This is a continuation of “Part 1: Depression, Healing and Psychotropic Medication”
Did I pray? Yes.
Did I read scripture? Yes.
Did I fast? Yes.
Did I have enough faith? Probably not. Does it matter? God is sovereign and His power is limitless.
It’s fair to say I tried everything ‘spiritual’ to make that thick, dark cloud go away, but it wasn’t budging. I rebuked Satan but he wasn’t backing off. It was even suggested by well-meaning Christians that I needed deliverance from the ‘evil spirits’ that I was apparently plagued with. Looking back, I laugh, but at the time it can be very confusing when you have a psychiatric illness and you’re just not sure whether it’s a physical or spiritual matter. I mean, Jesus cast demons out of mentally ill people, why would it be any different today?
Well, maybe, just maybe (and this is purely my speculation), God has provided a solution for mental illness throughout all ages, and today it looks like medication and therapy? Maybe He created genius neuroscientists who would know the exact chemical formula that would maintain the correct balance of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine in the brain that regulate mood? And, on top of that, a league of compassionate, kind and well-educated psychologists and psychiatrists who could actually treat mood and personality disorders through something called Cognitive Behaviour Therapy.
How good is God? He is The Infinite Creative Genius, and yet, He sees a need among humanity and says, “Yep, I’m gonna create some geniuses on the planet who are going to create and implement natural solutions for those who are ‘poor in spirit’.” God even went to the extent of making our brains changeable, through something called neuroplasticity. Which means, we CAN change. Our thoughts can change. Our behaviour can change. Our mood can change. In other words, THERE IS HOPE and things can and will get better, despite how we feel right at this moment.
In saying all this and reflecting on what has been the most painful, lonely and possibly life-threatening time in my entire life (I ended up in for two weeks on suicide watch), I am glad to have gone through this. Now I can turn to my neighbour and say, “Firstly, we have hope in our risen Saviour and secondly, medication and therapy are the natural God-given solutions we have to overcome sickness.” If you have high blood pressure, diabetes or any physical condition for that matter, you wouldn’t think twice about seeking appropriate treatment. Why would it be any different when you’re depressed and anxious?
I guess for me, going back on medication was a huge step of faith. My mind was filled with ‘what ifs’ playing out the worst case probabilities and scenarios. I overthought it, and sometimes, while it’s good to use our brain and logic, we just have to listen to the professionals who have our best interests at heart. Today, I am a huge advocate for medication and therapy in combination. No, it didn’t work straight away. There wasn’t a ‘get better app’ that I downloaded in 30 seconds. But, through the ‘gift’ of psychotropic medication and counselling, I have been healed and am now happier than ever. In fact, I’m the happiest and most contented I’ve ever been in my life.
Every day I get up, take 80mg of Prozac and get on with my day. I walk in the redemptive power of our risen Saviour, knowing that there is an even greater healing to come when I’m in heaven where they’ll be no SSRI’s and CBT. But until then, while I live in a fallen world with broken people, I’m glad that I can happily live and walk into all that God has planned for me.
If this blog has raised any questions for you, please speak to a healthcare professional or call Lifeline: 13 11 14
*The preceding does not necessarily reflect the views of Hillsong Church on the topic of healing. Hillsong Church always advises one to seek the advice of their medical professional before stopping any medication.