Nichole remembers, “I could wake up in the morning and be pretty happy and upbeat, but by the end of the night I would be taking a razor blade cutting my wrists and wanting to die. I just felt like I was living sheer hell on earth.”
Nichole Marbach spent six years of her life in and out of mental hospitals. Tormented by childhood memories of sexual, physical and verbal abuse at the hands of an alcoholic relative. Nichole says, “I felt very unsafe and it caused so much fear and anxiety to happen in my life, but I couldn’t tell anyone about it because I was afraid.”
By the time Nichole she was 10, her mom had divorced and remarried. She started going to church and gave her life to Christ. Unfortunately, the abuse continued, as did Nichole’s search for love and security. Nichole remembers, “I believed God was mad at me because I was filled with constant negative thoughts that there was something wrong with me and that I was defective and that I was unlovable.”
By early high school the abuse stopped, but now Nichole had found ways to cope by binge drinking, sex and hurting herself. Nichole recalls, “I started pulling my hair and banging my head against cement walls and pinching myself and eventually I found a razor and cut myself.”
Nichole continued to drink in college and by the time she graduated she had settled down, was married to Claude and soon had three children. She thought she had put her horrific childhood behind her until one day when she was changing her daughter’s diaper. Nichole remembers, “And it just triggered so much pain and anger at the time because here I was, a mother, protecting my child and realizing that nobody protected me.”
Those memories also triggered something else. Nichole shares, “I started really hearing these negative voices in my head telling me to kill myself and telling me I was a horrible mother and telling me that my kids would be better off without me.”
Again, Nichole began binge drinking and Claude soon found out and insisted they go to counseling. That’s when he first heard about her abusive past. Claude says, “What’s difficult is how it’s hurting us now. Certainly, was disheartened, very sad and at a sense of loss also.”
Nichole was diagnosed with PTSD and bipolar and anxiety disorder, among others. Afterwards she started cutting again. Nichole says, “My mind was racing with such thoughts of self-hatred that one time I even took a razor blade and wrote in two-inch block letters on my stomach ‘I HATE ME.’”
Although medicated, Nichole would spend the next six years in and out of psych wards following numerous attempts to hurt herself. Nichole remembers, “The torment, the confusion, the anxiety, the pain and the heartache that I would experience all of these negative emotions and confusion that wouldn’t stop playing in my mind.”
Claude recalls, “And it became like kind of an unsurmountable mountain because it was too much. I personally despaired, but also despaired that she wouldn’t be alive.”
Finally, the Marbach’s resigned to the fact they would have to live with Nichole’s mental illness for the rest of their lives. Then in 2006, Nichole met a psychiatric nurse at a Christian recovery center.
“She shared with me that God wanted me well and that I could replace all of those negative thoughts and lies I was believing with truth from the word.” Nichole continues, “I started hearing the voice of God speaking to me and telling me how much He loved me. And that confusion and mental torment just left, and I knew that I knew that I knew that I was healed, and I was free.”
Nichole says right away she lost her desire to drink and injure herself. Also, in the coming months she got off the meds and could be the wife and mother she and her family needed her to be.
Claude shares, “The sense of joy, the fun that we were having that’s coming back. The ability to be the mom she wanted to be.”
She also began to discover who she truly was in Jesus Christ, receive his forgiveness and forgive her abusers. Nichole recalls, “As I received the love of God for myself I was able to view my abusers through his eyes of love and I was able to forgive them. I can’t tell you how free I felt in that moment. It was like the icing on the cake of my healing, that I knew that I knew that I was healed and whole because of Jesus. And it’s been 14 years of no medication. Thank you, Jesus.”
Ever since, Nichole has been free and now has a national and international ministry where she helps others struggling with addictions and mental illness. She’s also written multiple books including a devotional that share her journey of healing.
Claude shares, “People that think that mental illness cannot be healed, I would say to them, we’ve witnessed this. Continue to have hope for the journey is not over and with God all things are possible.”
Nichole shares, “Everything that I was searching for as a child and as an adult to find safety and love and protection, I have now found that in my relationship with God. I want to tell you that Jesus not only provided physical healing at the cross, but He also provided emotional healing and healing for mental illness. And I want to encourage you that that healing belongs to you.”