My career with antidepressants started in the spring of 1996. We had just moved here in 1994, I was lonely, horribly homesick for California with 4 young children and a very painful marriage.
We had made the move to help build a church and had high hopes of some kind of wonderful community, hopes that what we were sacrificing to support someone else’s vision would be worth it. It would be worth leaving our families, worth leaving our friends, worth letting go of everything to build something new and wonderful……..We were leaving everything behind to build a dream. A year and a half later I felt completely enveloped in the disappointment of that dream.
It got to the point that every day I would sit on the edge of my bed and cry because I didn’t know how I was going to make it through another day. I spent most days alternately crying or screaming at my children and the saddest thing was that I knew I was a little crazy and had no idea what to do about it. I knew I was wrong but I didn’t know how I was wrong.
Eventually the Lord got my attention through three different people who told me I was depressed and needed drugs. At their urging I went to my doctor and explained everything. He very kindly told me that I was experiencing depression. When he left the room to go write me a prescription for an antidepressant I cried my eyes out, then I cried my eyes out all the way home and then I sobbed as I told my husband I was depressed. I was depressed that I was depressed! I look back on that morning now with a kind humor for myself because as real as it was it also felt like some kind of comedy.
Zoloft saved my life and I will ever be grateful for it. But it presented some of it’s own issues. At the time I was already really fat. I was the fattest I had ever been the zoloft made me not only gain more weight but I didn’t care, but at the same time it made me more depressed to be even fatter. It also caused plenty of problems in the intimacy department and that was pretty depressing. Which didn’t really help in the unhealthy self-image department either.
But all in all about 3 weeks in I felt this incredible sense of relief as peace finally descended on my brain. My brain hadn’t shut up in I don’t know how many years. It was always telling me “NOT GOOD ENOUGH”, you are too loud, too fat, to stupid, to ugly, you are a pig, you are a horrible mother, you are a horrible wife, If you would just ________ you would be so much better. NAG NAG NAG!
With the zoloft that constant nagging in my brain began to finally get quieter, I even experienced……. wait for it…….. PLEASURE! I COULD be happy again! It was wonderful!! I told anyone who would listen how great the stuff was, I was ecstatic to finally have some peace, those were beautiful days. I would never trade those moments for anything.
At some point about 3.5 years in I felt as if the Lord told me that my depression was healed and that joy was my portion. I gladly let go of the zoloft because no real christian gets depressed. If I was experiencing depression then I must have hidden sin or I need deliverance. I did the deliverance thing, did the cleansing streams, did the books and the prayer thing but i guess I just wasn’t a mature enough christian to not be depressed. Hogwash! Not every body functions the way that God created it too. If someone is born with no hands are you really going to ask what hidden sin they have? And then if they confess that sin and get delivered their arms are going to grow back? Or my depression will poof go away? anyway….
Fast forward quite a few years and life ( as it has a tendency to do ) jumped up and bit me in the butt pretty hard. I fight a lot of things on a daily basis. I fight fatigue, day in day out mind numbing fatigue. It is present from the moment I begin to wake up in the morning until I go to bed at night. I have chronic pain. Day in and day out, from the moment I wake up to the moment I go to sleep. It is just there. It always will be and there is not a thing I can do about it. I can do some things to make both of those better, but they will never go away.
So I made the decision to go back to my doctor. I was tired of fighting fatigue, pain, teens, husband…..I was tired of fighting life. I could not continue to fight all of those things and my depression too. I got a new even more wonderful drug this time. Wellbutrin.
Again that life saving peace. That moment I knew I was going to be alright. I love drugs. I really do. I love that the Lord gave man enough wisdom to help make our bodies work the way He created them. I love that God knew our bodies are fallen bodies and they need help. I love that in Him there is no condemnation for those of us who need a boost. I love that most of His prophets were as depressed as I was. Read Jeremiah, read the psalms, for crying out loud read Lamentations. God knew and He provided. Through prayer and drugs He saved my family and I am grateful for that.
It has been just over 7 years since I started taking the wellbutrin and all of a sudden last month I thought, I don’t want to take this anymore. So I stopped. Cold turkey.
I am trying to go a healthier route. Trying to go gluten free, more whole foods less processed. I was never a processed food kind of person to begin with and we didn’t have all the junk that most Americans have in their cupboards but I still manage to have too much. I want to get the chemicals out of my life. and I want to see if in doing that it will help with my bent towards depression.
I want to give my body the chance and the tools to work how God created it. I don’t know if it can be done. There are hundreds of thousands of people who deal with death and disease and brokenness in their bodies regardless of how “healthy” they live. And there are the 600 lb people who drink and smoke who have no health problems.
So I don’t know. I don’t believe it makes me a better christian to stop taking the meds, either way with or without them I have to have some form of faith be it in God inspired medication or in God miraculously curing me. Both take faith in a God that I love and adore.
So for right now I kind of feel like when I drive the car without my seat belt, FREE! and surprisingly kind of happy. I will be watchful though. I am not willing to put my family through the hell I was in the middle of my depression and I will go back on it without condemnation and without hesitation. But I am kind of excited to see what God can do with me through this journey.