Friday, March 12, 2010

better living through chemistry


Hello dear bloggies.

First things first,  it's March 12th, and I want to say happy birthday to my dear mother-in-law, Barb!  I couldn't ask for a more loving or generous or kind person to be my mother-in-law.  I love you Barb, and look forward to our visit next month!!

Some of you have followed my little saga of weaning off my meds, concerns that maybe I need to go back on them, indecision, poopy days, etc.  You have all been so supportive and prayerful on my behalf--it's humbling.  I appreciate the kind comments and sweet emails.  Some of you have been honest with me that you don't know what to do with the whole antidepressants-for-Christians thing--but have been supportive nonetheless.  Thank you.  Special thanks to the Company Girls, who I link up to on Fridays.

So, I am here to tell you today that I am back on the little happy pills. I saw my doctor on Tuesday and started back on Wednesday--building up to half the dose I have been on the past year.  And we'll see if that will do the trick.

Here's where I am with the whole thing...my rambling thoughts on the matter:

First of all, I believe wholeheartedly that some people's brain chemicals are such that medication is needed to help regulate the chemicals needed for proper functioning.  I have close loved ones in this category.  It has nothing to do with their faith, or copping out, or an unwillingness to push through a tough time.  And I am very grateful for the medication that helps them live life to the full.

Where I was struggling was whether or not I was one of those people.  I was surprised when my counsellor, who was helping us through a crisis in our lives, noticed I was depressed.  I am familiar enough with depression in others, I was surprised I hadn't noticed it in myself.  But she, and my doctor were of the opinion that my depression was circumstantial, and with proper treatment my brain would heal from it.  We thought 6 months to a year would do the trick.  At the six month mark, I was dealing with the recent death of my precious niece Sadie, and so doc and I decided to wait.  I had no doubt at the one year mark I would be fine.  I mean, I had some dark seasons before, and I never needed medication.

So somewhere around the one year mark--I started weaning off.  I think I finished my pills sometime in January.

It took a little while, but the cranky came.  The emotional overreaction to minor things.  The fragility.  Some trouble sleeping.    Stink--I knew these weren't good signs.  But I didn't want to run back to the doctor.  I wanted to give it some time...see how it went.  I wasn't in crisis.  I was functioning.  I prayed for wisdom.

I had lots of better days mixed in...but the consistent return of the poopy was evident.  Then an unexpected email (from a friend from the past who has been in the same place emotionally as me) felt sent from God--and I knew He was telling me it was OK.  I wasn't looking for a sign, but I knew it was one from Above.  I felt God was saying--stop gritting your teeth through your days, Dawn and talk to the doctor.  This was confirmed by my family as well (although I appreciate how they patiently let me come to my own conclusion).

Doc says that the medical research is still being done as to why, but the brain learns to make less brain chemicals sometimes.  I had told him of the seasons of depression I think I have had in the past.  At age 20.  Right after I got married. After the birth of my oldest.  And a few more.  I always got through it.  God rescued me from the darkness each time.  The doc told me that my personality type of gutting through stuff is the worst for this--because each time (somehow) my brain was learning a pattern of making less seratonin and other good stuff.  And it seems that the pattern seems too ingrained--I'm not bouncing back this time.

Do I think I would be OK without the meds?  Probably.  My dependence on God is real, and so is His provision.  I can function this way.  The way it feels to me is that as long as everything goes relatively well in my day--I'm fine.  But the emotional apple cart gets toppled way too easily, and it takes an incredible amount of energy to keep myself on track.  With the meds--I have enough of the good brain stuff to be able to handle the inevitable ups and downs of a day without having to exhaust myself trying to keep it together.  That leaves more emotional energy for my family, for my housework, for others God brings to my life, for the ministry He's called me to.

As my email friend mentioned to me--if I had a thyroid problem, I'd take the meds to regulate that.  Why not regulate my brain chemistry?  She's right.  I  don't know why there is a stigma with brain chemistry over any other body needs.  I didn't think I bought into the stigma--but when it came to my own needs, I bought into the idea that I shouldn't need this stuff.  (By the way, I am doing some reflection on "I should/shouldn't" but that's a post for another day).

You know what it is?  It's pride.  Honestly, I would rather not "need" something.  But, who am I kidding?  I need everyday.  I need Help.  Pride says I am independent, but I'm not.  I am very dependent--on God.  Without Him I am nothing.  He is my Rescuer.  If He rescues me this time through medication--I'll take it.

If any of you are still reading this verbal vomit, I thank you.   As I've said before, I'm nothing if not wordy.  :0)

Raise your coffee mug with me and toast to no more posts entitled poopy!

16 comments:

Dawn said...

you thought process is so similar to my own. just gut it out. add in prayer. and we'll get there. but you know my philosophy about the ADD meds... and it really does apply here, too. and it is a fact that God wants us to live life to the full... and it sounds like those little happy pills are the tool he is providing for you to get there. grasp onto peace... and know that i am sending some love your way :)

Sharone said...

Praying for you! These are hard decisions, I'm so glad you've come to a place of peace. :)

Dawn said...

"I can function this way."

I truly believe God intends for our lives to be more than just functioning. I think you approached your treatment prayerfully, with wise counsel and support from your family... and you made the right decision for YOU. That's all that matters.

Be blessed!

Ashley said...

Way to lean on God during this time in your life... I'll be praying for you as you transition back to the meds!

Karen said...

Raising my cup to yours. You know too, God gives men wisdom and knowledge to make the meds. There should be no stigma when you need them to help. I applaud your honesty and openness. You'll never know who you might be helping.

stringsattachedministries.wordpress.com said...

God is good! Sometimes the little blue pill is his way of blessing us! my rescue came in the form of Sheila Walsh at a Women of Faith conference. I praise the Lord that she shared her story with us that day...If you haven't read her book on depression...you should.
Dawn, I am praying for you...May God grant you the wisdom and discernment and the NON-poopy days you seek!

Jennifer C said...

I appreciate your honesty Dawn. I dealt with anxiety 4 years ago and eventually began taking medication. I saw those pills as God's provision so I could care for my family. Praying for you...

Cathy said...

Yay for good meds!!! :) love you!

Crazy Lady Cheryl said...

I am glad you've been brought to a place where you have peace with your decision. I definitely believe brain chemistry plays a huge role and happy pills are perfect for those situations. Hang in there and thank you for being so real with us.

Kris said...

I have many thoughts on this. Some christians have villified anything to do with science and the psyche. As a parent of a child who has suffered from much anxiety (and therefore the whole family has been impacted) I can say without a doubt that medication changed our lives. And that was post-Jesus. :-)

One More Equals Four said...

I agree with your friend. God has blessed us in allowing Doctors to better understand the brain and how it works and they have found ways to help. You would totally take insulin if you were diabetic, you would take blood pressure medicine if it were necessary, etc. No one questions your christianity if you help yourself! Glad you are feeling better and do not worry about it. Let God lead you!

Rachel Anne said...

I raise my cup with you. I'm happy that you've gone with the decision to take the medication...it does not have to be a permanent solution if you don't need it to be, but why suffer when you can approach things medically AND spiritually. Good for you.

Melinda said...

Dawn, this post really touched me. I have 1 close family member that is on an anti-depressant. It was a struggle to get to a point of acceptance that that was best for this person, but since they started medication, they haven't looked back. It allowed so many of their wonderful qualities to shine through.
My son was diagnosed with ADD this year (my DH is ADD and was never medicated). After the horrific start to the school year, we feel that medication was absolutely in his best interest. Again, it allowed him to shine. My DH was originally against medication. Now, he is so glad that we did what we did and he wouldn't change a thing.
You do what you need to do and you have to tune out the nay-sayers, as thoughtless and hurtful as they can sometimes be.
God will lead you in what is right for you.

MrsJenB said...

It is such a shame - there IS a stigma attached to brain chemistry and what we need to do to regulate if needed. My mom and my sister are both medicated and they need to be, end of story. Like you said, if this was a thyroid problem they'd be frowned upon if they DIDN'T take care of themselves.

I am glad that you are taking care of yourself and pray that things go well for you.

Cathy said...

Here, here! I agree wholeheartedly! I'm so happy you've gone with the happy pills. Your dependence is obviously on the Lord and not on the meds. I think it's ashame there is any question at all about taking meds in situation like yours. There is bi-polar in my husbands family and we've run up on the same stigma there too. The brain is an organ in our bodies that sometimes doesn't function the way God designed just like other organs in the body. Why wouldn't we treat the brain too?
I'm so thankful you have peace in your decision and I pray you move quickly towards non-poopy days!
You are a blessing!
LydiaCate

Hillary @ The Other Mama said...

Thank you for being brave enough to talk about this. I think God allowed these very smart medical professionals to learn about our brains to that we can do our best to use them to glorify Him. And that is what you are doing, friend. Keep up the good work!

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