisa Grace:    Yeah. And it might impact it... I remember that we had to adjust your dosage a couple of times.

Caroline:    Yeah, nine times.

Alisa Grace:    She started you out at a super low dosage. We tried it for about two weeks and then she had us come back. She said, "How are you feeling? Are you noticing a difference?" And I remember you said, "No, not really". And so she said, "Okay, let's just increase it by about five milligrams. So we'll give that a try". So we increased it by five and you started to fill a difference. And about two weeks later we went back and you said, you confirmed, "Yeah. This seems to be working". And then you stayed on that dosage with that particular medication probably for the rest of high school. Is that right?

Caroline:    Yeah. For the rest of high school, I was on that. I believe it changed. I went up and down a few times on the dosage, just depending on my situations, my life circumstances.

Alisa Grace:    Like what made a difference when you would have to increase it, like what... Was it a school change or something like that?

Caroline:    Yeah. School changes. I changed schools my sophomore year and I upped the dosage because I was really worried about it. Just like five milligrams and it helped a lot.

Chris Grace:    So all this starts happening. You're a freshman year we go in and in fact it seemed like for your story, your journey, it helped enough to you came to us and even talked about making a very significant life change. That was very stressful. Something out of the ordinary.

Caroline:    Yes.

Chris Grace:    So we knew something was working because, tell us your story.

Caroline:    So by the end of my freshman year, I just felt like I wasn't at the right place physically school-wise. I was doing really well a lot better than the beginning of the school year. I was emotionally... It was like night and day difference. I still was very early in the process of going to therapy and on medication. So I still had some bumps in the road emotionally. But I was doing a lot better. And towards the end of my freshman year, I let you guys know that I wanted to go to a school in Minnesota, a boarding high school, which is really weird because none of my siblings had done that.

Alisa Grace:    And why did you want to do that?

Caroline:    Truly? I just felt, the Lord telling me to go. There's truly no other explanation for it. I just felt like I was itching to get out. And I had no idea why, because I'm tended to not want to do huge life decisions like that.

Alisa Grace:    Yeah. That was a real surprise. I have to say.

Chris Grace:    Tended not to want to.

Caroline:    Yeah.

Alisa Grace:    That had to be a God thing.

Caroline:    It had to be. And you guys, at first very understandably were like, no.

Chris Grace:    Yeah. So you're 14, you're at a public school nearby. We're driving you... 13, 14. We're driving you back and forth. And all of a sudden now, you want to move halfway across the country to a private Christian school.

Caroline:    Yeah.

Chris Grace:    And yeah, that took a little bit of convincing. Isn't it?

Alisa Grace:    A lot of praying.

Chris Grace:    And a lot of praying.

Caroline:    A lot of praying. Yeah.

Chris Grace:    Eventually, we all three together and others were praying for us and friends, John and Pam Lundy helped think through, because they went to school there. There are faculty here at Biola and eventually you decided to go and spent three years there. Now tell us about the journey during that time. Mental health wise.

Caroline:    Yeah. It was overall a great experience. I had grown a ton there. I came back for summers. It's just like college, but high school.

Alisa Grace:    More curfews.

Caroline:    More curfews, a lot more curfews.

Alisa Grace:    Little bit more structure. Somebody makes you clean your room in boarding school. Don't they?

Caroline:    They do. And they check. It was super great. I had a ton of just life that happened there. They were a good support system for me.

Chris Grace:    And then mental health wise, you felt like you were starting to maintain or?

Caroline:    Yeah, my sophomore year was pretty hard. Mental health wise. I remember. Emotionally it was hard just being away from you guys because you guys were such a great support system for me. And in being just at a new school, it was a little hard, but I got used to it. I really loved it. And then it was all kind of like uphill from there. It was easy.

Chris Grace:    Yeah. Okay. So probably the medication helped, your journey then took you now you're going... You spent three years there.

Alisa Grace:    You even stayed in touch with your therapist, didn't you?

Caroline:    I did. Yeah. I met with my therapist over FaceTime that sophomore year. Cause I loved her. She's awesome...

Alisa Grace:    And in the summers.

Caroline:    I still see her. And in the summers, I'd go back and see her.

Chris Grace:    Who do you shout that one out to? If you want to.

Caroline:    That's to Stephanie [Celia.]

Alisa Grace:    Celia.

Caroline:    Celia.

Alisa Grace:    Although she's married now.

Caroline:    She's married now, but she's awesome.

Chris Grace:    Shout out to Stephanie. She's an awesome therapist.

Caroline:    She's an awesome girl. Yeah.

Chris Grace:    So all of that seemed to have helped your journey. You were there... We did want to. I mean now we move up to the present day, right? As we look back, we realize this was from the very beginning and you wouldn't be aware all of this as a young child, but we did know that you were dealing with anxiety and fear. So it's possible that this was clearly either some role of a genetic quirk, it's a biochemical quirk, the medication you're on... Do you know what kind of medication you're on right now? What it's called? Or do you remember?

Caroline:    It's Escitalopram. It's generic Lexapro.

Chris Grace:    Yeah. So it's Lexapro. That is the... So, and it's helped you to... any side effects? Do you feel, like at first or, I mean, now you don't even realize it, you just take it and go.

Caroline:    Yeah, I'm very lucky. I had no side effects, many people don't, some people just have to try different medications to see what works best for them, but it was the first one for me. It worked great. I just had to up my dosage and it finally let me feel like myself again.

Chris Grace:    So you're filling yourself again and now you're away in high school and in college and you're running into a bunch of friends. Some... now you're at a Christian boarding school and now you're at a Christian university. What's out there with your friends. And what role has your journey helped play and provide for you?

Caroline:    Yeah. Most of my friends that I have run into that have mental health issues or patterns. The biggest problem with them is they never had the resources to access help, growing up. A lot of them had tendencies starting in high school usually, when they started to notice that something was very wrong with their emotional health. And most common, what I hear is that they brought it to their parents and their parents have dismissed it or said that it's just a phase. It's just their emotions in high school that it'll pass. Or it's not that big of a deal.

    So I had the chance to tell them that my system was awesome. I had a great support system. You guys were such a blessing and dad being a psychologist, you knew, not only what to do, but how to sympathize with me and you guys being Christians and understanding that it's not just worry. And that there was a difference between my worry and anxiety.

Alisa Grace:    And it wasn't a lack of faith.

Caroline:    It was not a lack of faith at all. It was a chemical imbalance. Just a lot of them didn't have a support system. They were able to recognize that something was wrong, but it got dismissed or they just didn't know how to get help.

Chris Grace:    Yeah. And two quick clarifying points. We messed up a lot. There's no doubt, I would go back. Alisa, we'd go back and do it very differently. You know, so even though we know this area, we're not perfect. And in fact, we're going to do the very next podcast here. As soon as we end this one, it's going to be about responses for friends and parents in particular, when they're trying to help another person.

    So we'll finish up your journey now. But the second comment I want to make too, is Caroline, there was also an element of spiritual, maybe either attack or things like that. And we prayed through that as well. We wanted to pray that we knew it wasn't your faith. And we knew it wasn't your behaviors, you always followed the rules and you never did homework, but you always, at least. Did most of the other things in life. But we did pray that, God would protect you and that this wouldn't be a spiritual attack. And do you think that is at all at play in some situations that you've encountered or have you seen it more, where is it because people, some of your friends, isn't spiritual in any way? What do you think?

Caroline:    I mean, I'm sure it can be. I think in my case it was probably genetic and I just grew up with it with childhood anxiety. It's not to dismiss that spiritual warfare is very real and prevalent. I feel like for me, it probably, would've just been more times that I was like anxious. It wasn't the anxiety itself, but just heightened times of anxiety. And it's good to pray through it, pray through anxiety because God can protect you from that. He can place his hand over you and protect you. It's not just to dismiss anxiety, but it's just another tool in the toolbox.

Alisa Grace:    Yeah.

Chris Grace:    Anything else you want to add about your journey in this? I mean, now you seem to be from all appearances thriving and it's just so, now you have Stephanie and other available, you have your doctor available and medication. And...

Alisa Grace:    Wait, what would you say to maybe that person that's listening to this podcast that is for the first time going, "Oh my gosh, what she just described, that's me. That's exactly what I've been feeling. Oh my gosh, what do I do next?" What would you say to that person, who's maybe a little hesitant to tell somebody else.

Caroline:    Yeah. I would tell them it's not weird. It's not embarrassing. It doesn't mean that you're less than, or that you're not deserving of help. Get help. Talk to someone, find someone to talk to. There are people out there who do want to help people that love you. There're resources out here. There's a CMR. If you're at Biola, near Biola, if you're listening to the podcast, the CMR would love to help you. Resources like that. There is people out there who do love you, and God doesn't love you any less and there's help available.

Alisa Grace:    That's beautiful.

Chris Grace:    Yeah. Drop the mic, man. That's good stuff right there, Caroline. No cap. Thank you so much. Here's what we're going to do. Thank you for sharing a little of your journey. And I'd like us to spend some time next on our very next podcast, talking about what happens, not if just you, but it's somebody really close to you. What can you tell them? What steps should you take? I mean, there's people who just don't know what to do when it's revealed to them.

Alisa Grace:    And what resources are out there specifically where you can turn. So Caroline, thank you so much for just being brave and courageous and being willing to share a really personal part of your own life. A journey that I know at times was very painful and very hard. And we've really seen the lord at work in you and through you with this experience. And as parents, I think we want to just pause and say, please forgive us, where we messed up and maybe where we didn't respond the way we should have or the way we wish we would have, or even, thinking now, "Wow, why didn't we see this earlier for what it was" And as a parent, you can carry a lot of guilt about that. And you want to be able to give yourself that grace.

Chris Grace:    Yeah. Thanks Alisa. And I know that it's hard for you, and us, to think through what happened during that journey. But Alisa, you did amazing during that time and you are not the trained expert in this, but man you became the expert. You showed up, you were there, you learned and your gut is something we all learned to trust. So here's what I want to do. Thank you so much.

Alisa Grace:    Trust the Lord, especially, thorough this.

Chris Grace:    Let's talk about that on the next podcast. What can we do when someone very close to us is hurting and we're not quite sure what to do.

Alisa Grace:    Yeah. So as we wrap up today, we want to encourage you to check out our website at Be sure and click subscribe on the platform that you're listening to share it with your friends. Maybe you have a friend that's struggling in this area and you want to share this podcast with them, put it on your Instagram, put it on Facebook, wherever, just send it through email, but check it out. We have a lot of resources, other blogs, other podcasts that deal with this topic. And we just want you to know that you are not alone and help is out there. So we are really glad you joined us today and we'll look forward to having you with us on our next episode of the Art of Relationships.

Caroline:    Thanks for having me.

Chris Grace:    Thanks for being here.

Speaker 1:    Thanks for listening to the Art of Relationships. This podcast has only made possible through generous donations from listeners, just like you. If you like it and want to help keep the podcast going, visit our website at and make a donation today.