(I hope that you will all take the time to read this blog written by Perry Noble on the topic of depression.  As a Christian that has dealt with seasonal depression and now dealing with PTSD after the accident we had last summer I feel this is important for those of us in ministry to speak out honestly about our own struggles in this area.  I shared this on my personal FB page and wasn’t surprised by all the conversation that ensued.  Thought I needed to share here as well and would love to hear from you too.  We all know someone who struggles in this area and as Christians we must understand that our opinions on this issue can hinder some from getting the help they truly need out of making them feel ashamed about their very real struggle. )

 Here are some of the comments I shared…

 I appreciate his honesty and honestly really tired of some in the church judging those who take medication for depression or other mental disorders. 

 I have been on medicine and going to counseling since the accident last summer and I am not at all ashamed of the fact that under a doctor and a Christian counselors supervision and counsel I am taking medication for PTSD, which I was diagnosed with at that time.

 Thankfully I have not had anyone speak negatively about my being on medication in this season. However, James and I have ministered to many families where it is obvious that one spouse is struggling mentally and they hesitate to get the help they need because others tell them they just need to rebuke it. Can I just say you might as well take a flat bottle of soda and shake it as hard as you can and see if you get any fizz.

Won’t happen and often there are factors involved with those who struggle such as past abuse, trauma, or even issues such as myself. Not only do I have PTSD due to the accident that almost claimed the lives of my three youngest children but just found out I am vitamin D deficient and anemic, not to mention going into peri menopause:-| (SORRY GUYS)

I don’t assume that medicine will fix all of my issues either. Counseling and getting more sun is part of the plan along with natural supplements and working out with my trainer. As a matter of fact. .. We are in Asheville NC right now looking at a property and are planning a move south soon. This Texas girl needs more sun and I don’t want to live 6 months or of the year struggling.

Bottom line… I believe there are seasons in our lives where we may need to look to medicine to help us get through tough seasons as we seek the Lord for healing mentally, physically, & spiritually as long as we have trustworthy medical counsel. If you are considering taking medication for depression I recommend you go to a psychiatrist rather than you general physician. You need someone who specialized in that field to help you choose the right one for you. You wouldn’t go to your general doctor if you had heart issues and this is the same. After the accident I had several prescriptions (some that were very addictive) prescribed by my nurse practitioner. Not her fault, she just doesn’t specialize in diagnosing these things.

Some people need help for a season and others may need it for the rest of their lives like author and speaker Sheila Walsh (she had a great book on this subject).

As more Christian leaders such as Perry Noble share their own testimonies I believe we will help people to throw off the condemnation others put on them concerning this issue.

 We need to remember that we are not defined by our struggles whether they be depression, alcoholism, gluttony, etc.  Those who have been bought by the priceless and matchless blood of Christ are defined as “children” of the Living God.  We should never allow our struggles or strongholds to define us and we should always seek the healing we need or the grace to live with those struggles that will happen as long as we live in this fallen world.  I am a daughter of the King with a struggle/stronghold of depression in this season.  I trust that in my weakness I am being made stronger and trust that God will use this season in my life not only to strengthen me, but also give me the ability to minister to others with more compassion and grace.  That alone makes this all worth it!

 While we should not use these struggles or strongholds as an excuse to give up or give in as we are called to be conquerors in Christ we are certainly not defined by them.  

 Praise to the God who promises to supply all of our needs! 

 I want to thank all of you for your prayers and your support after this very difficult season!  Pressing on towards wholeness with you dear ones!

 Love,

Sherrie

http://perrynoble.com/blog/should-christians-take-medication-for-mental-illness

Should Christians Take Medication for Mental Illness?

 

 

NO!!!

 

That’s what I used to think!

 

I remember the very first time I ever had to deal with someone who told me they were struggling with anxiety and depression.  I did not understand and could not relate—so, I told them what I thought was the typical “Christian” answer to all problems…they should pray more, read their Bible more and memorize more Scripture.

 

Instead of lessening the load I was unintentionally adding to it.

 

The person mentioned their doctor had told them about going on a certain type of anti-depressant to help out with their struggle, and so they asked my opinion.

 

In a completely illiterate and uneducated manner I told them that people with “weak faith” are the ones that needed such meds, that godly people did not struggle with feelings of anxiety and depression and that taking such medication would essentially be screaming to God, “I don’t trust you.”

 

I honestly felt that way then…

 

I don’t feel that way anymore!

 

In 2008 I entered into the darkest time of my entire life that lasted for around three years.

 

It was brutal.

 

I even gave suicide serious consideration.

 

However, through a series of situations in my life that needed to be changed, along with some intense and excellent Biblical counseling I was able to come through the storm that had dominated me for so long.

 

My doctor and I considered medication during this process, and while it was strongly considered, we both decided that, though it was not wrong to take it, it was not the right thing for me at the time.

 

I secretly held this as a badge of honor, that I was somehow a better person because “I did not need medication” to defeat depression!

 

Our church did a series about stress, anxiety and depression in the Spring of 2012 and it was, hands down, one of the most talked about, responded to things we have ever done.  I shared my story about my battle and we saw so many people finally realize that it really is ok to not be ok…but it’s not ok to stay that way.

 

After a lot of prayer I decided to write a book about my battle and what I learned about Jesus and His faithfulness.

 

However, as I began the writing process the feelings of anxiety and worry began to slowly slither back into my life like a snake sneaking up on it’s prey.  I remember writing a chapter in the book, driving home and having a panic attack in my living room.

 

About three days later I took my daughter to a restaurant for lunch and found myself feeling like I could not breathe and that the walls were closing in on me.

 

What was going on?

 

I thought I was done with this, that I had whipped it and that I was going to be able to tell my story and inspire other people to do the same.

 

But…that wasn’t the case.  Anxiety was a fight, and I was losing.

 

I called my doctor and we had a long talk about my options.  He spoke to me honestly and openly about anti-depressants.  When he first mentioned them I blew him off; after all, I had defeated this one time without the “drugs for weaklings” and figured I could do it again.

 

However, the anxiety in my life continued to increase to such an extent that I distinctly remember calling him one afternoon and telling him I could not take it anymore and that I needed something to help me.

 

I can honestly say that making the decision to take an anti-depressant during this time period in my life has been one of THE BEST decisions I have ever made.  It really has clarified my thinking, made me way less of an emotional basket case and allowed me to make better decisions.

 

I’m not ashamed of the fact I am taking an anti-depressant and have done a complete 180 in regards to how I used to feel about them.

 

I have had people push back on the issue that Christians should even consider taking an anti-depressant…and my response is always the same…

 

If your liver was shutting down and you were going to die as a result and you went to the doctor and he said, “here is a pill you can take to fix the problem,” you would be considered negligent and insane for not taking the medicine.

 

The brain, just like the liver, is an organ in the body.  And scientific research has proved over and over again that chemical imbalances in the brain can lead to cases of anxiety and depression.  If you would take a pill to cure the liver then why would you not do the same for the brain?

 

“But some people abuse anti-depressants,” some people say!  However, if the rule for keeping things around and making them available is based solely on whether or not people abuse them then the first things we are going to have to get rid of are ice cream, cupcakes and buffets!

 

What I am saying is this…

 

The church has used, “pray and read your Bible more” as a “cure” for anxiety and depression for far too long.

 

And we have placed people who use medication to treat the issue in a category that is way less godly than those who do not use it.

 

However, as someone who has been on both sides of the issue I want to speak definitively on this by saying that it is NOT a sign of weakness to admit your need for medication in dealing with these issues; in fact, in many cases it may actually be a sign of strength.

 

It was quite humbling for me to begin to do something I once considered to be a sign of weakness.

 

However, as a Christian and as a pastor I can honestly say that making the decision to swallow my pride and accept the common grace God has provided through medicine has made me a better husband, father and friend.

 

If you’re feeling anxious or maybe even depressed, I would encourage you to get some help. Talk to a friend, a doctor, or you can even come talk to someone here at NewSpring. You weren’t meant to feel this way. It’s ok to not be ok, but it’s not ok to stay that way.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.

Leave a Reply

1 2