“I have found community and honestly it is a good thing because when you battle your own mind for depression and anxiety it does mess with your head as it tells you are alone (even) when you are surrounded by people.”    (Jeneanne G.)

6 years ago, I sat in the office of a Christian counselor, during our first meeting, telling him that I didn’t need counseling. That I was just fine, and I should be able to handle this problem called “depression” by myself. Over 2 years later, I had finished meeting with him, feeling a freedom I never thought I would feel again.

During my time of counseling my middle daughter was diagnosed with ADHD. This began 2 years of therapy and counseling for our own children, with a diagnosis of ADHD, ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder) and Depression for our middle daughter and ADHD, ODD, Autism Spectrum Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder for our youngest, our son.

Family Photo Collage

Ever since that time I have wanted to share my experience with others who find themselves stuck. Stuck in a world of hopelessness, with no light at the end of the tunnel, for either themselves or for their children.

It was at this time Living With Real Joy was created.

Since I began this adventure, I’ve had many people ask different questions about my experience:

How do you “get over” depression or anxiety?

How do you handle the meltdowns of an autistic child?

How do you talk with your spouse about your depression?

What strategies have you used with your special needs children?

What Bible verses do you find particularly helpful when you’re in a dark time of your life?

How do you help your child with ADHD when she’s completely frustrated with her homework?

How do you take care of your family and yourself at the same time?

After talking to many women about themselves and their families, a passion was born in me to help others navigate through these intense daily struggles of mental health and special needs. My desire is for you to receive the help and guidance you need so you can live a life of peace regardless of your circumstances. Calm in the midst of chaos. Structure in the middle of mess. Hope when there’s no light at the end of the tunnel.


  • Depression survivor for over 14 years and mother of 2 special needs children for 12 plus years
  • Living daily with my diagnosis but through medication and counseling learning how to be victorious over it rather than letting it control me
  • Creating a strong marriage to my husband of 19 plus years, even after my diagnosis almost caused our relationship to end in divorce
  • Pastor’s wife active in ministry with my husband and other spiritual leaders which has given me opportunities to mentor and support women and their families
  • Speaker at women’s conferences teaching others how to overcome depression as a Christ-follower
  • Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a focus on Counseling
  • Certificate of Training – Life Coaching Course Life Coaching Certificate


(Life & Family Coaching is NOT a replacement for therapy or counseling. I am not a licensed counselor, but a guide and mentor to walk with you through your specific life-journey.)


Head on over to the Products page for more details (including prices) about each specific coaching package – Depression & Anxiety Support, Christian Life Care and Control the Chaos.

If you’re still unsure if this direction is right for you, complete the form and I will email you a brief, simple plan of action based on this questionnaire. From there you can schedule a meeting or you can use my recommendations for FREE, no strings attached.

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For any questions, please email me personally at samantha@livingwithrealjoy.com.

McDonald family