For those of you that either know me in real life, or have been following my blogs since the azia said what? days- you very well know that I've struggled with depression and anxiety for most of my life. I spent a great deal of my 28 years unmedicated and untreated-- not really aware of the extent of my mental battles or how serious/necessary it was to treat such things.
I just kind of decided/haphazardly approached my early years with the mentality that my moods were just a part of the "whole package" and had a really crappy "take it or leave it" attitude. You know, kind of like those
stupid Marilyn Monroe quotes that are always floating around Pinterest:
You don't get to just be angry and depressed and treat everyone like garbage and just expect it to be okay... because, you are, well, sick.
I wish I could tell you that I learned this before becoming a mother, but unfortunately I carried this attitude for the first couple of years that my daughter was alive and I'm really ashamed that That Azia was a mother. Depression is an ugly, ugly thing. It can push people to the brink, to suicide. It ruins lives. And, as concious, self-aware individuals we need to be strong enough to conquer this ugly enemy set to destroy our hearts and minds.
About three years ago, I tried therapy. It was not a pretty experience. The woman, or I guess I should say, the therapist, had on these terribly dorky folded down socks (they gathered around the ankles in a lumpy mess) and I found myself unable to focus on anything but the damn socks. We're sitting here, attempting to discuss this newly opened vault of all things terrible, and there I was wondering why the hell she wore her socks like that. I was also put on Celexa during that time and long story short, that was not the right medication for me. I became a bedridden, lazy sloth. And honestly, found myself more depressed on it than off of it. I stopped taking the medication. I stopped going to therapy with sock-lady and was kind of doing all right for a while.
But, 6 weeks after my son was born, I found myself feeling off again. I explained some of my struggles to my OBGYN during a routine postpartum appointment. We discussed how I was so afraid to drive that I rarely drove anywhere at all. That I was so terrified of uncontrolled intersections or places that only had two-way stops, that I had figured out how to completely avoid them in the town that I lived in. I explained how I just worried in general about everything to the point of exhaustion. That I was irritable and sometimes just sad, even when I was so happy, for no reason at all. (I didn't share about the downward spirals, or the crying fits, locking myself in the bathroom or how receiving bad news often made me feel suicidal and intense self-loathing because, well, that was embarrassing.) Regardless of my withholding of certain issues, she prescribed me a very low dose of Zoloft.
I was afraid to try medication after my initial experience on Celexa had been so terrible. But, I knew that I needed something to be a better human being and that eventually my children would notice my depression and anxiety if I didn't get it under control. Zoloft gave me the ability to think slower and with more intention and rationality. Zoloft made me realize that just because I'm in a car, that it does not mean I'm going to be t-boned by a random driver just because. Zoloft allowed me to slow down.
During this time of peace, I became a Christian. A turning point for me was when I read this piece of scripture:
No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way so that you can stand up under it. -1 Corinthians 10:13
Tempted. Beyond what you can bear. HOLY SHIT. (haha, holy, get it?) GOD THINKS I'M A BAD ASS. I sat there just soaking in that piece of scripture. There was nothing that I could go through that I was unable to handle or that was so awful, that it is something unheard of to mankind. Basically, I understood that it was time to put my big girl pants on and saddle up for the ride that is life.
Bad things happen. Worrying about bad things happening does not change them from happening. Dwelling on bad things that have happened in the past will not change the outcome of what has already come to pass.
Depression and Anxiety STEAL OUR JOY. I resolved to never let them steal my joy, or give me an excuse to steal another's joy, ever again.
But, alas- depression and anxiety can be a sneaky devilish trickster. The more I resolved to better myself, the more I was tempted to fall into my old was of thinking. But, I continued to to pass each test with flying colors by staying close to God, speaking openly about my trials with my husband and, with the help of my good friend, Zoloft.
Last September that changed. I discovered I was pregnant again. Which meant, no more Zoloft for me. We went through a lot as a family since then: job changes, moving, heartbreaking and painful dialogue with relatives, petty issues- you name it. Anything that would typically derail me, I was tempted with. And actually got through without my Zoloft.
Until about 2 weeks ago.
Depression has decided to sneak up on me. Maybe it's all the chaos with the move (have I mentioned we are moving in 2 weeks? When I'm 36 weeks pregnant?)-- HORMONES, obviously, and a lot of other weird stuff that has been playing mind games with me.
Then today, I was sitting with a group of ladies at my Tuesday bible study and it just clicked. Depression and Anxiety have become an Idol for me. I let my worry and my troubles stand between me and God. Stand between me and happiness. Realizing that right then snapped me out of it.
Who would think that depression, of all things, could be an idol? But, I am here to tell you that I've spent my entire life allowing that very thing control my life. In a way, I was worshiping depression. How sick is that? But, isn't that sin? And human nature? Sickness?
I will be fighting this sin for the rest of my life. But, from this day forward I will not allow Depression to be an Idol in my life.
Do you have any Idols? Have you ever suffered from depression or anxiety?