Stress and Medication.

I've talked a little about what a terribly sucky year this past one has been.  As we enter into year two of the whole mess, the yuck factor has not decreased but increased a bit.

Not like life in general is terrible, because that isn't true.  Day to day life is wonderful and great.  God is doing AMAZING things that I am so thrilled about and thankful for.  There is a forest growing where where the trees were cut down.  I would never imagined such a lush forest if you had promised it to me last year.   

What has sucked is the residual stuff.  Like the mysterious kitchen grease that appears on the top of your cupboards that will not go away regardless of how you try to treat it.  There is just a thing that will not go away.

Sometimes the thing is more difficult to deal with than others.  Generally, in life, I am eternally optimistic and have a good outlook on life.

This past year has cured me of that.  I am certainly more cynical, less trusting, more skeptical than I have even been in life.  My heart longs for justice but God has given me strict instructions to "Be still" as He fights.  I am being stretched in patience and growing in how to love others well.  Good is happening even among my stretching.

But.  It seems I reached my human end.  Last winter my teeth started to become loose.  Turns out I had been grinding and clenching my teeth as a subconscious coping mechanism. 

So I worked on that.  I used a mouth guard and did all the de-stressifying things you are supposed to do.  And that was that.  They symptoms went away, my teeth shored back up and all was well.

Then the last couple of months I began having chest pains and shortness of breath.  I put off going to the doctor forever and then, only because I love my kids and husband, I went in for a physical and full blood work.

The culprit?  Stress and anxiety.

The solution?  Continuing to do all the things I had been doing to de-stress and..... medication for anxiety.

Instant shame.   Not relief that all was well or joy at getting some help.  Nope.  Instantly I was washed, head to toe in shame.

Yep.  Instantly I felt like I had let EVERYONE down by not being able to hold it all together well.  I felt shame that I needed a medication to help me through the toughest days.

Shame like I couldn't even tell my nine year old why we were at the Target pharmacy.

Shame like I was letting my friends down, my husband down, my kids down.

Shame like I was not letting God be enough.

The river of lies flows quickly when you pull the plug in the damn.  Thinking of those who I will disappoint when they find out, those who will have a "gotcha" moment, and those who will be mortified that I am saying it out loud right now is a thought too heavy to carry.  Even for a moment.

So I put it right down.

There is no shame in help. There is no shame in a love so deep for God's people that it breaks me down physically.  There is not a drop of shame in taking advantage of the wonders of the human mind and science together.

And as I sat it down, I looked up in my mind and saw the root of that shame.  Of people in my past who shamed others who needed that help.  My shame was tied to their lies.  God circled it and drew an arrow and said "Dig".

There is always a root.

Our job is to garden until we get to it and pull it out.  Do not let that weed grow because it will take over. 

Instead, dig it up.  Talk to God about it. 

Needing help is humbling, it opens up rooms of compassion on others who will follow in your footsteps.  I've never judged those who need medication, but I have a whole new understanding now of wanting your brain to behave a certain way and it not complying.

I read yesterday that anxiety is caring for everything too deeply, if that is the case, it's a burden I will gladly bear because I find often that others don't care at all. 

How great it would be to have a tombstone that said "cared too deeply".

That's a label I will gladly take. 


Becky said...


Thank you so much for being so open and honest about this. I feel like more people need to tell the truth and not "act" like they have it all together and maybe some of the shame will stop. After i had my oldest, I should have totally been on medication, but at that time, no one talked about it. I mean, it was only 8 years ago, but I had never ever heard of the "baby blues" as opposed to postpartum depression in which you wanted to harm your baby. I was 9 months in when the fog began to lift ever so slightly, and if I had taken the medication like my doctor had prescribed, I feel like I would have been able to live so much more life those first months of his life.

I too, have been struggling with stress and anxiety. I constantly feel like I'm shivering or cold... and it is really that I am up tight and tense. I found out it was namely because I wasn't sleeping and so that magnifies everything. I tried yoga and hot tea at night along with a magnesium supplement twice a day. Once I started sleeping better, the stress started to ease up, although it totally comes and goes.

Good for you to follow your doctor's directions!! You are an awesome truth teller and I hope you recognize that in your candidness, other women might be able to let go of their shame as well and reach out for help. Keep on, keeping on, Crystal. Being still IS the "good fight" sometimes. You rock.

Julie Schmidt said...

Thank you for being honest and open! I'm so glad that the medication is helping you. Anxiety is awful. Not being able to control your brain is terrible. As someone who has fought severe depression and anxiety for 9 years, I relate to the feelings of shame and thinking that you are letting people down. I've been on many, many different antidepressants and anti-anxiety meds since I was pregnant with Luke. I've been hospitalized for suicidal thoughts. I am still currently taking 4 different meds to stay happy. Luckily this past summer I finally found a doctor who did a full hysterectomy as fluctuating hormone levels cause my depression (the diagnosis is PMDD). I am 95% better which is AMAZING. Praise God! It's so encouraging to hear from someone else who is willing to share their experiences.

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