updates

So, I found a new doctor and I think I love him.  I was pretty discouraged when my ambien was taken away with the intent that I be off of it in two months…..really after 8 years you think I am going to be fine in 2 months?  Totally freaked me out.

BUT the new doc isn’t so sure that that is a great idea.  I wholeheartedly agree.

He also didn’t think it was such a great idea to keep me on a lower dose of my anti-depressant, and he actually believed, unlike the last doc that I actually do have asthma and should have refills for my inhaler.

WAIT WHAT?

I mean he actually listened to my story and how I got here.  He considered my words and he HELPED me.

He said something to me though that really caught my attention.  He said, “you don’t seem like the kind of person who just wants to take a lot of pills”

It was at that moment that I fell in love with my doc.  Because he understood the need, but also knew that I am not just an obese, middle aged, middle class hypo seeking drugs to try and make a happy life.  That felt like wow to me.

And he is right.  I don’t want to take pills.  I don’t want to take a happy pill in the morning so that I can function during the day.  I don’t want to take a sleeping pill so that I can sleep and not be in a vegetative state the next day.

I never wanted to be what they consider addicted to ambien.  I never wanted to take an antidepressant for more than a few years…..but here I am.

Over the years I have come to understand though that these are not about taking happy pills or looking for a high from Ambien.  Far from it.  These things are about survival and not being crazy and hurting others because of my depression….depression hurts, not just you but the people around you.

From experience I can tell you that being subjected to someones crazy is not a fun thing.  ever.  And because of my own traumas from that, and from witnessing the trauma that I inflicted on others when I wasn’t on medication, I am staying on my anti depressant forever if necessary.

I came up in the christian culture that if you suffered with any kind of emotional or mental illness then you are not praying hard enough.  If you were still sick years later the question was always asked what were you doing wrong?  Mental illness and issues were never anything a christian SHOULD put up with.  You HAVE THE VICTORY……

Only I didn’t and I was ashamed for many, many years.  I no longer am and haven’t been for a long time. but I still find myself feeling as if I have to justify my use of pharmaceuticals.  I always want to say “well if you would just o.k. pot smokage maybe I would be better….not really an appreciated answer.

The bigger story  is that even though I freaked out and was scared I decided that I would trust God with the whole thing.  I decided that if he wanted me too I would get off the ambien.  I chose to believe that if indeed that is what God was asking that he would provide whatever it was that I needed to get through.  But I was still freaking out.

The new doc did suggest that I read a book called Sleep Hygiene, which I will.  He also asked if I was willing to get off the ambien at some point and to that I said yes.

Because I don’t love depending on it.  I love it and it’s effects.  I can’t lie about that.  I love that big deep dark hole that I get to fall into for a few hours a night.  It is a beautiful thing for a mind that won’t turn off.

But the new doc is willing to help me find a way if possible to get that without a drug.  How cool is that?  So over the next few months we will be discussing that and we’ll see where it leads.

In the meantime I am very grateful that God was so gracious to me in this.  His ways do not always feel gracious, but this time they did.

I feel as if God were leading me to the top of the cliff and saying trust me JUMP……and there I am totally freaking out because I don’t think I can jump AND HOW COULD HE ASK ME TO DO THAT?  and then He says….oh wait, don’t jump…….LOL.  I am not saying that as if the Lord is arbitrary, but sometimes I do think he waits to see if even through our freaking out that we will by an act of our will choose Him over the thing that makes us feel safe.  Ambien makes me feel safe.  Sorry but it does. But I still chose to trust Him and he honored that choice so graciously for me.

So, I don’t know what the future of my meds look like.  I do hope one day to not need any drugs at all.  I have a few friends that have had some real results with products that are not pharmaceuticals.  Who knows, by this time next year I may be drug free.

But whatever or wherever direction God leads me in, I sure hope I learned a lesson about trusting Him and do better next time someone threatens my meds.

 

 

 

 

 

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Why I Still Believe

I had a person in my life once. Actually it was a man.  A black man.  The black part is an important detail because I was a little white girl.  He was much older than me, he was a grown up.  I loved him.  He loved me.  We were different races and it was pretty frowned upon to have a friend who was black.  He on his part befriended a little white girl when white people were the enemy.  He could have and probably should have hated me because I was white.  but he didn’t.

He came into my life when I was very young and he left my life when I was a young adult with a child of my own.  I have never been the same since his loss.  Almost 29 years later my throat tightens and my eyes well up because I miss him with all of me.  His was a love like I had never known in my life.

It was an unconditional love.  It was a love that required absolutely nothing from me, I had nothing to give anyway, but even If I had, it wouldn’t have changed anything.  He owed me nothing and gave me everything.  He found value in me even when others didn’t.  I was wanted in his life.  He loved me.

He was a man though, and as all men he was not perfect.  There were times he did things that hurt my heart.  Things I did not understand and/or like.  His love was imperfect, just like all of us he failed.  But he loved me.

I will never not love him.  I will never not appreciate that he was part of a bigger picture in my life.

My faith is always an issue.  My questions sometimes overwhelm me.  There have been days when my head has almost convinced to just walk away from God.  I have wrestled with and for my faith often.

But I refuse to give up.  My heart will never let go of God and here is why.

If I can accept the love of a man who was mere mortal, if I can value the love of a flawed man, If I can receive love from a man who sometimes hurt my heart……how can I not love God?

I believe that I serve a God who absolutely loves me.  I believe I serve a God that I do not always understand.  I serve a God that at times I do not trust.  I serve a God whom I wish I could tell what to do.  I do know how to fix the world after all.  I serve a God that I often feel disappointed with.

How can I?  Because I know that in the end all those things are about me, not the God who loves me.  In the end I know that I don’t trust people, I don’t understand people.  My belief in people fails as often as it does with God.  The common denominator is my heart.  My not so steadfast heart.

Being loved by Sam opened my heart to loving God.  He was a picture of unconditional, unearned love for me.  He owed me nothing he gave me a lifetime of memories of being and feeling loved.  And in a bigger way that is how God has loved me.

Most of us predicate our love and/or belief in God in how he performs to our standards.  If God meets my standard of behavior fit for a God, then I can believe and follow.  If His behavior is sub-standard in my eyes, I don’t believe and I don’t follow.

I asked myself the question this morning

“What if I don’t serve a perfect God?”………..yeah what if?  What if my God makes a mistake every now and then?

I realized I don’t care.  I can’t begin to know God.  I can’t begin to say I understand Him or what He does or doesn’t do.  I can love humans and forgive humans and give grace to humans.  I have let go of disappointment, hurt, betrayal, anger and wounding and continued to love the human who had bestowed those things on me.  But I can’t find it in my heart to do the same for God?

I believe because He loves me.  He came into my life and found value in me.  He chose to love me although I lived as though I hated Him.  He has never backed away from me.  I feel Him even in the middle of my ugly and what I feel from Him is unconditional grace and love.

I am probably the worst evangelist ever.  I should be telling people about the perfection of God and about how absolutely you don’t want to go to hell.  That is a tall order when you fight for your faith on a daily basis.

This is what I can tell people…..

Even if I find that God is not the God I have been taught, even if I find out that He is flawed and makes mistakes.  Even if I find out that all of my disappointments are real…..I still believe in God and I still love Him.  Because He has done no less for me.  I have failed Him, betrayed Him, disappointed Him.  I have walked away screaming and shouting my lack of understanding, my frustration and doubt.  But He stayed with me and loved me anyway.

Just as Sam loved me for who I am, God created me, breathed life into me and has never let go of me since.  I think that alone is enough to warrant my continued faith.  It warrants my continuing to fight for my relationship with Him. It warrants why I still believe.

 

For The Apathetic

Just done.  The anger is gone, the hurt is numbed.  The running and fighting has stopped. The breathing has returned to normal and the lungs no longer scream with the burning of trying to get more oxygen in.

You are just all out of fight.  There is no relief that you crossed the finish line…because you didn’t.  There is no excitement about going in a different direction because you are not moving.  There is no victorious feeling because you just. gave. up.

You have been running, fighting, striving, fretting, changing for so long.  You have been battling for something, against something and with something your entire life.

You have reached apathy.  It is not that you don’t care, it is that you have lost the ability to care all by yourself. It is not that you don’t love, it is that you can’t love one sided anymore.  It is not that you don’t hurt, but you can’t hurt without a purpose anymore.

You are not done in anger or bitterness or rage.  It is just that all of your muscles gave up at the same time so you decided to let go. You laid down and watched the world continue around you with no desire to rejoin the race .

People get so angry at those they consider apathetic. but there is a reason we get there.  Not many of us are born just not caring enough to do something.  Most of us are born willing to pour ourselves out for others.  There is evidence of this fact throughout history.  People are created in the image and likeness of God.   We are created to be like Him and I think a lot of us try to live up to that.  We love whether it makes sense to others or not.  In that way we model our creator.  But unlike our creator our inner resources are not limitless.

We care.  We cared.  But then we poured out and we were completely emptied.  Apathy is not just the lack of doing or feeling, it is also the lack of ability to refill in order to do and feel for others.

This is where I could launch into the whys and whats that should have been done in order to not reach this place of apathy.  This is where I should be laying out the 7 steps to successfully never being tired, fatigued and hurt to the point of numbness….meaning apathy.  This is where the lecture should come in to prompt conviction and/or guilt.  To make you feel something to get you moving.  Truthfully I have no idea what those steps should be.

But the truth is that along with everything else under the sun, apathy happens.   And when it does sometimes we decide that  we like the numbness.  Sometimes we like to not care.  Sometimes we like to feel a distance between our hearts and the world.  Because sometimes we just cannot take one more thing.

For those who are a tad judgmental about those who have reached the stage of apathy in their life, why not ask them how they got there.  Before you judge them as awful and uncaring why not find out what drove them to the point where they felt that apathy was the only option.

Just a suggestion.  But I am betting if we start asking why people don’t care we will find a person who has just done, loved and cared to much and needed to turn off to survive. We just might find someone who has lost the ability and the desire to refuel themselves.

And yes, the Christian is supposed to rely on God’s limitless power and ability and then we would never get to this point.   But obviously every Christian still sins, still misses the mark, still struggles fights and falls still gets apathetic.   We don’t need lectures.  We need grace from each other and for each other. We need to whisper encouragement and understanding.  We need to shout  encouragement, not judgment. We need to listen, we need to hear the whispers for help.  We need to not ignore the cries of discouragement.

Because sometimes all the apathetic person needs is to know they are not racing the race or fighting the battle alone.

Not all brokenness looks like crying, sobbing and screaming.  Sometimes brokenness looks like apathy, and we as Christians have been called to healing, not judgment.  We have been called to minister like Christ.  TO EVERYONE, not just the ones who we think want it more.

I personally never met a youth pastor that was genuinely interested in my heart.  And I had a few of them.  I was not one to lie and pretend that I loved the Lord.  I didn’t play good little Christian girl.

For one I had no idea how to do that.  I wasn’t raised a Christian and had no idea how good Christian girls act.  But also I wasn’t a liar.  I would not pretend to be something I was not even if I had known what it was.  And bottom line?  I wanted nothing to do with the Christian junk anyway.

Not one youth pastor pursued my heart for Christ.  Not one.  They went after the ones they thought would respond favorably and therefore were worth the effort.  This is not about bashing youth pastors.  I know all of them loved the Lord.  But the gospel is about taking it to those who don’t know how much they need it, even in church.

So chase down an apathetic person and give them a reason to care.  Give them the gift of knowing they are not alone in the race .  Apathy is almost a type of death.  Bring them life. It’s what Christ did for every single one of us.

 

 

 

and so it goes…again

I have inherited a pretty crappy doctor.  My other doctor just suddenly disappeared from the practice with no warning.  So I thought I would give the other doc from the practice a shot.

Bad idea.  But I needed to get refills for my ambien, which, I can’t really live without.

But this doc decided after speaking to me for ten minutes about my weight that I should be off ambien ( after taking it for 8 years ) and no matter what I said refused to listen.  Now mind you he has no idea my prior history ( because he did not ask ) .  He did not bother to find out how or why I had been taking ambien for so long, nor did he seem interested in the fact that I had been under another docs care for the entire time I had been on the meds.  excuse my language but, ASSHOLE.  sorry, sort of.

I sat and cried in his office, to which he told me in a very annoyed voice that I could stay in the room until I got myself together and then check out with the receptionist.  Thank you doctor high and mighty for your compassion and understanding.

I have always been an insomniac.  I don’t remember ever having a time when I went to bed at ten and woke up at six.  I can distinctly remember even as a teen waking up at 2 or 3 in the morning and just being AWAKE.  I thought it was normal.

Then in my adult years after having children it became more pronounced. I chalked it up to getting up and down with babies who didn’t sleep through the night.  That worked until the youngest were in their early teens.

By then I wasn’t getting to sleep until at least one and was up every night by 3, desperately trying to make my mind relax.  Trying to will myself to sleep.  “if I get to sleep now, I will have ____ amount of hours to sleep before I have to get up”.  Two in the morning, three in the morning, four, five, six, well, might as well get up now.

My life was a nightmare.  Which is the other part of the story.  My mind never. turns. off.  . ever.  There is never a moment I am not thinking on something or someone.  Whether it is a big issue like a relationship or that there is a small little ball of material that looks like a seashell….There is never any peace in my mind.  Ever.

My dream life is just as bad.  Do you know what it feels like to be dreaming and know you are dreaming but it feels like you are living a whole different life in your dreams?  Like I actually enter an alternate universe when I go to sleep.  That is when I am actually asleep, the other half of the time I am in that state of not really being awake, but not asleep either.  Totally aware but asleep.  My mind does not rest.

Then one day my brother introduced me to Ambien.  I slept 7 hours without waking up once.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  After twenty years of struggling to sleep, never taking a sleeping pill of any kind, never having any kind of a full nights sleep, I SLEPT!!

The ambien did not cure all of my problems of course and the cause of my physical fatigue is still a mystery.  But for a few precious hours a night my mind would go totally blank, like diving into a big, beautiful warm black hole.  For just a little while I knew nothing.  It was a beautiful thing.

I think it gave me more of a mental break.  Trying to fight my depression, my fatigue and my pain is so difficult.  There were so many days before the ambien that by 3 in the afternoon I was crying wondering how I was going to make the rest of the day.  With the ambien there was one less battle to fight for the day.  It was a little bit of peace.  It was a little bit of insurance that some kind of rest would come.

And now, thanks to this doctor, the nightmare is back.  The wakefulness, the constant turning of the brain, the constant waking and half sleeping, the sluggishness trying to get through the day.  The knowing I am better with the tiny bit of sleep I get with the ambien.  The guilt of feeling like I can never do enough.  The feeling lazy because so many others can do so much more…..thanks doc.

It is not that I am not willing to explore life without ambien, and I am looking into herbal options during this, as well as looking for a new doc.

It is that the choice is being taken from me.  Someone somewhere knows what is best for me and my life without ever asking me.  I want to know how anyone has the kind of arrogance act that way.

Because ambien is addictive, and you can’t have an addict running around.  The side effects are soooo bad, oh you mean like SLEEPING?  Short term memory loss, I already had that.  I don’t remember over half of my childhood.  By the way, lack of sleep also promotes memory and cognitive issues.

I went through this process a year ago and it was a nightmare for 5 months.  two different drugs plus some melatonin and five months in I wasn’t functional anymore.  Thankfully my doc at the time agreed the trade-off was worth it for me and I resumed the ambien, and blessedly started getting a bit more rest.

As much as I am hating this, I do have to ask myself, is this something God is asking of me?  Is this all a part of God’s plan or is this something wrong that should be righted?

Kind of hard to tell, because while bottom line God is a God of incredible love and grace, He is also A God of extreme discomfort.  Sometimes God allows and even in some cases orchestrates circumstances that are hard and ugly and humbling.  That does not make God not good, but God being good does not always equate with what I consider lovely and comfortable and nice.

All I know right now is that I absolutely do not want to go back to that nightmarish life.  It is frightening to me to feel it all beginning again.  I am hoping and praying that God give both myself and the new doc the wisdom to know how to tackle this.  I am praying that I will know if I need to fight for the ambien or a different answer.  I am praying to persevere through this better than the last time.

In the end though, what I always pray is to not let my circumstance be a game changer to how I live with the Lord.  I see this big wave coming and I pray that I won’t let go of the rock.  Sometimes that is the best prayer of all.

it is well