Debbie was raising four children, working 12-hour days, and doing all the cooking and housekeeping.
"I was unhappy, crying, and my house was dirty. I'd try to cope by doing just a little bit more," Debbie says.
"Needless to say, it unraveled."
She healed through months of therapy.
"I felt guilty for feeling bad," she says. "I walked into the therapist's office crying, mute. I felt as if no one heard me."
In therapy she revealed past abuse. She explored the trauma of living with alcoholic parents. "I would show up in my most neurotic state, and he'd say, 'How natural that you feel that way.' "
With her counselor, who was also a minister, she felt safe to examine everything about her life. Debbie wrote for hours in her journal and would drop off pages for her therapist to read between sessions. She stayed in therapy for 18 months.
"It's by grace I escaped being in a hospital. They just didn't get ahold of me," she says laughing.
Now a writer and motivational speaker, Debbie promotes a holistic message of self-recovery.
"People can and do recover," she says.
Debbie's story reflects her experiences as told in an interview. The photograph is not of Debbie, to protect her privacy.
Medical Review:Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Lisa S. Weinstock MD - Psychiatry