Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Whatever Happened to Dealing Without Drugs?

Have we become a society that is numb?  Have we decided that, instead of facing our emotions and feelings, it is better to take a pill and pretend that we don't have those hurts or worries?  What if some of our social ills and immoralities are because we are walking around so medicated with our yuck stuffed and crammed way down, below the surface?  It seems to me that whenever I hear someone talking about going through a rough time, the first thing anyone asks is, "Are you taking something for it?".  Karol Truman said, "Feelings buried alive never die."  No matter how many pills you take to suppress and cover those feelings, they will surface sometime...maybe when you're least expecting it and totally unequipped to deal with them.

Now don't get me wrong.  I understand that we can go through horrible events that warrant taking something just to help us maintain our sanity until we can get a handle on what's going on.  I also know that we can have chemical imbalances that need to be adjusted with medication.  I'm not speaking of those types of situations.  What I'm talking about is the rampant use of antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications anytime we don't want to deal with a situation because it may be a bit tough.  Whatever happened to getting to the root of an issue, praying about it, working on it, being completely aware of every feeling that you have to go through to get better?

We serve a great God, a Father who wants to go through our journeys with us.  He can empower us with the strength and the peace to walk it out and get to the other side of a problem, knowing that we are truly better and not just drugged.  I remember a time several years ago when my mother had passed away quite unexpectedly, my daughter graduated from high school and moved across the country to go to college.  My husband went to New Orleans to work after hurricane Katrina for 18 months and my best friend moved to another state.  I could not have felt any more abandoned or left behind.

I was terribly depressed but didn't realize it at the time because I did what I always do; I just soldiered on.  One day, it got unbearable and I went to the doctor.  He immediately put me on an extremely strong antidepressant.  Being the good girl that I am, I went home and took them just as I was supposed to.  I took them for a month and my life became a living nightmare.  I was not getting any relief and everything that was bad, was magnified.

Thankfully, I had my yearly visit with my ob/gyn and I told him about the meds I was taking.  He asked me what was going on in my life.  He asked me lots of other questions too.  He wanted to know if there was anyone I could talk to, if there was someone at my church who could pray with me, did I get counselling.  He told me that I should feel the emotions of my mother's passing; that I should feel a certain amount of upset over my husband and daughter being so far away for so long.  He asked me if I thought I had the tools to deal with those emotions and wouldn't I rather know that I had worked through them and came out on the other side of them, a healthier person.  He asked me, "Erin, do you want to be taking this medication?"  I said "Absolutely not."  His answer, "Then you don't have to take them."

How simple and profound was that!  He told me that if I couldn't find someone to talk to, that he would help me find someone.  I weaned myself off of those pills and never took another one.  I found someone to talk to, someone to counsel with and I dealt with every bit of grief, anger, abandonment...every emotion that I had been trying to avoid, came to the surface and I faced it head on.  God was with me every step of the way.  Sometimes I was on His lap, sometimes He walked beside me, sometimes He carried me.  His love was a healing salve that covered every wounded place in my soul.

I want to be fully alive and aware of every minute of my life.  I've been through some horrible circumstances that could have meant the end of my emotional health.  But dealing with them has made me a stronger and better person.  Please don't think that I am judging anyone who takes medication for depression or anxiety.  I'm simply saying that it doesn't have to be your first line of defense.  I know going through intense emotions is hard.  I know it takes lots of work and commitment.

Dear One, if you are facing a challenge in your life and your emotions are strong and raw, please know that you have a loving heavenly Father who wants to help you through to the other side...to victory. There are people out there who are trained to talk with you, pray with you, stick with you until your soul has recovered.  Reach out to someone.  Find a way to grow through situations so that you are stronger and healthier than you were before.

I love you so much and pray all of God's blessings for you, from the top of your head to the soles of your feet.  I pray for a clear mind, free of haunting thoughts and overwhelming emotion.  In Jesus' mighty and precious name, amen!

From His Lap,

33 comments:

  1. So much wisdom, here. I found myself working, once, in an environment that was very unhealthy for me. (5-6 years later, I'm still unsure as to why I'd been called there; it had truly been a matter of prayer. But, anyway...) I cried a lot: almost always at night, and sometimes throughout the workday. I felt sick to my stomach upon waking, just knowing I had to enter this place. There was a retired teacher in the school system whose job it was to come around and check on new teachers. I wish I could say she mentored us, but that's nowhere near what she did. She never made herself available during classroom hours (for coaching, etc.); instead, she made the rounds during planning periods, when I needed desperately to grade papers and pull myself together. One day she came in, interrupting my work (as usual), and asked how I was doing. I burst into tears, and she proceeded to tell me that I seemed unwell, that I should seek professional help and, perhaps, start taking medication. I looked at her and said: "I don't think there's anything wrong with taking medication when you're sad and don't know why you're sad. I KNOW why I'm sad. This job is making me crazy! And as soon as I finish the school year and quit this place, I'll be well!" And I was. I do think that soothing our pain--when we know why we're in pain--with meds, drugs, alcohol, food, sex, etc. prolongs our pain by interrupting our natural grief process. Like you, I understand and support the taking of scrips by those who have chemical imbalances. These are the folks who don't know why they're sad: the folks who have some amiss within their physical systems. But assuaging hard-earned grief and suffering with meds doesn't seem like a good idea to me.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Brandee,
    Thank you for such a heart felt response and for being so open about your situation. It sounds like it was aweful. I'm so glad you got out of there and dealt with your circumstances without taking meds!! Even if it hurts, it's better to go through the feelings.
    Blessings,
    ~Erin

    ReplyDelete
  3. ive been on some form of medication since i was an early teen, to be honest theyve done nothing but cause side effects which need other pills for those effects. life has been hard, too hard. they keep dosing me but dont help fix the real problems, which are the ones deep rooted inside my mind.
    i hope one day to find peace, so far it hasn't happened. most likely its due to the fact i keep having more trauma thrown my way from people i trusted which i shouldn't have. i never found out the friends weren't genuine until it was too late.
    ive prayed, ive gone to groups, ive done nutritional testing and had surgeries but the pain has not faded. living in an environment which keeps me down isn't helping either but i dont have a choice right now.
    good luck to you, and to all of us who keep trying. there is a way, it just hasn't found me yet.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I lost my joy for a couple of decades and took medication to deal with it. I finally found it a couple of years ago and was able to get off of the medication. There are valid reasons for meds, but you really have to talk with someone if you're going through a situation so that you can actually get through it and not just postpone the inevitable when it does pop up at its own time.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks for the post Erin. I had met with a member of the church where I pastor the other day and this very topic came up.

    It's like a story I heard about a guy who went to his therapist. The man was talking about how many affairs he was having. His wife was completely ignorant of the situation. He was feeking miserable.

    The therapist suggested they develop a plan to end the affairs. The patient replies, "Doc I don't want you to help me end the affairs, I want you to help me end the guilt!"

    When a person is depressed we don't need to ignore the pain, which medications allow us to do, we need to face our pain and eliminate its source if possible. If not, we need to take it to the Lord and leave it there.

    ReplyDelete
  6. My typing is horrible, that should say feeling miserable not feeking. Might have given someone the wrong impression Sorry.

    ReplyDelete
  7. As a person whos religion is one that discourages faith in medication, I love your statement that it doesn't have to be your first line of defense. Jesus healed through the truth that God made us in His image and likeness. God does not cause man to sin, to be sick or to die. Our mind is a powerful tool to use positively or negatively in the way we choose. I understand that sometimes the answers we seek are clear as a bell and sometimes they're dim. Like you, no judgements here, but I always like pointing out the True alternative to a "dim" life - Jesus' Love!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Charlotte,
    I'm so sorry that life has been so hard for you. It sounds like they've put you on a medication train that you can't get off. There is hope!! There are people that can help with that. I will pray that the Lord brings people across your path who are truly there to help you, talk to you, listen to you and pray with you.
    You are a blessing and an overcomer!
    Hugs,
    ~Erin

    ReplyDelete
  9. Oh, Sandy that is so true. I hope that you read where I said there are valid reasons for taking meds. I'm so glad that you have found joy again!! You are so right about those feelings popping up over and over until they are dealt with.
    Love and hugs!
    ~Erin

    ReplyDelete
  10. Amen and amen, Chris. Getting whole involves working through the yuck and mess!! Thank you so much for your insight. I'm so glad you stopped by.
    Blessings,
    ~Erin

    ReplyDelete
  11. Ohhh Beth! I love that "dim" life. I never want to live a dim life. I want to experience the feelings, good and bad! Thank you so much for adding to our discussion.
    Blessings,
    ~Erin

    ReplyDelete
  12. Love this post! Years ago after my husband was diagnosed with Cardiomyopathy, I struggled with sudden anxiety attacks...one of which landed me in the ER because I was certain I was having a heart attack. The ER doctor worked to bring my heart rate back down and calm my nerves, then referred me to a cardiologist just to be sure there were no heart issues that he may have missed. The cardiologist (who happened to be my husband's doctor) immediately prescribed medication for me to take which would depress my heart rate whenever I felt anxious or like it was getting out of control. He also prescribed other more natural things like exercise to burn off my stress, extra sleep, lots of water...and surprisingly he suggested I seek out a source of spiritual comfort. I never took the pills he prescribed. Instead, I soaked up Jesus. It was the greatest decision of my life.

    Much love to you,
    Rosann

    ReplyDelete
  13. Glory to God, Rosann! I'm so glad that you & your hubby are both well. The doctor you worked with was so good to suggest so many different options for you. You always bless me when you stop by!
    Love you!
    ~Erin

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thank you for being so bold in sharing your heart and thoughts on this taboo topic. I feel the same way you do but it's become very un-PC to question people's need for mental health drugs. To be honest i can see how nonbelievers would need drugs. To feel the aliveness and joy of the Lord despite your circumstances means you first need to recognize your need for a savior. Most aren't ready to admit that yet. It's a spiritual battle. Best handled with prayer. :)

    Kate
    @Wilkinsonjk

    ReplyDelete
  15. Erin, I always feel like you are speaking directly to me when you write. Thank you so much for this post today, I really needed it. I am in the midst of a really tough time in my life. I know I will get through it because I am starting to trust myself. God will help me do what I need to do. I know meds would probably make me feel not so weepy and on edge right now but I also know that I need to make some changes to improve my situation. When I do that, life will get better. Sometimes you have to go through the fire...

    ReplyDelete
  16. Kate,
    ABC New said just tonight, that 25% of women between the ages 40-52 are on antidepressants. To me, that's just wrong! Thank you so much for sharing here!
    Blessings,
    ~Erin

    ReplyDelete
  17. Michael Ann,
    You are so strong and so well grounded. I will pray that you get through this tough time. Make sure that you are counselling with someone. It can be a doctor or a pastor or a counselor or a friend. You don't have to go through anything alone! You are such a blessing to me!
    Hugs!
    ~Erin

    ReplyDelete
  18. oh erin, i am so terribly sorry for all you endured in those trying times. and am so glad you stuck to your instincts and listened to your heart. your very wonderful heart. i agree with so much you wrote of. i have never been a fan of taking medication to kill the pain and hurt either. i would take a time of tears and pain over feeling absolutely nothing.
    as far as other meds, it wasn't until all of our fertility issues and losses that i learned some of the amazing *and not so amazing ;) wonders of medicine.
    i know this post will reach out and touch so many, as all of yours do.
    i feel like everytime i visit your page, your topic deals with things that've been on my mind :) just as i was driving home yesterday, i was thinking about new steps and chapters and all the medications/procedures it will involve. i prayed for a good hour for strength and the peace to know what and when is the right time.
    thank you so much, pretty lady!
    xoxo
    happy thursday <3
    maria

    ReplyDelete
  19. Maria,
    I know that all the meds for fertility are an inconvenience and not pleasant, but the end result is such a miracle. You know I pray for you and your sweet hubby as you walk this journey.
    Thank you so much for your kind words. You always encourage me. You have the gift of exhortation, my dear.
    Love and hugs!
    ~Erin

    ReplyDelete
  20. Two things:
    Love this picture of you! You look thoughtful and soulful.
    You nailed it with “doesn’t have to be your first line of defense.” Big time!

    Love you!
    Dianne

    ReplyDelete
  21. What a wonderful post. I don't know where I would be without God leading me through the trials I have been faced with in my life. He is my medicine, my all.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Thank you, Dianne. I love you, sister.
    ~Erin

    ReplyDelete
  23. Terri,
    He is our medicine!! Thank you so much for stopping by and reminding us of this.
    Blessings,
    ~Erin

    ReplyDelete
  24. What an awesome ob/gyn you have. Reading your article is so encouraging and I agree with it whole-heartedly. Facing my trials and struggles head on leaves me refreshed and full of life. I can't imagine wanting any other solution but turning to the Lord and trusting Him instead of pills.

    Would you, please, add this post to my Christian Woman's Blog Hop?
    http://riseaboveyourlimits.blogspot.com/2011/08/christian-blog-hop.html

    Your blog is such an inspiration to me! Thanks for sharing your testimony. BTW your beautiful photo in front of the old home says volumes!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Thank you, Becky Jane! Your kind words mean so much to me. My son took that pic of me in a little OK town, called Picher, that has been wiped off the face of the earth.
    I will post to your sight. I'm honored that you asked.
    Hugs,
    ~Erin

    ReplyDelete
  26. I was put on anti-depressants at a rough time in my life, and they made me so robotic that I decided I'd rather experience the pain full-on and to still be able to feel pleasure, too. I hated the emotionless way they made me feel. Pills suck.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Amberr,
    Tell us how you really feel? Just kidding, sister! I love you so much. You make me smile...always. Thank you for stopping by!
    Blessings,
    ~Erin

    ReplyDelete
  28. Good post! I am glad that you recognized that medications are not always bad: for chemical imbalances or for short-term management of certain circumstances, meds can save lives (literally). But I agree that they are overused and shouldn't be taken to numb us to the ups and downs of everyday life. Ages ago ... I think I was 20 ... I happened to be (with a friend) in a psychiatrist's office. At the time I was sad over breaking up with my boyfriend. After talking to me for just a few minutes, the doctor handed me a bottle of antidepressants. Really? (When I got home and thought about it, I decided not to take them.)

    I couldn't agree more with the quote about "feelings buried alive." For many years I tried to bury some old junk, but it kept on hurting me. With the help of a counselor, I've been digging up all of that old stuff. It brings fresh pain, but I think it's important to deal with it.

    Thank you for this post!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Anonymous,
    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I think that a lot of doctors receive $ from the drug companies and that's why they are so quick to right the perscriptions. I'm so glad you've been able to deal with all of those feelings with a clear mind and become a healthier person!
    Thank you so much for visiting and for your input.
    Blessings,
    ~Erin

    ReplyDelete
  30. I thank God that I've never been overwhelmed by so much pain at one time. I know that if I am, God will help me find my way out. I pray that I will have the wisdom and clarity of mind to seek His help. People have always found some way to "medicate" themselves, whether it's pharmaceuticals, alcohol, promiscuity or drugs. You're right that we have to allow ourselves to feel the pain and work through it.

    Thank you for linking this post up to the Christian Women's Blog Hop! I hope you'll link up again soon!

    Jennifer
    http://imitationbydesign.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  31. Thank you so much for stopping by, Jennifer! I know what it's like to be overwhelmed with pain and it's not pretty. But God has always been faithful to walk through it with me and I'm determined to stay close to Him everyday!
    Blessings,
    ~Erin

    ReplyDelete
  32. Wow... I am in tears over this. I am going to share something here that I don't usually talk about publicly. I have fibromyalgia, and I have had to stop working because of it. When I was first diagnosed ten years ago, one of the first things the doctor prescribed was an antidepressant. I told him I wasn't depressed, but he said I had to take it anyway--that it was for the pain and to help me sleep. I felt terrible on it, and it didn't do anything for the pain. After a year or so of taking it, I told my doctor I was done with it.

    I was okay for a while, but unfortunately I encountered so many roadblocks with my physical health that I was often an emotional wreck, and every time I would be feeling down for a while, my doctor would whip out a new antidepressant he'd want me to try. And every time I'd regret taking it and stop after a couple of months.

    Over the years there have been times when I've been absolutely devastated because of what my condition has forced me to accept. I had to leave a teaching job that I absolutely LOVED because my body just wouldn't do it anymore. I had wanted to be a teacher ever since I was a child, and I LOVED my job. The sadness and depression were crushing--I didn't want to stay home and "rest;" I wanted to be with the children, who made me smile and laugh every day. I thought being a teacher was God's plan for me, and I felt like a colossal failure for not being strong enough to do it.

    My doctor prescribed more pain meds, more physical therapy, and yes, another anti-depressant. Again I felt terrible on it, went off it after a couple of months, leaned on God, cried a lot, and finally dealt with my feelings of anger, sadness and worthlessness.

    Once I had dealt with all of that, I was able to refocus on the next phase of my life--building a family. Miraculously, I was able to get off all of the medications I was taking so that I could safely have both of my children. I consider them both miracles because I had two extremely difficult pregnancies, and my daughter almost died at birth. But God was with us, and He saw me through the rough months of withdrawal and the pain that came with the pregnancies, and He has given me two beautiful children who light up my life. Now I take as little pain medicine as possible(no antidepressants)to manage symptoms, so that I can be functional for my kids.

    Looking back, I realize that God has been with me every step of the way, and that He had a plan. If I hadn't left my job, I wouldn't have been able to stop taking the medications and have my children, who are the most amazing blessings I have ever been given.

    Although I still struggle with pain, bad days, and missing things I wish I could be part of, I face each day with encouragement and joy knowing that I am carried by God... and even when my body lets me down, He never will.

    It is amazing when you can look back and see God in all of the twists and turns in your life. Thank you so much for sharing this, Erin. I don't talk about my fibromyalgia much, because that's not what I want people to see when they see me... I want them to see my joy. This beautiful post has given me a place to share my story and still share my joy.

    God is clearly using you to minister to our hearts. May you continue to be blessed and feel all of the joy He has planned for you!

    Sincerely, Jenn

    ReplyDelete
  33. Jenn,
    Thank you so much for sharing your situation with us! You have been through so much. I would have never known. You make people laugh and feel at ease so easily. Isn't it something how woman learn to be strong despite their circumstances and go on and other people never know what they are struggling through. I would recommend a great book by Lisa Bevere. It's called Lioness Arising and it is radically changing my life. You cannot read it through if you don't decide to make some changes in your life. It's that challenging.
    It's inspires me how you kept trying all those years...you never gave up!! You are truly a blessing to many.
    Love you,
    ~Erin

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for giving us a little nugget of truth from your heart!

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...