Warning: This Could Change the Way You Think

Recently I’ve been examining the things that boggle me down throughout my day in an effort to eliminate some of the anxiety that attacks me at unpredictable times. You’ll never guess what I discovered. See, most of our anxiety stems from our thoughts. I know you’ve heard this before: “Change your thoughts, change your life.” Trust me, I hate hearing this phrase as much as you just hated to read it, so let’s change it to “Change your thoughts, get rid of your anxiety.”

I want to start by saying, sweet sister, if you’re not willing to change your thoughts and train your brain, you are not willing to get rid of your anxiety, or depression, or any other mental illness you may have. If you’re content with being discontent for the rest of your life, I’m not going to stop you, but you may not find this post very helpful for you; however; if you’re ready to go on a journey to reduce, lessen, and maybe even heal your brain, and even your heart, keep on reading!

If you’re still here, thank you for taking this HUGE step in your life and I’m proud of you for getting past that cheesy phrase of advice in the first paragraph. Now let’s deal with this. Your first step to changing your thoughts is consciously tracking what you’re thinking about. It’s hard to put into words, but think about what you’re thinking about the most. Maybe you’re not happy with your weight and you think about dieting, exercising, or the Victoria’s Secret model you read about on Facebook last night. Maybe your boyfriend sent you the “we need to talk” text this morning. Maybe you’ve been downright consumed with overwhelming amounts of schoolwork and all you can think about is fall break. I don’t know what you wake up and think about all day, but my thoughts range from the food I want to eat that day to “I can’t believe I just said that,” and “If I could only figure out how to be more productive after I get off of work.” From the things I think about, you may be able to tell I put a lot of pressure on myself to be perfect. Take a moment and try to write down or simply just think of a couple things you catch yourself thinking throughout the day and analyze what behavior may be causing some of your anxiety.

That was a tough-y, I know. Thinking about thoughts is a concept that takes a lot of critical thinking. (Yes, I did that on purpose, and yes, please quote me on that one. It took a lot of creative power.) If you had a lot of trouble going through your thought processes, try analyzing yourself per your behavior first instead. When you think about it, your thoughts are reflected in your behavior. For example, if you’re trying a new diet, it’s probably because you think you’re unhealthy. If you’re consistently trying to please everyone, you may think you’re not lovable. If you’re spending all of your time on Facebook, you may not even want to think. I hope you get the drift.

The end goal is ultimately to know what you’re thinking so that you can learn to stop thinking in the pattern that you’re used to now. This takes daily, consistent, prayerful effort. You didn’t learn to think the way you’re currently thinking in one day either. It happened out of habit. The same is going to have to happen to reverse the thought processes you have now. When you begin to piece together your thoughts and why they’re ruining your life, I hope and pray you develop the will to end the pattern. I don’t know the science behind it, but the best way I know how to explain it is that thoughts happen naturally, quickly, subconsciously, and in an endless reoccurring cycle. It may not seem like one thought could be the root of your anxiety attacks in the middle of the day, or at night when you’re trying to sleep, but it can be. Our thoughts can boggle us down, make us tired, worried, overwhelmed, frustrated, and irritable; but here’s the good news. Our thoughts can also make us happy, excited, hopeful, energized, and relaxed. If you’re wondering which thoughts can change your life for the better here they are:

  1. Whatever is true
  2. Whatever is honorable
  3. Whatever is just
  4. Whatever is pure
  5. Whatever is lovely
  6. Whatever is commendable
  7. Whatever is excellent
  8. Whatever is worthy of praise

If you think about anything that meets the requirements set before you above (basically anything that inspires the worship of God and service to others) you are promised the peace of God. (Philippians 4:8-9).

Changing the way you think is not supposed to be easy. The devil is constantly looking to invade your thoughts.

“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)

Peter writes this verse right after he tells the church to cast their anxieties on God. I hope you let that sink in. Your thoughts and your anxiety go hand-in-hand, and until you are willing to go through the blood, sweat, and tears of changing them, you will be attacked from all sides.

Action Plan:

  1. Grab a commentary (they’re online and in the back of your Bible), and write out some verses about the attributes of good thoughts listed above.
  2. If you had a really hard time analyzing your thought patterns earlier, spend a week praying solely that God would reveal the heart behind your thoughts to you. It won’t be pretty, but it’ll be worth it.

 

“Search me, O God , and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!”

Psalm 139:23-14

Heartbreak Hacks

I don’t know who or what has broken your heart that made you click on this post, but whatever your season in life is currently; it’s just a season. At the time of this post it is Fall; and to me, this season represents change. Maybe you just got bad news from a doctor. Maybe your boyfriend or husband left you. Maybe you have a child who won’t stop acting out. Whatever your season, even in the cold, despairing winter, these heartbreak hacks are meant to make this season feel a little more tolerable. Grab a cup of pumpkin spice anything, and let’s get started.

Keep a journal. I know it’s hard, especially when you struggle with depression to find the motivation to even write things down. If you don’t have a journal yet, invest in one you love to look at to motivate you. Customize one on Etsy if you really want to invest in yourself and make it feel important so you’ll do it. Also, relinquish the pressure to feel as though you need to do this daily or even weekly. You don’t have to do this every night. I find myself doing it only on the nights where I feel the most confused or grieved in life. Also give up the fancy stuff. Be original. Draw your thoughts, write a song, a poem, or start a book. No one besides you is going to see it. Do something, even if it’s one sentence. Most of my journals are letters, for example.

Instead of going straight to your depressing playlist, listen to some great soul-searching worship. My current favorites are Peace Be Still – The Belonging Co., To Be Honest – Highpoint Worship, & The Anchor – Life Church Music.  I’m curious about your favorites too! Leave them in the comments. This is my favorite option when I know I feel myself getting angry at God. Songs like the ones I listed give me hope and restore my faith in God and His promises. They make for great on-the-way-to-work jams too!

Color. If you need something to pass your time and keep you busy while you’re listening to your new music, grab a coloring book. If you don’t have one there are free coloring pages online you can print out! I’ve read stuff about coloring relieving stress. I’m gonna assume it’s true since it works for me. Forgive my ignorance on this one.

Take a break from social media. I deleted Facebook off of my phone for about 2 weeks after my last serious breakup. I didn’t quit cold turkey, but deleting the social media apps trained me to be intentional about actually getting out my computer and going on social media, which for me, meant spending less time actually scrolling mindlessly through my timeline and more time processing my emotions.

Dedicate yourself to learning something new, or take on a hobby. I played piano for 8 years and guitar for 2 throughout my elementary to high school education years. I hadn’t pulled out my guitar at all in college, but after my breakup decided to re-teach myself the basic chords and play some easy Taylor Swift. I honestly don’t know the science to why taking on a hobby that you enjoy works for the heartbreak woes, but it does, so try it.

Take a nap. Don’t think that taking a nap means that you’re sinking into depression. Most of the time heartbreak can result in a lack of sleep because your brain won’t stop processing. Catch up on your rest. You need it.

Make breakfast for dinner. I just thought of this suggestion today while talking to one of my sweet friends enduring the same thing you are. My comfort food at nighttime is breakfast. If you don’t like breakfast, insert your favorite comfort food here. Ben & Jerry’s is a given.

Read through some Psalms. Psalms is one of my favorite books for depression and anxiety. David is literally journaling how He feels to God. Highlight your favorite verses and write them down in your journal.

If you’re someone who struggles with anxiety and depression worsening in different seasons of life, you may need to evaluate your situation medically. I have had to go on and off meds for different reasons, but don’t feel ashamed to start them again if it helps you get back on your feet. If you want honesty, I would not be motivated to write for this blog without a little help from my Lexapro. Your work life, school life, and relationships are important. Medication is an investment in yourself, in my opinion. Others will disagree with me, but as I’ve seen it in my life, there is no shame in it if you need it to function. God doesn’t want you walking around this earth miserable either. Your purpose is to shine a light that is so bright others will see Him in you.

Ask for Help. Sometimes I feel like when I ask for prayers after a breakup, it’s pathetic. Someone’s life situation always seems worse than yours and all you have is this pathetic breakup you can’t get over. It’s not pathetic. Your emotions are not pathetic. Your life situation is not pathetic. Ask for prayer. When a group of believers comes together to pray, you best believe there is power in His name. On the topic of prayer, I just launched my Facebook page for this blog.  (Just search GADGirls in the search bar). There’s a “Send Message” button on the page. If you need prayer over your broken heart, or need healing in a relationship, send a message, and I’ll pray for you.

Gather some girlfriends and go out on the town! Once you’ve cried for a while, I have this feeling you’ll want to do something other than mope around, which as I’ve clearly stated is not wrong or pathetic. This can be as small as coffee, or as large as salsa dancing. Do what you gotta do girl, and send me an invite.

I hope these suggestions help you process what you’re going through right now, and please don’t hesitate to ask me for help. I want to help you by praying for you, getting to know you, and shining Jesus’ light on you. Feel better!

 

“The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”

Psalm 34:18

** This post is dedicated to my best friend. May God bring comfort to you now and always**

 

Why We Suffer

You fell asleep last night after another long day of getting nothing accomplished. You woke up this morning feeling the same way you did last night; not wanting to get out of bed, much less make an appearance in public. You’re sitting at your desk at work minding your own business when suddenly you feel sick. Your stomach is in knots, you feel as though you might vomit. You’re so sick of feeling this way for no apparent reason. You feel great and happy for about 3 hours, but the next 3 are the most miserable you have felt for that day. Do any of these circumstances apply to your daily life? Where is God in this? Why is He allowing this to happen to you and why won’t he do anything about it?

I was openly telling someone about the panic attacks I have at work the other day, when a coworker said, “man, that really sucks.” It occurred to me in that moment that there are people who do not struggle with mental health at all. I couldn’t believe that the thought shocked me. Unfortunately, not everyone around us is going to understand what goes on in our heads, but fortunately, there are enough people that DO struggle with mental illness to prove that it exists, and that we’re not crazy.

Reason #1 why God has allowed this to happen to you: because it happens to other people too. That seems a little silly at first, I know, and kind of unfair, but let’s look at 2 Corinthians 1:3-7.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.” (ESV)

In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul is trying to convey that without suffering, we would not be able to experience God’s comfort. Experiencing God’s comfort helps us show others what God has done in our lives so that they too may believe and ultimately have comfort; resting in the promise of eternal life.

If you’re reading this right now and you are in the darkest spot it feels like you’ve ever been stuck in, these words may just rub you the wrong way. You may feel like you haven’t experienced a single ounce of comfort from God or anyone in your life during this time. I was there, unable to get out of bed and eventually life got better, and I must admit I didn’t fully understand how, but If this is the place you’re in today, all you need to do is take a baby step. Write down the word comfort somewhere to remind you that eventually you can allow yourself to feel comfort. Write the entire passage down in a journal. Get out of bed for just 5 minutes to make a cup of coffee or tea and stare out the window. You can do small things. I believe in you.

Reason #2 God is allowing a mental illness in your life could be to fulfill His ultimate plan for your life. This one is hard to accept at first. It may take years to figure this one out, but remember how I was just talking about baby steps? The same process applies here. I never imagined I’d feel called to write, minister, and speak to girls my age about mental health until one day I woke up from a dream where GADGirls was plastered across my mind and I was aware of the lack of recognition of mental health in the Christian community. Your story is unique, and will be different, but until you get your calling, your passion, and your realization, pray for it eagerly. You don’t have to just sit around while you pray either. Learn to be self-aware. What do you really like and what do you hate? Analyze your personality and your gifts. Write your dreams and goals down. If you can’t bring yourself to write things down quite yet, hold onto your promise of comfort. You’ll get there. I strongly recommend the book You’re Already Amazing by Holley Gerth if you need help analyzing yourself (it sounds funny, I know).

Reason #3 God is allowing a mental illness in your life is because, sister, you need a wakeup call. This pill may be a bit hard to swallow. Your mental illness is not a punishment, but it may bring you so low, that you have no choice but to run to your Father. You cannot find comfort anywhere else. Sorry, let me rephrase. You cannot find true comfort anywhere else. There are things that numb the pain, like alcohol, parties, drugs, porn, tobacco, but if you find that any of those things brings you comfort I’m gonna need you to send me some of what you’re doing (IM KIDDING), but seriously young lady, it’s time to walk towards your only true source of hope and healing, and that is God, who is in constant pursuit of your heart, soul, mind, and strength.

So why does God continue to allow the mental illness in your life? Because he loves you. Because he wants you to love others like He loves you. Because He wants you to want Him back. Because in this world there will be suffering and we were never meant to go it alone.

I hope you find you.

Forgive me, for this post was written amongst tremendous mental spiritual warfare. I feel as though I cannot get one complete thought down without a wave of doubt and inadequacy filling my soul. I have wanted to write for a while now, but have been so overcome with sadness and frustration in almost every aspect of my life that I would blame my inability to sit down and actually do something on not having enough time. The fact that I’m even writing something right now probably makes the devil pretty scared, so here goes nothing.

Who am I? This is the question that has been nagging me for about 2 weeks. Life circumstances have given me, oh so generously, the opportunity to take a step back and analyze myself. I don’t know if I’m the only one, but when I think about analyzing myself, I want to mentally run the other way and analyze the next episode of The Fosters on Netflix, which is what I’ve been doing for the past 2 weeks. I don’t want to face myself. I don’t want to figure out something else about myself that needs a little tending to. I thought surely by now, after those fundamental years of high school, and life-discerning years of college, I would have a perfectly orchestrated answer to this question.

So why can’t I give you my perfectly orchestrated response? I am not afraid to admit this anymore, because I know I’m not the only one, but I have never known a life without a safe place, a crutch, or anything that is tangible to me that I can always come back to to find stability in a scary world. For me, that has always been a boy. For you, it could be a job, alcohol, drugs, money, you name it. You know what it is. I have spent my life from the time I was old enough to see everyone was in a relationship except me until the present searching for “The One.” It’s okay, I’m rolling my eyes at myself too.

My answer to who I am has always been the name of the boy I’m dating at the time. No, not literally, but in my heart I’ve known it all along. I’ve denied its danger for a while. I’ve carried this self-proclaimed label of “the girl who’s always in a relationship” around like a weight that I don’t want to drop for years and have consciously decided that I might as well live up to the name.

So where do I go from here? If you’re in my shoes, where do you go from here? I would not be fulfilling the mission of this blog if I didn’t at least try to walk through this with you. I do not have all of the answers, but I want to encourage anyone that feels the same way I do in a world that has an answer for everything.

That weight that you’re carrying around that you’re afraid to drop because you’ve carried it for so long…you need to drop it. It is going to hurt; maybe like nothing else has hurt you before. It’s a new kind of pain; the sting of shame and guilt. You’re going to feel weird for a while, maybe even numb. Because you’ve been carrying the weight for so long, it’s only expected that you’d be sore after working so hard to hold onto it. Let it go. You’re strong enough now.

Speaking of strong, start looking for your actual strengths. What are you good at? What personality traits have you developed over time that haven’t left your blooming persona in an age of emerging adulthood? (Side note: Adulting requires change so your personality traits will change over time, and that’s ok. I’m asking you to dig deep and find the patterns in your behavior that have caused you to act a certain way for a long period of time, good or bad.) Start brainstorming how you can use your wonderfully made personality and your God-given strengths to establish a purpose, mission, or passion. Now ask God how to fulfill it. That’s who you are. That’s what you’re here for.

So without a relationship, who am I? Who are you? Here’s what I’ve established so far. I am the author of this blog, which I started about a year ago because I learned that I’m passionate about something. I am just one girl, uniquely created by God, called to help and encourage one other girl who will help one other girl, who will help another, because my strengths are empathy, encouragement, and sensitivity. I am totally dependent on God for the rest of my life, not some gorgeous red-headed boy that will never be able to fulfill the desires of my heart, no matter how patient, empathetic, and caring he is, bless his heart. I am loved, cherished, fought for, unique, and worth it, and this last statement is something that you are too. Reader, friend, and sister, I hope you find you.

 

 “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”

1 Peter 2:9

 

What You Deserve

If you’re grieving right now, a common question that goes through your mind is probably “what did I do to deserve this?” You’re not alone. I’ve selfishly asked myself that question many times. In this post, I’ll be relating my points specifically to romantic relationships. For me, break-ups always feel like the end of the world. You may be going through a break-up right now, at the end of hope, and deeply discouraged. If you’re like me, you’re on a constant quest to find someone who loves just like I do, so here, I hope to tell you what you actually deserve and give you hope going forward, knowing what you deserve.

Disclaimer: I’m a sinner and I fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) and I know I don’t deserve anything, and if you’re a believer, you should feel this way too, but I am so deeply burdened for young women who don’t know their worth and value in romantic relationships (because I’ve been that girl), so this title and post is meant to bring awareness to those who are simply settling.

You deserve to be pursued.

I’m not going to lie to you. Every time I hear and type the word “pursue” I want to condemn my Southern Baptist upbringing and Christian high school and college education. But it’s true! You shouldn’t have to bring yourself to do all of the work in a relationship. There’s a hard truth here, and it’s this: if he’s not pursuing you, he’s wasting your time. A man that truly pursues you, whether he realizes it or not, will take the time to get to know you, ask you questions (maybe even hard ones), text you back first, every morning, and every night (I know, this one is hard to believe), meet your friends and even hang out with them. A man pursuing you will want to do all of these things, and you deserve it.

You deserve to feel special. 

Everyone feels special in different ways. A good way to figure out what makes you feel special is by determining what your primary love languages are. If you haven’t taken the test or read the book (The 5 Love Languages), I can link the test below (this is in no way sponsored, I just think it’s really important to know and understand). My love language is receiving gifts. It makes me feel really special when my guy brings me something small (a coffee, a note, etc.,) because I know he thought about me at some point that day, and I know I’m loved, and I know I’m special. Figure out what your love language is and don’t settle for a man that isn’t willing to understand it.

You deserve to laugh. 

Gosh, laughing? Isn’t this a blog about depression and grief? Girl, can you even believe right now, that you deserve to laugh? I’m asking you to dream big right now and search deep within yourself and remember what it’s like to laugh. Those brief moments of happiness are what you deserve. Your sense of humor and his should align. Sometimes it doesn’t have anything to do with sense of humor. Sometimes he does things and they make you happy so you giggle. You deserve to giggle at those things.

You deserve to be told that you’re beautiful.

Going back to the love languages for a minute; if yours is words of affirmation, you need to make dang sure that your man is telling you that you’re beautiful, gorgeous, pretty, etc. every chance that he gets. If your love language is not words of affirmation, you’ll find that being told you’re pretty never gets old. You shouldn’t have to ask a guy to tell you you’re pretty or try to prove it to him. Be pursued.

You deserve to be prayed for. 

I could be way off base with this, but I can’t be the only woman in the world that thinks a man praying, especially your man, is extremely sexy. Please, go ahead, pray for the food, pray for the day, but most importantly pray for me. A man that prays for you definitely cares about you, and you deserve that.

You deserve to know where the relationship is going.

Another hard truth is gonna come from this one, girlfriend. If you’re not dating with the intention of marriage, what are you doing? I promise you, dating without the intention of marriage is another waste of your time. If you or him are not thinking about marriage, you are both setting yourselves up for self-inflicted hurt that could have been avoided all together.

You deserve support.

Some things in life require very hard decision-making processes, for example, choosing which college to attend, starting a business, finding your dream job, starting a blog, etc. The man that’s pursuing you knows your dreams and aspirations, therefore, he should support you in and through these decisions. I’m talking specifically about dating relationships. Marriage is (or should be) a joint decision. The great thing about being “single” is you still deserve to pursue your own dreams. Having a boyfriend should just be like having a support system and encourager.

You deserve forgiveness.

This one is hard. I’m not even sure how to write about it accurately but I’m going to try because it’s important. Forgiveness does not always mean staying together (again, in a dating relationship). I personally believe that being disloyal and cheating is a grounds for breaking off a relationship. But because we are loved by a forgiving God, we should also forgive and be forgiven. Forgiveness is part of maturity, and sometimes when you need forgiveness, an immature side of someone will bring itself to the surface and you’ll realize it’s not what you deserved anyway.

You deserve to be trusted. 

If he doesn’t trust you, there’s some issues he needs to work through first. Trust is vital in any relationship to avoid that self-inflicted hurt we talked about earlier. Trust me. 😉

You deserve to be valued.

This one is really hard to explain too because, if I’m being honest, I’m still learning what this means. Being valued ties into many of the things I’ve already told you that you deserve, but it also goes way beyond any earthly emotion or feeling. Being valued comes from knowing your own worth and not settling for less. Being valued comes from loving yourself and pursuing your relationship with God. Being valued comes from displaying a radiance in your life that the world can see, and once a man sees these things, he won’t be able to not value you because you value yourself.

“But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows”

Matthew 10:30-31

The Diagnosis.

Since the last time you read anything from this blog, I was just a girl with a generalized anxiety disorder and a little bit of understandable depression…or so I thought.

My mental health diagnoses have come one by one and slowly but surely. I have now been on 3 medications, which is very little compared to some. I have been blessed enough to have a circle of friends and family that have encouraged me along the way, even to seek help. I had no idea that I’d be one day diagnosed with such a mean disorder: bipolar disorder.

To my family, and others close to me, I hope you don’t see me any differently, and I hope you don’t see a huge bipolar disorder sign above my head every time you run into me. I’m afraid of the stigma, and afraid of being associated with it.

I want to calm your hearts. I’m still a functioning human being, but sometimes I’m over-functioning. I don’t have a major bipolar disorder diagnosis, and my case is somewhat minor. I do have “episodes” from time to time, where I will get angry and extremely upset, but part of me wants to believe that you do too. I am, however, NOT my bipolar disorder. I am Jennifer; daughter of the King, who loves me, and in Whom I identify.

This is all very new to me, and it’s hard for me to write much more than that without a few tears, but I hope my story is not uncommon, and I hope at lease one can testify to feeling the same way.

I truly believe this blog was God-inspired and I do not intend to quit now.

God bless all of you,

and thank you for understanding my sporadic posting during this time.

A New Series

Hello again everyone!

Last year I was on a mental health high; meaning that my mental health seemed to be in good shape and I was able to encourage others that were struggling better. Right now, I wish I could say the same. 

Let me start from the beginning. During the summer I was put on a new medication. The medication I was on before (Lexapro 20mg) seemed to feel ineffective. The doctor bumped me up to 50 mg of Pristiq and I was off to start my senior year of college. The lexapro was working just fine for me for about 3 years, but unfortunately 20mg is the highest dose you can take of the lexapro.

I had really no anxiety when I was put on a new medication because I do trust my doctor. I learned a new lesson in this hard period of my life that no anti-depressant is equal. I became more depressed and even had thoughts of not wanting to be on this earth anymore. Now, for those of my family and close friends reading, I don’t want you to worry. I took the necessary steps when I was feeling this way, and had no intention of acting on my suicidal thoughts, because that’s what they were. There’s no reason to sugarcoat it. 

Due to the suicidal thoughts and explosive bursts of depression I called my doctor and began weening off of the demon. I do not say that lightly. The medication put me through hell, and now I’m in the process of coming back. 

So here starts the journey of finding the right medication OR deciding if this is it. Is this the time I say no to depression drugs and start learning how to cope with the brain imbalance that results from trauma and grief that I have suffered with for a long time? 

I’ve been feeling lead to start blogging again because this battle with depression drugs and dealing with life is something many people who have been diagnosed with depresssion and/or anxiety will be familiar with. My journey will be different from yours but I hope through this journey, the end goal for all of us will be hope. We have something to live for, no matter how we’re feeling. I hope that at the end of this new series I am able to say “This worked for me, and now I know what to do.” I hope that through this series, yours and my relationship with God becomes 10x stronger because we were able to say “God, I’m trusting you with this” together. I hope this is something that is well received and something that benefits you through your personal journey with anxiety, depression, and/or grief.

I want to do a sort of disclaimer by saying: 

1. I reacted poorly to Pristiq. That does not mean you will too. I have heard terrible things about Zoloft, but I have also heard of it working fantastically for others. The same goes for this medication.

2. I gave you the medication names as a source for education on depression medication. I did not mention them to scare anyone out of taking these drugs, but I do want to encourage you to not take the side effects lightly.

3. I am not against taking medication for depression or anxiety at ALL. I may at the end of this journey say “this is enough and I’m trusting God to balance my brain for the rest of my life.” I expect everyone to be okay with that decision because I have been on medication for 3 years. The long-term effects of anti-depressants can be worse than the present effects. I do know there are those who are genetically diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety forever, and on a case-by-case basis, I will not say that being on medication forever is a bad thing.

All of these things being said I hope you will join me on my journey to find hope and participate as well. I want us all to share our journey to hope by hashtaging #journeytohopeseries. Comment with your stories of finding the right medication and weening off of them as well. I need the encouragement as much as you do! And because I got in the habit of ending each post with a relevant Bible verse, and I believe in a God bigger than mental and chemical imbalance, here’s one to heal your soul.         

Isaiah 53: 4-5 “Surely He took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.”