May is Mental Health Awareness Month.
It strikes me as odd that there are people in this world that are not aware of mental health until we acknowledge the concept in the month of May. I’m happy for them but I certainly don’t relate to them.
I recently read the book Untamed by Glennon Doyle. It’s a beautiful book written by a true warrior woman. I appreciated many of the concepts Glennon shared in her latest memoir. However, no other quote has stuck with me more than this one –
“Jesus loves me this I know, for He gave me Lexapro.”
I’ve read a ton of great content during this month in honor of mental health, and since this is somewhat my schtick, I don’t feel the need to overstate what you may be hearing from others.
So let me be simple – have you considered meds?
I was avidly against taking medication for my severe clinical depression for years. I was raised in a church environment where you would never be free to acknowledge that depression was actually an illness in the first place. According to my spiritual leaders of the time, depression was a lack of faith in God. It was a posture of doubt, a posture of unbelief. We were called to take our thoughts captive and to let our minds be renewed. This was our work to do with God. This had nothing to do with some secular science-y person telling us we had some kind of chemical imbalance in our bodies, and it certainly had nothing at all to do with pharmaceutical drugs. That much was clear.
I spent so many years of my life trying to wrestle myself out of depression. I spent so many years of my life trying to quiet my inner anxiety. I spent so many years…trying.
Trying and failing.
I was basically at the end of my rope (again) when I decided to try medication. I’ll be honest – the first one wasn’t a match for me. That’s the reality of this part of the journey. We are all unique and mental health solutions aren’t one size fits all.
For me, medication number two was the winner. Medication number two went up quite a few notches until we hit our sweet spot together. Early on into adjusting to it, I forgot to take it. I felt the depth of the pain and heaviness I had been carrying around with me, unaided, for over twenty-five years…and I wept. I was in the car in the grocery store parking lot crying like a baby, thinking of all the years and experiences I had lived through without the help I needed.
I remember hearing author Elizabeth Gilbert speak at an event where she gave her audience permission to do things they needed or wanted to do.
Are you ready?
I hereby give you permission, dear reader, to explore the idea of medication for your mental health challenges. You’re not a failure for trying it. You’re not giving up. You’re not “taking the easy road” out of anything. That’s just not how this works.
You wouldn’t condemn someone for taking life-saving medication for a physical illness, right? So don’t condemn yourself for taking life-saving medication for a mental illness. We need you.
You’re worth fighting for, beloved. Never forget it.