She asked me almost sheepishly, "Do you ever get tired of taking your meds?" I paused and thought about her question. I knew she wasn't asking me. She was trying to tell me something. It was about her. About her being tired of taking her meds.
"No, I don't," I said. "I don't get tired of taking them."
Then she said, "Oh, because sometimes I stop taking them and I feel better for a while. But then I sink, again."
"Yes, I know," I thought. Side effects. The good with the bad. Mentally feeling better, but then there is the weight gain or the lack of sleep or too much sleep or the loss of sensing pleasure. And, of course, there is the shame.
"No, you know I have to take my meds. Without them I would die." And it is true. Without my thyroid medication I would stop metabolizing and without a miracle my body would stop functioning. But she wasn't asking about the thyroid medication. She was asking about the anti-depressants. But the answer was the same. "No, you know I have to take my meds. Without them I would die."
You see, I went for a time without my anti-depressants. I was so concerned with some of the side-effects that I wanted to go off of them or change them. Not realizing at the time how different anti-depressants are. Not knowing how one affects this part of the brain and that one another. But I wanted to be more normal and not deal with the side-effects. But I had no idea how the medication I had been on was helping my brain to function.
Not my soul. Not my spirit. But my brain. My physical brain. How the chemistry had been screwed up because of childhood abuse and trauma. And then Thyroid Cancer. And of course, heredity. But that doesn't shield the shame. Because I should be stronger. I should be more joyful. I should have more faith. Just snap out of it. Don't you know how wonderful you have it? Yes. Yes, I do.
Yes, I do have it wonderful. I have a loving husband. An amazing son. Friends and family. A roof over my head and so much more. I have my Bible and my Bible studies and my church and church family. I have a God who loves me more than I will ever comprehend and has told me I can come to Him with my needs and asked to be healed. And I have.
And I believe He has. Just as He has provided glasses for my farsightedness. And replacement for my removed thyroid. What exactly does healing have to look like? Because in this weakness of mine, I am ever dependent on Him. The anti-depressants don't fix that. I still have to depend on Him and be thankful for every breath I breathe and every sane thought I have.
I'm not sure why I felt compelled to share this today. But I have a feeling that someone needed to know this. To know that people who appear to have it all together from the outside don't always have it all together. That shame is a funny thing whether it is imposed by another or not. Or whether the shame is perceived. And that not all anti-depressants are the same. And there is a balance between the benefits and side-effects. And that anti-depressants don't bring joy, but they give the ability to help experience it once again.
No, I didn't tell her to take her meds anyway. That is her choice. She knows her brain better than I do. I just answered her question. And a couple questions after that. Because she felt safe talking to me about it.
And even though I take my meds and share about it, I still petition the Lord for my healing.
And whenever the cloud of shame starts to rain, I ask Him, again.
And His words of life spill in my ear,
"My grace is sufficient for you,
for my power is made perfect in weakness."
(2 Corinthians 12:9)
Praying that today you are comforted by the Father of Comfort and our Lord Jesus Christ. Grace and peace to you.