“Father, make of me a crisis man. Bring those I contact to decision. Let me not be a milepost on a single road;
make me a fork
, that men must turn one way or another on facing Christ in me.” - Jim Elliot

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

All I Want is for My Daughter to be Whole and off those Antidepressants

"But I have prayed for you, Simon,
that your faith may not fail.
And when you have turned back,
strengthen your brothers."
Luke 22:32 NIV

I had never met her before. I had joined my mother for a luncheon and I just happened to sit next to her. A godly woman... perhaps almost 70 years old... well put together. She explained to me that her daughter, a mother of fourteen children, was dealing with depression. And then she boldly exclaimed, "All I want is for my daughter to be whole and off those antidepressants!"

My eyes widened. My throat got tight. My heart hurt. And immediately I began the self-talk.

If you're going through the study Me, Myself & Lies, you know what I'm talking about... the talk that goes on in our head... often destructive in nature. And if not properly taken captive can tempt me to destroy everything that God has instilled in me.

And the self-talk prompted by her exclamation sounds like:
"Those anti-depressants... That's you, Sheri... you're on those anti-depressants. You know what she would be thinking if she knew you were on those anti-depressants... if only you trusted the Lord more... prayed more... were more godly. Christians shouldn't be on those anti-depressants."
This particular conversation with myself has occurred many times. And since I am on anti-depressants... and most likely will be on them for the rest of my life... I have had to "speak truth to my issues." I have sought the Lord in prayer. I have sought His heart through reading the Bible. I have worked with Christian counselors. I have done medical research. All of this to combat the damaging self-talk.

I have begged the Lord to take the depression away from me. And wondered... why would He not do it instantaneously. Why not an instant miracle of healing? But through reading the Bible I find it is not always the case.

I consider Naaman in 2 Kings 5 who had leprosy. He went to Elisha for healing and was disgusted to find out that he had to dunk himself seven times in the muddy dark waters of the Jordan. "But Naaman went away angry and said, 'I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy.'" 2 Kings 5:11 NIV Ultimately he did go to the Jordan... did the dunk... and was healed by God.

Or I consider the man who brought his son to the disciples for healing. He said to Jesus, "I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not." Mark 9:18b NIV The disciples in all their proximity to Jesus could not heal his son. So the man went to Jesus... and then the son was healed.

These people were not healed instantly. They had to pray and then pursue and act and then receive. It did not happen as they thought it should.

And what about the shame I feel in regards to taking medication? I realize that there are people with diabetes or thyroid cancer or arthritis or asthma or IBS or irregular heartbeat... who are on life giving or pain relieving medication... and we shame them not. So, why should I feel shame over taking medicine for a medical condition?

I have done my share of medical research. And due to sexual abuse under the age of five... and due to hereditary issues from my father who had mental illness... and due to the effects of thyroid cancer... I come about my depression honestly. The effects of the abuse, heredity, and thyroid cancer cause my synapses and serotonin to be out of whack. (I often wonder why there is not a blood test to show the levels of serotonin.)

Still when the exclamation was made... it sent me into destructive self-talk... but I immediately covered it with the truth. And later that day, admitted to my own mother that I am on anti-depressants.

And in writing this post... and revealing this weakness... this vulnerability... I realize that someone could decide to leave a comment that could send me back into that self-talk. But I also know that I am not alone... and that by "confessing" my issue, I am taking away some of its power over me.

My thorn does not define me, but instead refines me.

At first I didn't think of it as a gift,
and begged God to remove it.
Three times I did that, and then he told me,

My grace is enough; it's all you need.

My strength comes into its own in your weakness.
Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen.
I quit focusing on the handicap and
began appreciating the gift.
2 Corinthians 12:8-9 The Message

Dear sister, when you are prompted to start the destructive self-talk... take courage. Press into the Truth... read the Truth... pray... and find someone in whom to confide. And may God's grace be sufficient in your weakness.


Deborah said...

This week my self talk has been pretty bad and I'm not usually one to get really depressed...but this week I did. My self talk was like this...no one appreciates anything I do so I'm just going to quite everything and then they'll all be sorry. I had to do alot of that replacing lies with truth.

I'm sorry that you have to take something, that you had to go through so much that caused you to have to take the medicine, that people are so insensitive about this illness. I'm glad that you don't let it have power for you.

vintage at heart said...

Bless YOU!

a portland granny said...

Thank you for your transparent honesty. I'm thankful for you, that there are meds out there to address your needs! Praise God for that!

"My thorn does not define me, but instead refines me."

Thanks for this quote of yours--a wonderful thought to ponder on as I struggle with my thorns!!

Anonymous said...

I've linked to you :) This is so good!

gideonmommasita said...

Wow! I so appreciated the work you have done to go to the scripture in looking for an answer. The conversation that would have gone on in my head after hearing the comment..."Poor woman, 14 children, I bet she does need medication...why doesn't her mother help her out, if she doesn't then I bet that's another reason to take medication"
Take the Grace He gives you...

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Well, bless you heart. I suppose all is want to do is smack that mother sitting next to you at the table. Then, I want to tell you to take your meds and be free from man's "idea" about what's best for you. Honestly, don't we all have enough junk of our own that needs "medication"?

Love you Sheri, just as you are. Thanks for speaking some truth into this prevalent situation that is effecting so many millions of people this day. There aren't any easy/quick answers along these lines. I am thankful for dr.'s who have a good handle on it and who are willing to doctor the patient rather than the problem. We are each one unique.

Thanks for checking in with me.


Tammy said...

Thank you for sharing my friend. My thought closet needed some serious help this week and I realized God was doing a work on my heart. Isn't he just awesome. You are beautiful just for being you.

Amy Guerino said...

I'm often struck by how our thorns, whatever they are take us to the foot of the cross to become more aware of our total dependence on God. And that is a mercy because we are uttery incapable of being independent from Him.

Your heart in this post is so open and raw. What a blessing for your readers. For me this day. I listen to the self talk of lies the enemy wants me to believe....to steal the glory God can receive if I try to strike out on my own, trying to live independently from Him. As I wait on Him in the midst of my emotional imbalance due to my health issues, He is praised, glorified and loved.

I'm on vacation and I so wish I could leave my physical and emotional issues at home a get a break from them as well. Your words to me today, "My thorn does not define me, but instead refines me," challenges me to ask the Lord to continue to refine me and not to dwell on the confines that I'm feeling....especially on vacation as I can't do certain things and must do others to care for myself.

Thank you for the comment on my blog....it made me come to yours and I received the encouragement I needed to press on and enjoy today once I do what I need to do to care for myself.

Grace said...


I just linked to this post. Bless you for your brave honesty. Been there!


Patti said...

Seems like this Bible study is very timely, don't you think? Thank you for being so candid and vulnerable, the Lord will honor your heart and use your story to touch others.

Remember what Jennifer says..."who I am and what I struggle with are not the same thing".

Makes me want to get out my book and start studying again RIGHT NOW!!! There must be some powerful stuff in that book because of how hard it is for me to actually sit down and do it. The enemy tries to distract me....or I let myself get distracted by things like facebook, housework, etc.!

God is good and He constantly wants us to remember that His strength is made perfect in our weakness!!

Looking foward to seeing you again soon!

Amy Liz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amy Slater said...

I, too, had been on anti-depressants when struggling with clinical depression. Before I went into treatment for my eating disorder a "well-meaning" missionary woman told me I needed to go have hands laid on me in prayer, not go to a treatment center. It was hurtful. And I TOTALLY relate to your feelings of wondering why God has allowed the healing to be a process and not instantaneous. Thank you for your honesty, transparency and vulnerability. Your life, whether you realize it or not, is a gift and blessing to so many of us! :)

Joyce said...

I was just laying in the bed tonight reading a few blogs...and came across yours via "Miss Daisy"...I have never seen yours before nor have I had time to just "read blogs"....but tonight I ventured out a bit.

I just had to respond to this post you wrote and let you know...."it's okay"......I too went through a very "hard time" once and had to take "those" things...it was temporary for me. But I LEARNED so much about NOT ever judging people that have/had/or currently are taking "those anti-depressants"....

Every one has some sort of "baggage" or heartache or maybe an illness.......so once in awhile you need a bit of help.....it doesn't make you LESS of a human being let alone LESS of a "Christian".....

And besides......IF I had 14 kids...I might need them on a daily basis too!

Anyhow...just wanted to let you know I am "thankful" for my journey as HARD as it was. I NEVER want to go back...but I have learned from it.

Hang in there!!! It all works out somehow...God is a really faithful Father.
Be blessed,
Joyce :-)