“I am so sorry for your suffering, but I know that YOU know that there is hope, healing, recovery, and promise. We are not defined by our illnesses, especially, I would say, when they are the distortions of our mental horizon. I will pray for you. The lies that our minds tell us are not at all like the truth of God’s love for us. They do not match his power, either.”He went on in the same vein a little more, and then promised to pray for her. Copyright 2019 Amanda Johnson. All rights reserved. Used with permission.[/caption] When she went back to school, it was with some trepidation, but with great hope that her new prescription for anti-depressants and some strategies from her psychologist would help her gain some traction in recovering. And so far, it seems to be working. Her moods are better, she’s sleeping better, and her anxiety, while not gone, is at least held at bay by the plans her physician and therapist have provided for her. The reason she and I made the decision to share this is to help other families know that there are ways to get help and gain hope again while dealing with anxiety and depression. When she was first home, she cried because she couldn’t see how she would feel any better – ever. A month away from that, and she sees hope – and she does feel better! In fact, she told me she was feeling “exponentially better.” The decision to go back to anti-depressants was not an easy one, especially when the person taking them is 18 and feeling discouraged because she might have to take it “for the rest of my life.” When she said that, I told her that I have to take medicine for my barely-functioning thyroid for the rest of my life. Her father has to take blood pressure medication for the rest of his life. Medicine is to help fix something your body isn’t doing well. There shouldn’t be any shame in that.
If you or your child is experiencing depression or anxiety, don’t be afraid to find help. If it’s suggested that medications might be the best option for recovery, please don’t be afraid. Be aware of side effects, but don’t be afraid. Sometimes a person’s brain doesn’t produce enough serotonin and needs help that will come with taking meds. Prayer is, of course, important in our lives, but please don’t think that anxiety and depression go away as a result of prayer alone. And if someone you know is experiencing these problems, by all means pray for them, but please don’t suggest that their faith is lacking somehow because they’re suffering. If you or someone you know is having suicidal ideations, please make sure they have the National Suicide Prevention Hotline programmed into their phone. My daughter has it now, which I hate but also know is necessary. It’s 1-800-273-8255, and it’s always manned. And, finally, if your family is going through the same thing we’ve been going through, please know that you’re in my prayers. Know that it’s going to get better – eventually. It’s not easy, and there will be really bad days mixed in during recovery, but it’s going to get better. If you’re looking for a patron saint to pray for you, St. Dymphna is your girl.
Copyright 2019 Christine Johnson with Amanda Johnson
About the Author
Christine Johnson has been married to Nathan since 1993 and is the mother of two homeschool graduates. She and Nathan live in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Southwest Virginia, where she tries to fit in as a transplanted Yank. She blogs at Domestic Vocation about her life as a wife, mother, and Lay Dominican.