My name is Dr. Christy Walter. I am a board certified Emergency Medicine Physician and hold a Master's Degree in Counseling Psychology. I have had the privilege of serving people over the last 20+ years in settings ranging from crisis counseling centers, hospice, trauma hospitals, community hospitals, and rural hospitals. I helped spearhead the development of an Urgent Care in an underserved, rural community in Missouri. I currently practice telemedicine in order to have more time to dedicate to DogGone Depression. There have been gut-wrenching moments and joy-filled encounters, but some of my wildest adventures in medicine happened while serving people in Zambia, Africa. (Crazy stories. Book coming soon...).
Most people think that the medical profession offers a luxurious life filled with high salaries, beautiful homes, nice cars, and security. Some of that is true...But that's not the whole truth. Trauma, death, long hours, student loan debt, and unrealistic expectations take a toll. There were times I felt like I was dying inside. I remember warning a medical student, "The ER is where your soul goes to die."
You see, I have struggled with Anxiety, Depression and cPTSD for decades. Though successful, my career and life choices heightened my struggles. I know what it is like to live in “survival mode.” I have spent countless hours and thousands of dollars in therapy. In 2019, at the height of my career, I fell and broke my foot and shoulder. I tried to work but couldn’t safely maneuver through the ER, so I went out on a leave of absence. Forced to slow down, the depression and PTSD that I had kept at bay through work and busyness completely overtook my life. Depression dictated my every move, every thought, every word, and every moment. I knew I was going down but couldn’t stop the slide into despair, hopelessness, and suicidality. I tried everything I knew to do to free myself - hospitals, residential treatment, extensive therapy, support groups, and studied books.
My psychiatrist cleared me to return to work in January 2021. I was excited to jump back into the fray. However, my employer unexpectedly fired me. As the only breadwinner, I panicked. We sold everything: home, horses, furniture, and a car. I was left scrambling to find another job. Although I landed on my feet, the experience and life circumstances changed me. I knew I was not able to work at the same level of intensity as I had before. My body was weak and my mind fragile.
My goal and mantra became: “NO DEBT, NO GUILT, MORE TIME.” With a clear vision, new direction, and new focus, I took steps to freedom. I was determined to reinvent myself. One day during prayer and meditation, I started to sketch the face of my dog. As the portrait unfolded, I felt the love of God through the heart and eyes of my dog. I shared the finished portrait with friends who then asked me to do portraits of their dogs. Before I knew it, a business was born. But I didn’t stop there.
In medical training we live by the motto: “See one, do one, teach one.” So, I am combining my years of education and my own experiences into a course to help others who struggle with mental health issues. I am taking the best of what I have learned, combining it with art, and creating tangible action steps that will lead to lasting change.
I want to come along side you. Together we will systematically silence the voices of Depression and Anxiety. Despair and hopelessness will no longer have the power to tell you how to live your life - or that you have no life left to live. You will find your true voice and gain the skills needed to step into your freedom. Hope, Healing and Happiness will be your new mantra.
P.S. I invite you to join the 3H Club.
IT WASN'T ALWAYS EASY
From an early age, I struggled with Depression, Anxiety, and PTSD. I tried to cope by staying "busy" and through "achievements." I never felt whole. I was never at peace. That was until I put this process into action.
Now I can truly say that I have gone from merely "surviving" to "thriving." I know you can too.