Living with Anxiety Part 2
Jesus & Medication
One of my biggest hurdles in getting help with my anxiety was the thought that mental health is all in our heads and we really just need to trust God more. There’s no Jesus and Medication, the answer is just Jesus. Well, believe me, I tried this for years and it was awful.
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I was taught at a Bible School I went to that there’s no need for Jesus and… no Jesus and medication; no Jesus and counseling. All you need is Jesus. It was fine to be a diabetic and take insulin, or to have cancer and go through chemo or radiation. But, it was not OK to have a mental illness and need medication or anything else to help you overcome the illness. Looking back now, it makes absolutely no sense, but it was what I was taught and I believed it.
First Time on Medication
When I first started taking medication for depression in my early 20’s, I was chatting with a good friend (at least I thought they were a good friend) about some of my struggles I’d been having. I was having a hard time adjusting to living back at home as well as just feeling lost overall in where God wanted me. As we were chatting (this was back in the days of MSN Messenger), he basically told me I was sinning in thinking I needed more than Jesus. He said I was just taking “happy pills” and I didn’t need them. It broke my heart.
I see now that my chemical imbalances were affecting much of my thought processes, but again I didn’t know that then! This was a friend I respected a lot. Needless to say, I got off the medication about as fast as I safely could! But I knew something still wasn’t right. I searched and searched trying to find that “feeling” of having full faith and trust in Jesus. I moved across the country looking for it thinking that if I worked in a Christian organization God would see how much I trusted Him and would follow Him. Maybe then He’d see I didn’t need anything except Him and He’d set me free from my anxiety.
Jesus and Taking Medication
I don’t really know what changed in me, but it finally got so bad I had to get help. I was living miles away from my own family, I was desperately trying to do everything exactly the right away to be the best I could for Jesus, but I was falling apart. I wasn’t eating because I was too anxious, and when I did eat, I would usually end up throwing up because my stomach was just in knots! I lost 20lbs over a few months and I did not have 20lbs to lose! I was skin and bones.
I largely kept it to myself, I was ashamed and embarrassed. Finally, after some coaxing from my family and friends, I went to the doctor. She prescribed me some medication that I had been on before and I was able to find a counselor (although, not a good one… more on that next week!) It helped a bit, and I had some great support from my roommate and boyfriend and their families in Ontario, but, I was still spiraling out of control.
One day, mom my decided enough was enough and she flew across the country to come visit me. We’d been on the phone the night before and I asked her to come and she did at the drop of the hat. She mentioned that she thought I should move back home, and I finally agreed. I packed up that weekend and moved home the next week.
The thing that really helped me the most in this journey was going to a good Godly counselor. My Mom had hooked everything up before I even got home and I started meeting with her weekly the week I got home. She finally helped me to see that there is nothing wrong with taking medication to help with a medical problem.
In Mark 8 when Jesus feeds the 4000, he says in verse 2: ” I feel compassion for the people because they have remained with Me now three days and have nothing to eat.” He felt compassion for his people. He feels compassion for me. He looks at me, whether I’m taking medication or not, and has compassion on me. If He has compassion on me, should I not have compassion on His people as well. And guess what?!? I’m one of His people! I need to have compassion for myself as well. I needed to stop trying to be perfect in order to gain God’s favour and I needed to accept help. Even the help of medication from medical professionals.
Becky Thompson ~ Revived Motherhood
I was recently listening to a Podcast by Becky Thomas of Revived Motherhood. It’s titled Christian Women and Anxiety. I was listening to it in my car driving to work and I was almost in tears. It spoke such truth! I was practically shouting “yes, yes, Amen sister!” in my car. Here’s the podcast:
Ep. 07 | Christian Women and Anxiety 20:59 2018-12-19 Let’s talk anxiety. How does a Christian woman walk the line of fear and faith? How do we justify what we are feeling when we know what the Word says is true? The truth is, I cannot talk about anxiety without speaking about my personal experience with it.
I was first introduced to Becky Thompson when I read her book Hope Unfolding: Grace-Filled Truth for the Momma’s Soul. My sister gave me the book and it was just what I needed to hear at that point in time as a mother of two young girls. The book and reading more about Becky at http://beckythompson.com/ is also what started me on the path of starting this blog!
You can find some of her other books on Amazon as well. I really recommend checking her out! She’s very authentic and real.