How Rozell Kept Control: Another Testimony From a Potters Field Survivor: Part 3
At the beginning of 2019, I had already been struggling with 6 months of severe depression and suicidal thoughts. I had not talked to anyone about it. I was seeking God and His Word every day and serving in full time ministry at PFM. I was begging God to take this depression from me. I have struggled through seasons of depression since I was 14 years old but the worst times have been when I was in unhealthy and oppressive environments.
Even though I didn’t recognize it, I was in yet another unhealthy situation.
At the beginning of the year, I lost 2 influential people in my life to suicide and that was the beginning of my wake up call. I felt desperate. I had hit rock bottom and was really scared to carry the weight of this alone anymore. So I finally talked to someone. I reached out to one of my closest friends/accountability partners/mentors. Again, as I’ve pointed out in another post, within the ministry, when you’re told something “above your pay grade”, you are expected to tell Mike immediately. You were always made to feel like this breach of privacy was for the good of the person who shared it with you privately. So anyway, I left her house and went to work at the office and almost as soon as I got there, Mike came and got me and took me into a random, dark office alone. He sat close to me and just went on and on about my past and how many others were also struggling with depression. Then he took me into his office and told his assistants what I was struggling with. He told me that these feelings were selfish. He made me feel guilty and ashamed for feeling this way but in a very confusing and manipulative way that felt like he cared at the time. I was only allowed to talk to a couple people about it that Mike approved. This was exactly what I was terrified of happening, why I never talked to anyone about it before. I was made to feel like it was my fault that I was struggling with this. He knew that my dream was to serve the Lord in Africa and had told me many times his grand plans of how that would happen.
Later that day, he called me and told me that he had “wind in his face from the Lord” about sending me to Africa and now he knew why. So I was made to feel like my depression was why God was withholding the dreams and desires that I had. I believed it all. I hated myself for it. In hindsight, with a little bit of healing under my belt, I understand that these things weren’t true. I wasn’t being punished for some hidden sin of mine because there just wasn’t anything. He told me a few days later that I should now have an understanding of how much God loves me and never have these thoughts again. So when these thoughts and feelings didn’t just vanish, I was so upset with myself and felt like I was doing something wrong. I found out after I left months later that I was only one of many that this happened to. So many of us were struggling at the same time but not allowed to talk about it.
After a while of the depression only worsening and not letting up, I asked Mike about counseling. He had a specific counselor he thought I should go to, but it was a man and I wasn’t completely comfortable with that. When I mentioned not being comfortable with it and told him I wanted to seek the Scriptures to see if God had anything to say about men counseling women, I was told by an assistant pastor that I didn’t need to do that because Mike and himself had told me to do it and they would never do anything to lead me astray.This just shows more patterns of control and manipulation. More examples of how we were taught to not trust ourselves. We were living in community with like-minded believers but made to feel completely alone in our pain.“Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses. Those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear.”- I Timothy 5:19-20 NKJV