Housey stuff
Slip 'n slide

Another entry in the "I'll Never Run For Public Office Anyway" file

Friends of mine are struggling with meds right now, then I read this extra super sobering article about how we treat bipolar disorder and BLARGH. It is hard to be a person attempting to live with a spot of crazy. 

This is how I think of it for myself, anyway. For the most part I am just like everyone else, with (it seems to me) the average amount of quirks and neuroses, but then something goes off in my brain and all at once I'm very much aware that 1) my brain is not functioning correctly, yet 2) I am at the mercy of my brain. This does not happen to my husband, it doesn't happen to most of my offline friends, it doesn't happen to my family, this is my lonely singular hard thing to conquer. 

The last couple of years I've chosen to conquer it, successfully, with meds. The first pill I took, C, was downright amazing. I experienced no notable side effects, always felt like myself, never felt the crazy anxious, and when I decided to wean off of it to nurse EJ, I experienced, again, no noticeable side effects. When I decided that HOO BOY I shouldn't have gone off those lovely magical pills, I asked for another prescription... but they didn't work that time. Who knows why? That was about a year ago, and it set off about six or seven months of trying to figure out what WOULD work. I tried a couple different things before ending up on a fairly large (yet typical) dose of P. It works... mostly well? At times I feel the crazy anxious, but not often enough to complain. I don't THINK I have any noticeable side effects, unless the P is a factor in my difficult time losing weight (um, this is more likely due to a strong affinity for cookies). I feel like myself. Except for the times when I realize I haven't yelled my head off at the kids in God knows how long, I can't remember the last time I had The Rage. Not that I'm a particularly ragey person to begin with, but I highly doubt my kids suddenly stopped being people I felt the need to yell at. 

I don't LIKE being on meds, I don't LIKE knowing that I need this stuff, but it's so much better than the alternative. And I have LOTS of experience with the alternative. I don't have the time, the brain capacity, the strength, the required amount of rest to deal with this entirely on my own. I have three kids to take care of, a husband who works really hard, and a house that needs deck stairs. Not taking meds is no longer an option for me. And honestly, I can't believe I went so long without them. IDIOT.

But even though I've come to a place where I fully embrace medication, where I discuss it freely on this here giant public forum, it's still SO SO WEIRD. It's such a STRANGE and COMPLICATED and FRUSTRATING thing to need medication for your FEELINGS. Especially as a Christian, you guys. Especially when you're sort of used to running all your feelings by God, using them as a gauge for how things are going, when your spiritual life operates in the same emotional and mental space as your craptastic brain chemistry. All the thinking takes place in the same brain, yet some of it is well and truly messed up. 

I don't know if I'm explaining this well. I guess it's like - it just seems like if you aren't doing well, you change whatever it is that needs changing. And God will help you do that. And if you work hard enough and you're committed and you power through it and suffer and persevere... you should come out of it? 

Except I would never say that about an illness that was NOT mental. I am not going around telling people with cancer or diabetes or strep throat that they're just not working hard enough, that they're not committed. 

I guess I just want to ask God, "How come you let us get sick in our HEADS?" That just doesn't make sense. That's the place where we RELATE to you, God! That's where we pray and know ourselves. When I'm super anxious it doesn't matter how many times I mutter "and yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I fear no evil for Thou art with me" because my BODY is going BERSERK. My faith in You, my head knowledge that this thing I'm anxious about isn't even REAL - it doesn't matter, because something has snapped in my brain and my body is out of my control. 

I only started taking meds after I'd completely convinced myself I couldn't do it on my own. Maybe this is a very "Three" point of view. Threes are very "can do!" and when other people give up easily it makes us insane. Oooh, poor choice of words. I just mean... yeah. Threes are super good at "deciding" to feel a certain way. And I can't do that with anxiety. At all. Not even a little bit. 

Where am I going with this. No idea. Just sitting here in my dark living room feeling terrible for people struggling, feeling thankful that I'm doing well, for now, wondering how long it will last. Realizing that I'm much more comfortable with the strangeness and frustratingness than I used to be. Of course I'm only this confident with where I am because of the years I spent banging my head against the I Can Do This On My Own wall. (No I can't.)

Where does God fit into anxiety and depression? I'll keep thinking on that. 

Comments

Doing My Best

This! Yes! I want to ask God the same thing.

Suzanne

Thank you for writing about this! I think it is wonderful that people are starting to talk about anxiety and other mental issues and making it more mainstream. It is certainly nothing to be ashamed about as it is a medical issue, yet so many people feel ashamed anyway. Thanks for being willing to talk about your journey.
Suzanne

Lisa

Think about it this way...you, a three, think you can do it all on your own. Maybe this is part of God's plan for you so that it is easier to realize that you need Him...that you can't, in fact, do it on your own. I like to control and plan everything, and He has knocked me to my knees more than a few times until now, I can (mostly) leave the control issues up to Him. Sometimes we need a little extra help...and sometimes it comes in the form of medication to keep us sane. Keeps us humble, realizing that we depend on Him for our very lives.

The Sojourner

I had the thought recently that God let me get sick in the head because that was the only kind of sick I would notice. I have some serious disassociation issues; I barely notice my body exists most of the time. But when my brain was sick, I had to fix it, because that was my WORLD. You can't just ignore it when the place where you live all the time is crumbling around you.

A couple of years later it turned out that hey, my body is kind of sick too. (It actually probably started breaking down around the same time all the mental health stuff got bad. Weird how it's all connected, huh?) And I don't think I would have been able to stay with it and advocate for myself and actually get healed if I did not have the experience of doing that for my mind.

That's random and probably incoherent, but I thought I'd share.

Colleen

I really respect that you are willing to share this with us. It's a hard thing to realize you need help (especially when you are a bit of a control freak like me). Three years on anti anxiety meds have helped immensely. I always planned to be off by now but now I'm not sure.

Meghan

Maggie, maybe we should put anxiety in the same bucket as diabetes: it's all chemical right? Now, you might want to have words with God if you had diabetes, but you wouldn't skip the meds. Hang in there sister, you are years ahead of where I was recognizing and treating your anxiety. Good for you!! With love from, Meghan

Meghan

Maggie's that article was excellent but tough to read. M

Rosemary

Maggie, I am wondering this very same thing right now. This is a very tough question. Thanks for writing.

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