Thursday, May 26, 2011

Hard Means

If someone told me they had cancer or gall bladder problems and asked for my prayers, I would certainly pray.  Then, I would ask them what the doctor told them about their condition. 
“Oh, I haven’t talked to the doctor about it.  I’m waiting for God to heal me.”

To that kind of comment, I would give a nice long lecture about how God certainly does heal, and is perfectly capable of doing miracles, but more often than not, He uses means.  Doctors, medicines, these things are means that God uses to bless and help us.   Why, I would ask, have you not availed yourself of those means?  Why do you insist God help you on your narrow terms only?

God so often answers prayer through means.  I saw Him do this with my dear daughter when He cured her of her seizures, finally, after a long year of grief and medicine and trial.  He used the wonderful folks at Cleveland Clinic--- those dear people that He made, that He blessed with smarts and desire to help and various abilities--- He used them to restore her to health.  It was a miracle, done by God through human hands.

I know God uses means.
Why, then, did I find myself on the receiving end of this lecture from my husband regarding my depression?
Why is it so hard to accept medical help for emotional/mental problems?

The easy answer:  I don’t want to deal with the cruel stigma associated with this kind of illness.  It’s much safer to hide it. I’m dealing with enough as it is.
Plus, it’s not that bad.  Other people have it worse, I’m sure.  I’m not so crazy I actually need medical help!  See, I’m functioning… kind of.

The more complicated, honest answer:
I am depressed, sad, overwhelmed, and having a hard time just getting through my days.  I am humbled enough already.  I do not want to have to admit my struggles out loud to my husband, a doctor, the pharmacist.  I do not want to carry pills around with that kind of label.  I hate the cruel stigma, and I partly believe the cruel stigma.  I do not want to be one of those weak people.  I can conquer this.  I can find the right mental gymnastics, and I can find the effort to do them.  Somehow.  I’m pretty sure all of this is my fault, so I am the one who needs to fix it, and I will fix it.  I just need to find the energy.

Oh yeah, and God will help me do all of this. Right God?  So where are you then?  Would you just zap me with healing already?  Or tell me the secret password I need to get out of this pit?

God’s gift of medicine came with strings attached, it seemed: I’d have to go to a doctor and say it out loud.  I’d have to go to the pharmacy.  I’d have to be honest with my husband.  None of those things have been easy, but He has given strength for each of them, and I did survive taking that first pill. 

God’s blessings sometimes come in prescription bottles. 

Blessed means.


  1. Talk therapy is difficult and scary too, because it hurts more while you're working through it. Kind of like (I imagine) physical therapy for an injury.

  2. Pills are definitely a blessed means. You can not do it all by yourself. It took me a long time to believe this. I am a firm believer that God gave us this medical means. Depression is a disease. Not something you can control

  3. Emily, I love reading your blog. How awesome that you are sharing, and people will benefit from your courage to be open. Since people are talking about treatment, just thought I would throw it out there that CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) with medication is proven to be very successful in treatment of depression of anxiety. You can google it and learn independently, too :-).

  4. Depression can be your body chemistry simply out of wack, and meds can help balance that chemistry. If you have diabetes, you do all that you can do, plus you take insulin...if you have hypertension, you do all that you can do, plus you take a blood pressure pill....if you have depression, you do all that you can do, plus you take an antidepressant. It's definitely not something to be ashamed of.
    I really enjoy reading your blog, and being "involved" in some of your everyday joys and trials. Thank you for sharing!

  5. Yes mrskb I agree. Perhaps the "doing everything you can" is something we all can talk about as we go. Sounds like someof youhave more experience with some of the other stuff than I do and I am very interested to learn more. My poor husband has born the brunt of my talk therapy attempts so far!

    As far as the medical means... I feel so bad for people trying to do the everything else without the meds (if meds are really needed, I know they are not always). Why such shame and stigma? :(


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