I'm on Anti-Depressants
Today was the first time I've called in sick for mental health reasons, and in the midst of packing, cleaning and preparing for the sale of our house, I decided to take a break, sit down and reflect on the past two months and confess to the world that I have been diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder.
I have been struggling with depression and negative thoughts for more than half my life. It has been a long, hard, scary and sometimes life threateningly lonely road. Towards the end of March the road seemed to get increasing bumpy and steep. I had more bad days than good and they were getting worse and worse. When thoughts of wanting to run away, disappear or simply cease to exist started to come multiple times a day we started to get really concerned. Then one day I finally broke. In a raging fit of tears and sorrow, I told my husband to call and make an appointment for me to see a psychologist or I was going to admit myself into the hospital. I just couldn't take it any longer. I couldn't keep feeling so low and dark. We had tried everything. Prayer, inner healing, counseling, diet, exercise. Nothing was helping. Actually it was making it worse. My husband immediately made the call to Kaiser and we felt the most amount of peace from God that we have every felt in our entire lives. I felt free. Free from the shame. Free to get help and start the healing process.
In the following weeks, I went to multiple doctors appointments. I had a physical, blood drawn, and I saw a therapist. I was prescribed 5mg of Lexapro for 7 days, to be bumped up to 10mg there after. My doctor said it usually takes a few weeks before I would notice a difference, but thankfully I started seeing improvement in only 8 days.
Life is really different for us now. We are taking things a lot slower and really focussing in on what really matters. The words "self care" never had been in my vocabulary before, but I am learning the importance it. My relationship with my husband and son has never been better. We all feel like we took in a big breath of fresh air when we finally were able to get some answers and help.
God doesn't cause the storms of life but He gives us the strength and wisdom to navigate through them. I am so thankful for the deepening of my relationship with God in this time. He has been so faithful to confirm to us that we made the right decision. Days after I had my first appointment, Kris Vallotton, a pastor from Bethel Redding posted this video blog where he talks about his own struggle with depression. This was just one of the ways I felt God's peace and grace over the situation. It seemed like everywhere I turned God was loving on me and showing me others who are also learning to cope with there own mental disorder.
As a pastor's wife, we tend to live in a fish bowl. Everybody sees and knows "everything" about us. My struggle with depression was not something I tried to hide.... it was just something that tended to manifest mostly at home in my quiet time or my off days. Now I'm learning how to take care of myself better and find coping mechanisms to help minimize my "freak outs" or "dark days".
I hope by being open and vulnerable, I may encourage someone else to seek help. If you think you may be depressed, please know you are not alone and there is help for you! 1 (800) 273-8255 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline