Forcing myself to type something up because my consistent blog posting streak died. Blame it on the unexpected ups and downs (more downs than ups) of human life, which tend to activate and encourage depression. Depression = no energy or motivation to carry out even the most basic daily tasks. Think laundry, showering, brushing teeth, turning off the lights before bed, waking up for work, cooking…
It felt like I had no way out, and I wondered if the deep feeling of sadness that kept bothering me day and night would ever go away for good. I fought it by praying, praying with others, reading the Bible, other ministry books, talking to others, “ignoring” the feelings, going to church meetings, etc., because I love the Lord Jesus and I knew that He could take care of me and heal me.
But even though I have the Lord, and I have the church life, and have daily experiences of the Lord, I kept struggling with the fact that no matter what I had to drag my feet with my strong will to accomplish the most minimal tasks.
I didn’t understand. The Bible says that His “grace is sufficient” and there’s the “bountiful supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,” and yes, I had some degree of experience of Christ in these ways. But when depression hit me hard beginning in 2014, I wondered why in my experience I could not at all testify that His grace was sufficient.
Eventually I was diagnosed with depression, for which I was prescribed an antidepressant. And it helped. Then after a little while I found that even though it helped, there was still some lingering sad feeling. So the doctor upped the dose. A couple years later, I found myself still fighting against this “heavy” feeling wherever I went, so my prescription increased to the highest dose of that medication.
It definitely helped, a lot. For the most part no one could tell I had any kind of inward struggle, and most have thought of me as put together. But I was still fighting the Thing, and it also took a toll on my relationship over a period of several months. With the unwanted feelings of sadness coupled with loneliness as a byproduct, my need to be taken care of was more than my significant other could bear.
Then someone recommended I see a psychiatrist. So I asked for a PCP referral, and about a month later (ugh) I finally had the appointment. After about an hour of a thorough intake with the psychiatrist, an hour of detailed questions of all kinds, he gave me two options: switch to a different medication that has more of an energy boost, OR add on a second medication to help give me the extra energy and motivation that I couldn’t get from the first one.
I opted for the second option, which was his recommendation. A couple days later, I was like, WHY DID I NOT TAKE THIS SOONER AND WHY DIDN’T ANYONE TELL ME!!!!!
That happened about a week ago, and it has made all the difference. And I have yet to see what the full effects will be after a good month or so.
I’ve often heard Christians remark that oh, other people who don’t have God are not satisfied and therefore take antidepressants, but our real antidepressant is Jesus! So, as a devout Christian who even went to three years of Bible school, I felt like something was wrong with me, or my experience of Christ wasn’t deep enough for Him to always make me happy and refreshed.
It’s really a blow when everything in you wants to accomplish so much, but your body doesn’t cooperate. So one day when I felt like I could no longer go on anymore during Bible school, an older brother in the church who happened to be a doctor told me, “Depression cannot be fixed by the exercise of the spirit.” It’s like having diabetes and thinking all you need to do is pray and then miracles will happen, yet not taking care of your human responsibility of going to the doctor and getting treatment.
I’ve learned so much through this experience, and I am retrospectively thankful. And after I began taking my second medication, the remnants of sadness that bothered me so much no longer bother me anymore. I’m not kidding. I don’t feel sad when I go home anymore. I don’t feel sad and lonely at work in my cubicle anymore. And I don’t feel sad when I’m in a meeting of the church. And God is more real and enjoyable to me than ever before.
I’m so thankful for His provision – these antidepressants – giving me a practical way to live my life with Him without any unneeded sadness and loneliness. Our bodies are so mysterious. Just a slight chemical/hormonal imbalance and we can go haywire.
And lastly, my “great” need to be taken care of by others is diminishing, as my ability to carry out daily activities is coming back. Maybe I’ll even do laundry today.. or maybe not, ha.
I’m so open about my situation because I’ve found that more and more young people suffer from depression, even in the church, but are “treated” with the wrong “medication,” or are seen as lazy or incapable. But I would encourage anyone who feels like he/she has any kind of lack of motivation or low energy to consult his/her doctor about the discomfort.
I’m no longer hiding my “disease” from others, even fellow Christians, because I believe many Christians actually really need help in this area, which tends to be highly neglected because of the stigma.
Even if you’re not Christian (by the way I’m not trying to preach in this post at all), life can be so much easier with the proper diagnosis and treatment.
Whew. Okay. I think my point has been made clear. Talk about struggling millennials..