By Brittany Parker
For some of us, happiness doesn’t come easy. For some, it’s a struggle every single day. You force a smile, and you pretend that you’re okay.
You pretend that you’re not dealing with this depressing, agonizing pain in the pit of your stomach.
You pretend that it’s easy to walk through a crowd.
You pretend that everything is fine, and you’re not hurting.
You pretend until you can no loner pretend.
Christians have this view that medication is like a sign that you don’t trust God. They see it as an easy way out.
Most don’t know, because I’ve only shared this with a select few- I am on anti-anxiety medication, or an anti-depressant.
It’s something I wanted so desperately for years. Not because I thought it would solve my problems, but because I thought it was worth a shot. A tiny chance that I could make it through the day a little easier.
But I was scared to ask for help. Scared to admit that I was having a hard time just living.
I knew that people had this misconception of anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medication. What I didn’t know was how others would make me feel being on them.
I’ve had people tell me that I’m unhappy because I don’t have a good relationship with God. I’ve had people tell me that I’m anxious because I don’t trust God.
If I offend anyone by this post, I do apologize but I think those people are wrong. I think the majority of people have the wrong idea of medications.
My anxiety doesn’t only show itself before a class presentation. My depression doesn’t come when I’m having a bad day because something upsetting happened.
For me, my anxiety comes in the forms of driving to the store and not being able to get out of my car. My anxiety presents itself when I have to make something as simple as a phone call. Driving alone gives me anxiety. Crowds, food courts, eating in front of others, sporting events, drive-thrus, restaurants, check-out lines, paying at a register, and basically anything else you can think of probably gives me anxiety.
Even for me, as silly as it sounds, walking into my kitchen sends me into an anxiety attack, so I rarely go in there. Anxiety isn’t this or that. Anxiety comes in waves, and is different for every single person.
I’m sorry but telling me that I don’t trust God enough isn’t the right way to handle something. I’ve been a Christian for as long as I can remember. I’ve always gone to church. I’m super involved in the ministries. I pray to God every single day, multiple times a day. I read my Bible. I listen to worship songs. Yet, I can’t go into a store alone. I can’t drive five minutes down the road without anxiety taking over. I can’t walk into a restaurant by myself. Like I said, my kitchen even sends me into attacks.
My relationship with God is not a cause or fix for my anxiety. And if you don’t believe the same as I do, that’s fine. We all have our opinions, but I’m telling this from my side.
The side of a girl that sat in her dorm room freshmen year in the dark because leaving was too exhausting when having to fight your brain and the anxiety.
The side of a girl that barely ate because she couldn’t go get food.
The side of a girl that stopped going to church, or being excited for church because people didn’t know how to address anxiety and depressions appropriately in sermons, so you felt attacked, even though they didn’t know.
And most don’t. Most make comments and don’t realize who in the room is suffering.
I sat in a Sunday School class and the topic was brought up. I wanted so badly to speak up, but I didn’t feel like fighting a battle with others that don’t understand what it’s like.
Someone mentioned that they didn’t agree with “happy pills” and that if people would just trust God enough then they wouldn’t be depressed. If they would trust God enough then they wouldn’t be anxious.
Literally the next day I was put on these so called “happy pills” and I felt ashamed.
I wanted for so long to be placed on them just to see if they possibly could help me, but the day it finally came I was ashamed.
Ashamed that I was committing some kind of sin for taking them. It took me almost a month before I could take it without guilt taking over and without apologizing to God for it.
All because someone decided to say that these pills is like slapping God in the face.
What those people in that class don’t understand is that I don’t come to gatherings at church because my anxiety is too bad sitting in them. It takes so much for me to literally walk in there, and the one time I finally decide to- this topic is brought up and shame is forced upon me.
I say this to say that you can have your opinions, but think before you make comments because you don’t know what someone next to you is going through. I have yet to go back to that class. But thankfully, I have a relationship with God. So those comments that were made didn’t steer me away from Him. But what if I wasn’t grounded in my faith? What if I was struggling with if I believed in God? What then. Because I know how bad I felt leaving that class but thankfully I know who my God is and what He thinks of me. So thankfully those comments didn’t turn me away. But it could have.
Think before you make comments about “happy pills”. I hate that term because they don’t make it better, they just make it a little bit easier. It took over a month for me to even see a slight difference in my daily life. It wasn’t immediate. I still have anxiety, and I still fight the depressions.
Medication makes it a little easier, but my relationship with God is what keeps me living- not these pills.
These pills help and God helps. It’s not a competition.
I truly believe that God is okay with me taking them, but it’s something I had to decide. Don’t force your opinions on other people, especially those that are struggling and don’t need you making them feel even more ashamed. Trust me, we feel bad enough, and we don’t need your help.
I am Christian. I take an anti-anxiety pill once a day. I have anxiety attacks daily.
But I pray more than the amount of anxiety attacks I have. I pray more than the amount of pills I take a day.
Taking a medication to even out your Serotonin levels does not mean that it replaces your trust in God.
I have a heart condition, and I have never had anyone tell me that I should stop my medication. No one dares to tell me that I should put all my trust in God, and stop the pills for my heart.
Why? What is it that Christians are okay with me taking heart medication, but anxiety medication is like a sin?
I don’t know really know how to get the point across that these aren’t “happy pills” and they aren’t an easy fix. And I don’t expect this post to really change the minds of others.
What I do hope is that by writing this, and admitting to the fact that I am a Christian and I am on anti-anxiety medication that someone else going through this, feeling ashamed, can know that they don’t have to be.
You don’t have to be ashamed anymore.
Read more of my writings at: steppingondandelions.com