Thursday, May 2, 2013

Why Jesus and prozac are my best friends...

Here is one of those posts that may create controversy.  A part of my story, that some think should never see the light of day.  One that triggers anxiety before hitting the publish button on my part.

And guess what?  This is probably the most mild opinion post on my radar.

So, if you're offended or curious, my friends, hang on to your seats!  Because it's only the beginning.

Mental illness can be a taboo subject.  Especially in the church.

And for that reason, for years, I suffered in silence.  Not really sharing my struggles with depression and anxiety.

Because I'm a Christian and I have Jesus.  And that's enough, right?

In some of my experience, as I would try to open up with my struggles in the church, I would get the classic Sunday School answers.  "You just need to pray more."  "Read your Bible, you'll feel better."

I would even have those that would try to relate my struggle with depression, as a season.  One that would pass.  Because maybe they had experienced depression after a personal tragedy and it would just take time....

But what do you do, when it doesn't pass?  When you've prayed and read until you don't think you can pray and read anymore.  And you still feel the same.

In the Beginning...

It wasn't meant to be this way.  When Adam and Eve were created and living in the Garden of Eden, life was perfect.  Sin had not yet entered into the world.  Our bodies were perfect.  No sickness.  No suffering.  No death. (Genesis 2)

But one bite of fruit, and life changed forever.  Sin entered into the world.  (Genesis 3)  Perfection ended. Sickness and death became a way of life.

And if you think that stops at the neck.... You're mistaken.


Here is where I'm going to give you permission to feel what you do.  And it's O.K.  It's O.K. to battle anxiety.  It's O.K. to have a mood disorder.  It's O.K. to have a psychotic disorder.  An eating disorder.  An impulse control or addiction disorder.  What ever it is you may be living with.... it's O.K.

And God does care.  He hears you when you cry out to Him.  He understands your pain.  He is a God who became a man and was tried in every way, just as we are.  His suffering and ultimate death on the cross was not just a physical trial.

If you follow from the beginning of His ministry to the end, you will see an internal battle with the devil, compared to no other.  His temptations in the dessert.  His prayers in the Garden of Gethsemane prior to His arrest.

He laid prostrate on the ground fighting a battle within.  Crying out to His Father.  Sweating blood with tears streaming.  He was utterly alone.  His friends were asked to keep charge, and they were found sleeping.  And there was no Kleenex to dry His eyes.  He knows.  He understands.  And He's right there with you.

I hope you don't misunderstand and think I'm minimizing the Word and prayer.  Yes, we need to read our Bibles.  And yes, we need to pray.  And yes, we need to draw into close relationship with Him.  But that doesn't always mean complete healing.  That doesn't mean we're not going to face hardship in a fallen world.  


If I had been diagnosed with cancer instead, I would have started chemo or radiation.  And no one would have thought twice.  I would share, and the church would rally around as I fight for my life.

Church::  Mental illness should be no different.  We need to give permission to our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ to be open and share freely, in an environment free from judgement.  But filled with grace and mercy.  Because reality is, we are all in death, relying on the only One who can bring us life. 

My prescription drug of choice is Effexor XR.  It helps me to have a little brighter view on life.  It doesn't change who I am.  It doesn't put me in a fog.  It gives my body that little bit that was lacking.

And Jesus is my Savior.  He formed me and made me in my Mother's womb, just the way that I am.  He's promised me a new body: one that will be complete and without flaw as He had originally intended.  He is always there to pick me up and has never once left my side.  He is my portion.

And the both of them together give me just what I need to get through my days on this earth.  And that's O.K.


Nicole said...

Becky- thank you for sharing. I have struggled with mental illness in the past and also have family who struggle. It IS ok. Jesus is awesome but we live in a broken world and sometimes we need extra help. Thanks for being brave friend.

christa sterken said...

oh Becky! You brave woman. This needs to be shouted. I have shared your struggle, your story...many in my world have. May God bless your courage and someone stuck in darkness read this bold post. I know I am sharing

Mandy said...

Thank you for your honesty in sharing those battles that so many in church seek to sweep under the carpet. Jesus and Prozac are my best friends too.

Kathleen Caron said...

I suffer from depression and anxiety too. I understand. Depression isn't a result of not trying hard enough, and it is something separate from sin, even though depression may be more collateral damage from the fall. You should take medication if that is what helps you be healthy. Good for you and thank you for shedding light on depression. It's hard to always be misunderstood.