Sheila Walsh Escapes the Darkness of Depression

Sheila grew up in Scotland. When she was five years old, her father suffered a brain thrombosis that changed his ability to live a normal life and drastically changed his personality. He went from being a warm, fun, kind dad to an angry, unpredictable, violent stranger. He would spit in Sheila’s face or pull a chunk of her hair out. He died a few months later while a patient in a psychiatric hospital. Although Sheila missed her father, her mom’s faith and sense of humor helped to fill her childhood home with love. Sheila gave her heart to Jesus when she was eleven years old. Sheila threw herself into serving God – it was the one place she could hide. At nineteen, Sheila left Scotland to study at London Bible College. On the weekends, Sheila would sing in a Christian band with some of her friends in college gymnasiums. After she graduated from college, Sheila joined Youth for Christ as a music evangelist singing and speaking in schools, universities and churches. For the next ten years she traveled all over the world and released several record albums. She also served for three years as the host for a show called the Rock Gospel Show on Britain’s number one network the BBC. Sheila came to America to settle in Los Angeles in 1986 since most of her touring was in the United States. Then in 1988, Sheila was asked to audition for the position of co-host on The 700 Club. She was hired the same day and a month later moved to Virginia Beach. Sheila loved her job. “On the surface I had it made, and everything looked fine – but I was not fine. I had not been fine for a long time.”


As co-host on The 700 Club, Sheila was working most days from early in the morning until six in the evening. Then she would fly out on the weekends to do concerts. The frantic pace of her life began to take its toll. She began to feel numb and distanced from people. Her desperate prayer became, “Lord, please hold me. I’m falling into a dark well.” Although Sheila was still functioning on the job, her distress was beginning to show. During an interview on The 700 Club, Sheila remembers staring at a guest who was talking and wondering who she was. She couldn’t remember what she had asked the guest or what she should say next. Another time, on the show Sheila began to cry as she was interviewing a guest. Later that summer, Sheila received a letter from a viewer saying, “I don’t know what it is that is causing you so much pain, my dear, but I can see it in your eyes. Please get some help, I am praying for you.” Sheila says to this day that is one of the most precious gifts she received. Somebody noticed her pain. As her condition continued to decline, Sheila began to feel overwhelmed by fear, she couldn’t eat or sleep and it became clear that she could not continue as she was. “For a Christian who wrestled with a disease of the mind, it was assumed that something in your behavior or a perverse lack of faith had brought it on,” shares Sheila.

Sheila finally did reach out for help. Pat knew a little bit about Sheila’s situation and had expressed a desire to help. Sheila went to see Pat. As she talked about her situation, Pat listened, prayed for her and told her his office was always open to her. “At the weakest point in my life, Pat was incredibly supportive of me. He never judged or questioned me. He was kind and fatherly and supported my decision to get help and was always in my corner,” shares Sheila. Pat suggested a doctor that Sheila already knew and trusted. The doctor recommended she be hospitalized and suggested a particular Christian hospital program in Washington, DC.

After entering the hospital, Sheila went through therapy and evaluation. Along the way, she discovered things about herself that were harmful. For example, when she was unable or unwilling to deal with what was true about her life, she buried it. “You can try for years to deny the things that are tearing at your soul, but they will not go away. They thrive in the shadowlands, and if you don’t deal with them, they will one day deal with you.” Her doctor told her although he saw no signs of bipolar disorder he determined that she was severely clinically depressed. She had all the classic signs: insomnia, loss of memory, loss of appetite, overwhelming feelings of hopelessness, loss of emotional control, and an unbearable sadness. Sheila’s doctor helped her understand that mental illness is a reality, a treatable reality, and there is no shame there. Through prayer, reading the Word, therapy, and medication Sheila began to manage her depression. At the end of thirty days, Sheila left the hospital and returned to CBN to say goodbye.


After leaving the hospital, Sheila felt a desire to go back to the very basics of her faith and build a better foundation. She applied to the Fuller Theological Seminary in California and was accepted. She also returned to the The 700 Club to say farewell to the viewers. After her final appearance on the show, Sheila received more than five thousand letters from viewers telling her about their stories. “I am glad that my last appearance on The 700 Club gave some people the courage to tell their own stories,” shares Sheila.
A few years later, she met and married her husband, Barry, and they became pregnant. Her son Christian was born in 1997. Six weeks later, Sheila joined America’s largest women’s conference, Women of Faith. As a featured speaker, Sheila spoke at events with over 10,000 people in attendance.  After her first event, Sheila was overwhelmed at how other women could relate to what she was talking about. In fact, they were waiting to talk with her after the event. They shared familiar words, “I, too, struggle with depression.” “I thought I was the only one.” Sheila felt as though she had found a home with Women of Faith, now in its 20th year. “I felt like this ministry pulled back the dark curtain in women’s lives and allowed them to tell the truth,” reveals Sheila. She went on to write several books including: the award winning Gigi: God’s Little Princess series and God Loves Broken People.

Although Sheila does not consider herself a counselor or psychologist, she encourages those struggling with anxiety and depression to get help. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says that one in five Americans is being treated for depression and anxiety. One of the greatest challenges to those who suffer with this disease is that many people do not believe it is a legitimate disease. “I can assure you, it is,” shares Sheila. She says, “There is nothing to be ashamed about in reaching out for help. It takes a lot more courage to step out into the darkness than to stay in the prison in which you may currently be living.”

Mentioned in the Video

Guest Info


Best-selling author, latest, Loved Back to Life (2015)

Featured speaker with Women of Faith, she has ministered to more than 5 million women

Grammy-nominated vocalist

Former 700 Club co-host and Heart to Heart host

Currently completing her Masters of Theology

Married to Barry

Son, Christian


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