It was just a very dangerous path. I hardly left my house for three-and-a-half years. I did nothing but order food to be delivered to my house. If I did leave, it was to go to pick up fast food.
One day, I left my house to go to a movie theater by myself. I saw two movies that day, and so after four hours, I came outside and noticed that my car had a bunch of sticky notes on it. They said things like, “We love you,” “We miss you,” and “Come back to us.”
As I walked around to the driver’s side door, I realized about eight or nine of my loved ones were there. They had been sitting outside of that movie theater for four hours waiting for me. They found me. They essentially had an intervention and said, “We’re concerned for you, and we need you to get some help.” They pretty much forced me to go to counseling.
That began my ascent out of the pit. It was my loved ones who fought for me, it was the power of community and it was dealing with the emotions I had been stuffing down with food. I had gained all the 120 pounds back that I had lost over the years, plus 75 more. I was miserable. I felt helpless. But through my loved ones fighting for me, and through dealing with all of that grief, God finally started lifting me out of the dark.
CCM: What were the messages instilled to you that opposed that little lie in your head that once was tricking you by saying, “I don’t need to live?”
Mandisa: Essentially, I needed to let the light back in. I was only listening to dark influences—nothing but media, movies and television. I wasn’t listening to anything of the Lord, and so I think it was just a matter of my friends and council speaking life back into me—speaking hope.
I remember one of the things my counselor shared was, “Don’t focus on the mistakes that have happened in the past.” It’s so hard for me to not beat myself up when I looked in the mirror, especially seeing that 200-pound weight gain over three and a half years. It’s so easy to give up and just think, “I can’t do this again.”
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