Thursday, August 01, 2013

Messy Me: Part 3

So, I went through a weekend which was supposed to be fun, but seemed more like a pit to me.

But God used it for good.

In the days that followed, I had good conversations. Healing, even. And I came to some realizations which are strengthening my resolve to be mentally healthy.
*It really is OK that I need my meds. A mental illness is just as worthy of treatment as a physical illness.
*Feeling good is normal and OK. This one took a little more time for me to understand. For as long as I can remember, I have had some sort of guilty feeling when things have gone well for me. Like, I had trouble admitting that I had a nice nap, or that I fully enjoyed an afternoon alone. Somehow, I always felt it necessary to find something which had gone wrong - so when a person asked how my this-or-that was, I could give a less-than-good report.
It seems depression has shaped my thinking for far too long, and warped my sense of what is good. Such that I thought "bad" was the only thing "good". I am finally coming to understand that it is good, and normal, and OK to feel good.
*Therefore, when I take my meds and I feel good, that's OK. I have increased my dosage so I am no longer taking nearly nothing. I feel a lot better. And I am asking God to help me find the level which is best for me.

My story is not finished yet. I know my struggle is not over. But God sees the end. HE sees Messy Me, and HE knows how it is all going to be resolved. I am trusting Him with every breath as I wait for the conclusion to be Written.
It has been a joy and a privilege to share my depression story with you here this week. Depression can feel like a very lonely road, and I pray my openness has been encouraging to some.
Even freeing.
Blogger tells me more people have been reading these posts about depression than my other posts typically reach. And that increase tells me this subject matters. We need to talk about it. We need to get rid of the stigma depression has held for so long!
Even so, I realize some of you may feel uncomfortable leaving comments here (And I totally understand!) so I want to invite you to email me. There's a link on the sidebar to the right.
If you need to talk, I am happy to listen and pray!



Anonymous said...

Karen, I think it is awesome that you share this journey you have been on with Depression. You are right, people tend to stay in the silence and endure their pain out of fear of what others may think. Even with my recent hardship of enduring a missed miscarriage over the past month, I was so nervous to tell my doctor about how I was really doing (as you know I did get depressed). Its hard though to explain your thoughts/emotions, when you are in that dark place. And I think its hard even for people to tell their doctors because nobody wants to admit they are having problems or feel depressed. But I agree with you!! We need to open up and talk about depression for sure. I have been down that road quite a bit in my life, and I am sure there are many times, I could have benefited from an antidepressant. I know the dark road of depression, it consumes you. And you basically can feel like the walking dead. I'm sure your blog on your depression journey has been a blessing to many. I know talking with you has been a blessing to me. hugs***chera

Sara K. said...

Thank you for sharing, Karen! Very encouraging to read! It especially resonated with me that a mental illness is just as worthy of treatment as a physical illness. So glad you are feeling good!!

Karen Hossink said...

Chera - Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
It seems to me depression doesn't get a fair hearing from many people because it isn't something which can be seen on an x-ray or found in a blood test. Like so many other ailments. Hopefully, as we talk about it more, a greater number of people will accept that it is a real thing.

Sara - You're welcome. And thank YOU. :)

Jenn said...

Thank you for opening another "public" discussion of anxiety and depression. It was surprising to see your note that so many people have read these posts but so few have commented publicly. I've struggled with depression and/or anxiety at different times since I was a teenager, and so many of my friends and family have had these or other disorders that it's such an unshocking thing to me. I guess we do need to keep working at NOT keeping it secret and stigmatized, so that others don't feel they have to fight the labels and thus miss out on healing. (Do you think Christians are less willing to "admit it," thinking that it's only a spiritual issue, or that a good Christian wouldn't be depressed -or some other reason?)

Karen Hossink said...

Jenn - Thank you for your comment.
I think you hit on two very likely reasons why Christians might keep their struggle a secret. And I think a third reason is the attitude of so many other Christians toward medical intervention for mental health.
I cannot count the number of times I have heard (well-meaning, I am sure) Christians say something like, "Christians shouldn't take drugs for depression. They just need to read and rely on the Word of God so their faith will be stronger." Especially for someone struggling with depression (Because they are already feeling rotten about their self.) it is a very hard pill to swallow to admit you need to swallow a pill because your faith isn't strong enough.
I think more grace and greater understanding would go a long way in the Christian community.

Anonymous said...

Karen, I am new to your site and I thank God he led me here. I too am a depressed person, but I have the opposite problem. I feel unconnected. I don't cry. It seems nothing really touches my heart, even the heart felt praise songs I sing with our congregation in church. It is better when I take my meds but not good. When I ran out this past month I realized too that I need them. I am seeing my Dr. tomorrow and will talk with him about raising my dose. Thank you for sharing.

Karen Hossink said...

Dear Anonymous - I am so glad God led you here, too. And I'm praying for your doctor's appointment tomorrow!