Stories of Hope

What Was Wrong With Me?


I knew something was wrong with me. I was in my thirties before I realized my racing thoughts, constant berating of myself, and feeling the clouds darken every area of my life had a name… depression. I am grateful to a doctor, cannot recall which number they would have been on the long list, who took time to talk with me. He knew why I was there so he asked me to talk about my life, what I thought was going on and maybe more important what I thought was not. He suggested a medication and I was shocked a few weeks later when one morning I woke up with clarity of thought. It was very evident, and I had energy to get out of bed and it felt like the weight of the world had been lifted off my head. When I went back for my follow-up appointment, we were both glad the medication was working. I was no longer waking up and looking at life from a deficit. But anyone with depression can tell you it’s not ‘one pill and you are cured for life’. 

So I began a cycle of my love/hate relationship with medication. I would take them and I would stop. I was ashamed that I was not strong enough and capable enough to live my life without medication. I am a Christian and felt that it was a crutch for me to need medication. I thought, ‘God did not make me this way’ and with enough reading, praying, exercising and doing all the “right things”, God would restore me with His Word and the help of the Holy Spirit. If I just did more of that I would be ok. 

So I spent the next 15 years on and off medication. When I took myself off and would get to the point I could put a gun to my head my husband would urge me to see my doctor and go back on the medication. He was as frustrated as I was and was trying to encourage me that my issue was beyond my will power. Again and again this scenario would play itself out. I was a failure that needed medication. The mental talk going on in my head was overwhelming. 

Trying to explain this to someone who doesn’t suffer with depression is almost as crazy as the depression itself. Then there is the issue with the medication. It does not work immediately, it needs to build up in your system, so there is that period of time that my world would continue to become cloudier before I got clarity. I am sure doctors who treat mental illness get as exasperated with their patients as their patients do with themselves. To anyone on the outside it would seem the easy answer is to stay on the medication, but mental illness is not logical and thus the cycle continues.

Thankfully, with God’s help and great counseling from family, friends and professionals, I finally gave up my pride and self-sufficiency and gave myself permission to realize I am not perfect. God has given us doctors who study mental illness and there are medications that truly do help bring balance to unstable thoughts. I know I live in a damaged body, but I am not without hope. I continue to struggle with admitting that I deal with depression, especially in a culture that says we need to have ‘it all together’. I have stopped fighting the benefits of medication and am off the rollercoaster of stopping and starting. I am a broken person in a broken world but, thankfully, I have a relationship with my creator God who is helping me see that He is making beauty out of my ashes as He gives me opportunity to share my story.

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