“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

Thursday, February 25, 2010

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

I have felt prompted to re-surface this post.  I pray it will bring you either compassion, mercy or at least consideration.

Originally aired on July 21, 2009

"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 in my head that was prompted by this woman's 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 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.

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.


UL Cards Fan said...

Wholeheartedly agree with you that we would not ask people to give up medications for PHYSICAL conditions...why should mental/emotional issues be any different? I feel VERY strongly that seeking care for depression/anxiety is NO different than seeking care for any physical illness. My daughter was told by "Christian" friends that if she just prayed harder, her depression would go away! Would they have said that to her if she fractured a bone?
Did I mention that I feel stongly about this issue? (haha)
So glad we met in Houston!
Love, Linda

a portland granny said...

This post today is what I needed to read--the reminders, the scriptures and the poem.

I remember when you posted this, how I admired you for your restraint towards this well-meaning mother.

Perhaps you could share your post with your Mom to share with this lady. You have expressed the problem so well--in the Christian world, we are far behind in openness in treating problems of the mind.

What I wouldn't give for a pill that would treat my condition. You are so blessed that there is medicine for you...and you have the courage to allow yourself to be treated. Bless you, dear Sister, for your wonderful open heart and ability to share so wonderfully.

I think you have the "gift" of knowing how to hit the 'nail on the head'!!

Great post...and my word from above for the day!

Vicki Cluxton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vicki Cluxton said...

Your honesty is refreshing and I know will help open some hearts and minds. We have such a double standard as Christians. We shoot our own wounded by jumping on the bandwagon about healing, instead of being grace-givers. I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and over the next 6-1/2 years had more than enough Christians, meaning well, proclaim to me that if I had enough faith, I would be healed. Or if I confessed my sins, I would be made whole, on and on. It was exhausting and disheartening - I had plenty of self-talk in those days. Praise God, He did heal me. I don't understand why He chose to heal me and not others in need of healing. One day I will understand why He touched me. Whether He uses medications or medical treatments or simpy a touch, the healing is up to Him. I praise Him that He has gifted scientists with the knowledge to develop medicines which heal our diseases. In one instance in scripture, Jesus used mud for the blind man's eyes. Doesn't that demonstrate to us that sometimes healing uses other means besides touch? Jesus didn't need that mud to heal the man. I believe He was demonstrating to us the practical nature of healing and to use those things available to us for healing.

Thank you for your openness - we should all endeavor to be grace-giving and loving - and less judgmental.

rooney said...

I'm glad you posted this again, Sheri. It was about a year ago (oh my...maybe 2 years!) that we had this special time of prayer and fasting in my church. This one very special gal, who i knew struggled with depression, stood and said she felt God telling her to fast from her medication. My heart sank! I worried for her! Because her and i are not 'close' friends, but just very casual friends, i didn't feel it was my place to ask her 'WHY?' and "are you sure that's what the Lord is asking of you?". she has since sunk into even further depression. i don't know how she is doing now because she became so disgruntled with our Body over a seeminly insignficant incident that she ended up leaving our church. but i can't help but think it's all related to going off her medication or being disappointed in herself or in because God didn't 'heal' her as she was seeking Him...or maybe she was just embarrassed to admit she went back on the medication. oh! the things we do to ourselves. I so wish she had read a post like this one in the midst of her struggles.

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Loved it the first time; love it still. When truth is exposed to the light of God's heart, then healing begins. God's healing comes in all manners. His working his plan through you, Sheri, and your witness will serve a generation of people who need to make peace with their journeys by making peace with our God.

Keep to it.


Amy said...

When I was struggling with an eating disorder I was told that I simply needed to be prayed for, and that by getting professional help I was not trusting or believing that God could deliver me. Well...God did, indeed, deliver me, but he used therapists, professionals, anti-depressants (b/c I was clinically depressed) and a host of God-loving/serving people to walk with me through the journey of healing. Healing WAS a process. How I wish it could have been instantaneous, but then I would never be able to reach out to someone dealing with depression, bulimia or anorexia with empathy and sincerity. The long road of healing was the best road for me.