I understand that this post will anger a lot of people. I also understand that many will think I'm not a true believer because of this. But I've always promised to keep it real with you guys, and that's exactly what I intend to continue to do.
I didn't come to this decision lightly. I read through a lot of resources (including this one by John Piper ), prayed a lot of prayers, and talked to my most trusted mentors. I wanted to exercise wisdom before saying yes to something that could alter my brain in such a huge way.
I had my first anxiety attack at the age of 10. I asked my mom if I could go see a therapist and since then, I never stopped seeing one. Each therapist taught me necessary and helpful coping mechanisms, and though I would practice them, it didn't seem to regulate my emotions. I had high highs, and low lows. People say anxiety and depression are learned behaviors and that absolutely could be the case for me - but understanding the source didn't mean it would stop my feelings from controlling me.
It got worse when I got married. I would have constant nightmares of the same scenario over and over again and then when I woke up, I'd be jumpy and panicky all day. It was taking over my life and really taking a toll on my relationship with Ron. I was just chronically insecure and always listening to sad music. I tried to fight for joy, but I never seemed to win. Ron kept on telling me to go see a doctor, but I bought into the stigma of people on medication. My dad has bipolar and I had seen what medication had done to his quality of life, and I knew I didn't want to have anything to do with that. He slept all day. His brain was foggy. It honestly seemed to have made him way worse...
But my mind changed a few weeks before I took a trip to California. I was about to attend my first movie premier in Hollywood and was so terrified that'd I'd wind up in the bathroom because of my crowd triggered panic attacks and I'd miss out on the whole experience. I was spending thousands of dollars to fly there for a week and I really didn't want it to be ruined my own brain. I finally went to the doctors, told them what I was experiencing, had them do some tests, and then got diagnosed with PTSD.
PTSD actually changes the brain. I had constant intrusive thoughts, nightmares, trouble focusing, and a mountain of insecurities to deal with. I blame it on some traumatic experiences I faced while growing up. Either way, I was suffering from the affects of it and I just wanted it to be over. I told my doctor my hesitations about getting on any medication, so she spent a great amount of time going over paperwork with me, answering my lists of questions that I had written down, and then also walking me through the science aspect of it.
I told her to write my a prescription, but I still wasn't sold on taking it... I wanted to continue to research and pray and make sure I felt peace in my spirit about it.
As I prayed and I read the Word... I just knew God wouldn't be angry at me.
He knew I was suffering. Anxiety for me was not just uncomfortable; it was be debilitating and dangerous. I hated who I was when I'd experience that fear. It held me back and I couldn't truly be the person God had called me to be.
So paired with an incredible Christian therapist, I decided to give my doctors recommendation a try... The lowest dose of Prozac there was. Wanna know why?
God created us as whole persons, with body and psyche together. The body affects the psyche. Going without food, for example, or sleep will change the way one thinks or feels dramatically. And the psyche affects the body. Experiencing a sudden loss or traumatic event can cause one to stop eating or to stop sleeping. Both should be taken care of well and properly. If I have a body ache, I go ahead and take an over the counter medication to alleviate the symptoms. Why couldn't I do the same if my psyche was off?
There are some Christians who believe any psychiatric drug is a spiritual rejection of the Bible’s authority. I’m not one of them. But there are other Christians who seem to think, with the culture around us, that everything is material and can be solved by material means. I don’t think that’s right either. That's exactly why I wanted to control my symptoms with the medication, but also get to the root of my issues, with my Christian therapist.
So my experience so far?
It's been incredible. It's been almost a year taking the medication and almost a year of weekly therapy sessions, and I feel like a new person. Even my husband shakes his head in disbelief of how much progress I've made! I used to be so reactionary. Now, I feel like I'm level headed and can think clearly. I used to be completely ruled by my emotions. Now, my emotions bow at the name of Christ and I'm the one who leads them. I used to be chronically insecure, and though I still struggle - I have been able to really believe what God says about me in His Word.
I'm glad I took so much time to research it before jumping into it - because it shouldn't be an idol that we look to in order to make us feel better instead of looking to God. Antidepressants should simply be a tool that God has given us that help us regulate our brain chemicals. It can truly be used to glorify God - especially when done correctly.
If you are thinking about getting on any kind of medication for your mental health, remember to also pair it with something that will also get to the root of your issues. Medication is kind of the bandaid to prevent further infection, but you have to address the wound still. You do that by getting by guidance and reading the Bible day in and day out.
I'm a Christian on prozac. And no, i'm not ashamed.