Thank God for Prozac!

It’s been a crummy sort of week. I haven’t even felt much like writing, which is not like me at all. A lot of reasons feed into that feeling: my disappointment last weekend, tension over a major test I’m taking next Wednesday, summer heat and humidity, and the ongoing onslaught of bad news about hatred, violence, and other such ugliness. I’m not the only one struggling: some of my friends are describing their struggles as well, both online and in person.

My friends have an additional burden that I have not needed to face this week. Their family members mean well, but they are trying to support my friends with the usual vacuous platitudes that are so popular at times like these. You know the type: count your blessings and you’ll feel better; be more active and you’ll forget your problems; just remember that Jesus loves you and everything will be fine; your problems aren’t real, anyhow—they only exist in your head.

My problems only exist in my head? An inner ear infection might exist only in my head, and that wouldn’t make it less real. Anxiety and depression are not solved by bromides: they need a stronger medicine. We are complex beings, and solutions that help one person will do nothing for another and may even harm a third person. Anxiety and depression are symptoms of some sort of imbalance among my body, my mind, and my spirit. Many things can cause that imbalance. Some are solved by better nutrition and more sleep. Some are solved by prayer or meditation. Some are improved by counseling. Some are improved by medication. No panacea covers all the possible causes of anxiety and depression, but well-meant remarks like those quoted above are almost certain to fail to help.

I am puzzled by people who speak against medications that help battle anxiety and depression. For the most part they accept the need for medicines that lower blood pressure or reduce cholesterol, they will swallow a pill for pain relief or freedom from allergies, and they have nothing but compassion for people on crutches, people in wheelchairs, and others whose problems are obvious. Mention an anti-depressant, though, and they begin to speak darkly of conspiracies between pharmaceutical companies and doctors meant to rob perfectly normal people of their money and their health.

I am not suggesting that any person should be allowed to ingest any substance that makes him or her feel better. I am saying that anxiety and depression are real problems that deserve real treatment. If a pill or two can give a sufferer relief, then who is entitled to criticize them? When Mrs. Dim decides to mow her grass before 7 a.m., and when drivers in traffic are doing fooling and dangerous things, and when my future career is very much in question, I’m grateful that a substance exists that helps me deal with my feelings.

For years I thought feelings needed to be ignored. As courage is not a lack of fear, but is doing the right thing in spite of fear, so I believed that virtue always consisted of ignoring one’s feelings and doing the right thing. Life is much easier now that I’ve been guided on a different path, and trusting a medicine or two to help me handle bad feelings does not mean that I trust God any less. I thank God for helpful medicine just as I thank him for doctors, nurses, counselors, physical therapists, and the many other ways he provides to assist the healing of bodies and minds. Whatever is good, whatever is beneficial, whatever is helpful, it all comes from the Creator of the universe who means it to be used for our benefit. For that, I can only give thanks. J.

 

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12 thoughts on “Thank God for Prozac!

  1. J, sorry to hear things have been tough lately. It’s nice to read a post, though, from a Christian with a balanced and mature perspective on antidepressants. I really struggled when my doctor advised me to get on them after my broken engagement, but he said, “If you had diabetes, you’d take insulin, wouldn’t you?” Our bodies are broken this side of heaven, and I think it’s wonderful to appreciate the help available to us until Jesus comes back in glory.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Aurora. Yes, we deal with a world polluted by sin and evil, and only Jesus can and will fix it. Meanwhile, how blessed we are with the resources God provides. I hope things are going well for you this summer and continue to improve day by day. J.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Maybe it was something in the air, for I have been finding it difficult to stay positive, too, for the past weeks. I was back to my low self from years ago and it wasn’t pretty.
    Medication for depression is a taboo in the Netherlands, too, but whatever helps you get back on track, you know. Who cares what others think, you need to do what’s right for you.
    Just don’t forget it’s a measure and not a solution. If you keep feeling depressed, it’s good to talk to someone about it. That really helped me in the past.

    I know how it feels, and I can only wish you all the best to feel better and happier soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am sorry to hear of your difficulty with depression. I also have been dealing with it in the extreme lately. I suffer from depression and PTSD and the source of my trauma is similar to what many officers’ families have been dealing with over the past few terrible weeks.

    It’s interesting that you bring up medication and the stigma surrounding it. I tend to be someone who prefers to avoid medication as an initial step, but will turn to or recommend it when the less intrusive approaches fail. I believe in an integrated approach to medicine. And, as far as depression goes, one absolutely take necessary steps for healing—medication included! I am thankful for all the healing they have brought to people who have been aided by them.

    Take heart, my friend, and take the healing from the source that God has provided to you. There is no one-size-fits-all fix for what we are dealing with. I am adding you to my prayer list.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Anxiety and depression gallops through my family. Hard-won experience on behalf of myself and others in said family has taught me that yes, we try everything else first–keeping good health habits when you don’t feel like it and cannot see the point (the definition of depression), talking a lot to trusted loved ones or professionals, prayer and prayer…but there are times when you have to do the medication. Sometimes it’s the only thing that will get you unstuck and able to move forward. I leave it for last because it’s no easy road, what with side effects and fine-tuning. But it IS a medical problem, and medical problems are treated with medication.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Grabbing title there! You are right of course. But like many other things, it can misused. After my dad’s death my mom continued on Valium until she finally realized she was addicted. She committed herself to an institution and got off it with a great deal of effort. All that was to the good. But – not long after that a doctor again recommended Valium! She bought some – then fortunately she rethought the situation and dumped it down the drain. Still I, with you, am thankful for the help when people need such medications.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I hear you there! Thankfully, medications have come so very much farther with the SSRI class (with action on the neurotransmitters in the brain). I am concerned about the remaining taboo in our culture, even in the church, concerning the use of helpful and controlled anti-depressants. The brain can become “afflicted” like other parts of our bodies, but is manifested in different ways. (And then there’s Heaven, thankfully!!!)

      Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for your thoughts. I am glad your mother was able to take control of her situation for the better. Of course medicine can be misused, as almost every good thing in God’s creation has been misused by somebody somewhere. J.

      Liked by 1 person

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