Rhonda Morrison overcame a depression that ran so deep it affected her physically.

The Ahwatukee Foothills resident said she lost many years of her life battling mental hurdles. She has come out the other end with a new lease on life and hopes her story can inspire others to take initiative to improve their own lives.

Morrison went through a nasty divorce and legal battle in her hometown in Oklahoma that lasted four years. She moved to Ahwatukee Foothills in 2006 and until 2009 she said she was "only existing." During that time she taught music and later on began a program called Hurt to Heal.

"While I was going through that trauma I created this program," she said. "The basis is the more you have been through pain and had a broken heart, then if you allow yourself to start healing that hurt will turn into healing other people and that gift goes on and on."

Years after she won a legal battle against her ex-husband, who was a licensed minister in Oklahoma, Morrison said she was still feeling the effects. She said she did not go to church for 12 years during this time.

In 2005, the mental toll got to the point where it began to affect the use of her arms.

"A doctor told me I had frozen shoulder, tendinitis in one arm and carpal tunnel in both," she said. "(My ex-husband's) theme was to break me and he did momentarily."

Morrison started hiking South Mountain and had physical therapy done to improve the use of her arms. With the help of friends and family and soul-searching, by spring 2009 she had fully recovered.

"I had a choice to stay in this funk or start to dig out of this grave slowly but surely," she said. "I felt like I had gotten out of the tomb but I got back and I'm healed. I love me and God loves me."

Morrison is using Hurt to Heal to help people through emotionally-painful situations. She has set up seminars in people's homes and also set up a hotline for those who want to call in and talk.

Morrison is writing a novel about her experiences and said she hopes to use the proceeds to continue to build upon the foundation of her organization.

To find out more, visit her website, www.AhwatukeeMusic.com, or call (480) 460-0802.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or troemhild@ahwatukee.com

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