Tuesday, February 13, 2018

It Isn't That Easy

Last week I saw this on Facebook:

The version I saw was a video. The top frame showing a nice trip down a peaceful path in the woods - the bottom frame showing bottles falling and spilling pills everywhere.
I read the words, "This is an antidepressant," and I thought, If only it were that easy. How nice it would have been seven years ago when I discovered depression was the reason I could cry at the drop of a hat, the reason I could take just about anything someone said to me and turn it into a negative slam on my personhood, the reason I often felt like the world was crashing in on me - how nice it would have been to take a walk in the woods and feel all better!
Ahhh, but it just isn't that easy!

When I found out I have a condition called depression, I started taking medication. And I started learning how to think better. That is, I began engaging in a lot of self-talk - which means when a circumstance arises and I start going down the path of negativity, I talk myself out of it. I remind myself the person who just said something to me doesn't really mean I'm a failure. Sometimes it means I recite scripture to myself because I need to hear Truth. I remember once when I realized I had forgotten to get gas and was about to start berating myself for it - I literally spoke the words out loud, "It's OK, Karen. It's OK."

Before taking an antidepressant, my immediate response to almost any circumstance was to belittle myself and rehearse all the reasons why whatever was going on indicated I was a failure. And to cry. Crying was always a part of it.
When I started taking the drug I felt like somehow it gave me space in those circumstances. Rather than going right to beating up on myself, I had a moment to hear what was said and evaluate it. I had time to think better. I didn't rush into condemnation, rather I began to think rationally. And I cannot tell you how that time changed me.
Eventually, I began to think, Maybe I don't need to take this medicine anymore. Now that I know how to think better, maybe I can manage depression on my own! So I weaned myself off the antidepressant.
That is to say, I didn't learn the first time how bad of an idea that was. It took me two attempts to realize that for me - it's more than just knowing how to think. Somewhere inside my brain there is a chemical imbalance, and I need medical intervention to achieve harmony.
Since then, I have come to understand one very important thing. God is using this medication to carry me. He could lift me out of the pit of depression any way He chooses, and it appears he's chosen a drug.
Here's the thing: I am confident that God is not ashamed of the way He is working in me. And if HE isn't ashamed, I won't be either!


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