Why Would I Talk about My Depression?

Because God uses story to binds us, His most priced creation.

God uses story to Bind Us, His most priced creation

I remember fretting over whether or not to publish my story, the beginning of my journey living with depression. I worried I was slipping further and further away and all I need to do was get closer to Jesus. The Christian world doesn't talk about "mental health." Even the few people in my past that I knew dealt with or had dealt with anything of the sort acted as though satan had taken a hold in their lives and then Jesus delivered them from it, leaving me feeling, once again, like a faithless Christ-follower. An imposter. The others dealing with this just didn't talk about it. Some didn't deal with it. If there was family history, you just brushed it behind that giant neon green elephant in the room and acted like it wasn't apart of who they were, where they'd been, or even what they were living in at the moment.

Depression is:
a mental condition characterized by feelings of severe despondency and dejection, typically also with feelings of inadequacy and guilt, often accompanied by lack of energy and disturbance of appetite and sleep. Synonyms: unhappy, sadness, melancholy, misery, sorrow, woe, gloom, low spirits, heavy heart, despair, hopelessness, etc

The Main Causes of Depression:

There are lots of things that can increase the chance of depression, these are just some of those:

  • Abuse
  • Certain medications
  • Conflict
  • Death or a loss
  • Genetics
  • Major events
  • Other personal problems
  • Serious illnesses
  • Substance abuse

Pretty much, it's all Serotonin's fault. It's one of many brain chemicals, the one associated with "happy feelings". Depression, no matter the cause, is a chemical imbalance in the brain.

God has given me writing as a tool to work through the stuff floating around in my head. I often read something, hear about hot topics and am not quite sure what my option is on it. Maybe that's a middle-child thing. Anyways. Not only does writing help me walk myself through how I think about things it helps me identify how I feel. It gets all that emotion out of me. Sometimes its super silly and others it's totally nasty. Some I publish and some are still "drafts".

Depression is one of those "draft" topics God has ask me to open up with others rather than just He and I {and my computer}. I wasn't sure why at first but after the anxiety of pressing the publish key, I felt relief. Like this was one less thing satan was holding over me. One less 'secret' he could use against me. One less thing I feared if it came out. It was out. It didn't matter how anyone responded to it. I was free. That's all I needed, to shake those chains off.

Talking about my depression hasn't *fixed* it. I so wish it had. Sadly {budump bump}, I still take a medication to help levelize the chemicals in my brain. It helps me feel less...crazy. Psycho mom. Yeah, I said "less". Again, I wish this was a healing story as some may have come looking for but this is something I'm still walking through. The term bipolar comes to mind at least once a month as I experience good days and then very quickly bad days. {Thanks Aunt Flow. Rrrrr}

I guess, I'm writing this as a follow up of sorts. God has confirmed over and over again that my tiny little blog and a simple post series about my experience are a blip in the conversation that so desperately needs to be blown wide open in the Christian community.

From long-distance, life-long, and in-my-own-back-yard friends, there is someone I know who is secretly going through this alone. Satan is winning if we hide, ashamed, in the dark. He wins if we can't confess our habitual brokenness. He wins if we hide it, protect ourselves against the murmurs that 'might' happen. We are unable to fully grasp the gospel in our personal, well-worn lives. We are denying that we need Christ's blood to ooze into this crevices in our world, as if He didn't already know about it.

From former students, my own peers, or strangers, confessions of living my story have tumbled in! Do you know what that did? Shamed us? Killed us with that gut wrenching pain? NO! It bonded us. I'm not even just talking about believers being bonded over suffering from the same downfalls. I'm talking Across. The. Board. God wants to unite. Glue together. Tether. Fasten. Attach. Knot. Eternally Secure His most prized creatures to one another and Himself.

#realness is my anthem!
This verse my song.
Boast *happily* in weakness!

2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

Share Button

Post to Twitter

The Pickup…

I drove to Wal-Mart.

I took my walk of shame right up to that pharmacy counter. I stood tall and announced my name, “Julie Rothacher. R.O. T.H. A. C.H. E.R. {cause with a name like “roth-ache-r” that’s what you automatically do}. Eight. 20. Eighty four.” “Your prescription will be ready in about 10 minutes.” “Thanks” but not really. I don’t want this medicine but you don’t know that so I won’t be a jerk to you.

Take Your Tablets
{photo credit}

I wandered around looking at unnecessary plastic objects and very necessary bright colored decorations that need to be in my home before returning to the counter for my “consultation” on my medicine. The pharmacist gently looked at me and began, “Have you ever taken this medicine before?” I shook my head “No.” Trying to add a lil pep to the consultation, in a peppier voice he said, “Well, this medication is used for depression or sleeping disorders.” I flashed a meek smile. I think he thought I would confess to him which I was taking it for. He continued with a list of possible side effects as I put on a brave face hoping he and those around me would think I just had trouble sleeping.

Returning home as a bonafide pill popper I dreaded answering questions from family and friends. My husband was so supportive. With a simple, “Maybe this will help. I know you don’t want to take medicine for the rest of my life. Hopefully it will only be a short season.” conversation he promised to never ask if I’d taken my “happy pills” if I was having a rough day.

Over the next 6 months, I slowly confessed to a few of my family and friends in passing that I was taking anti-depressants. No one seemed to treat me any difeent. There has yet to be a movie made of my "episodes". Everyone’s response has been positive with fellow “pill-poppers” telling me stories of when they had to take similar stuff or are currently being “leveled out.” It may not be right but it was comforting to know other people were struggling with depression, mood swings, and imbalances.

Most days now I don’t think much of the pill added to my nightly routine. Other days I regret watching movies like The Ya Ya Sisterhood. My fears flood back like a typhoon taking over my entire being. These kinds of movies have always bred my phobia of being "crazy." While watching Sybille years ago, I was wide eyed, concerned I would be “crazy” like that. Having undisclosed family history of "mental disorders" added to the stigma of "pill poppers" being sinful or something. Mental illness is often hereditary just like "bad knees" or a heart murmur. By my family not talking about those with "issues" made me feel even more ashamed to take an antidepressant home. Some still treat mental issues different than physical one; with less understanding, sympathy; out of ignorance. I've never wanted to be the “yelling mom”. That’s why I’ve chosen to go this route. Stigmas and all.


Sorry if there wasn't much conclusion to this. I like stories with a pretty bow at the end. But I'm pretty sure this story is a work in progress and always

To Be Continued...

Three Part Series {on depression}

  1. That Day... {Monday}
  2. That Night... {Tuesday}
  3. The Pickup... {Wednesday}


Share Button

Post to Twitter

That Night…

Revealing as little as possible, I called my hubs to tell him that my appointment that day went fine and I was heading home. It was a Wednesday, so he was getting the kids ready and heading to Relentless {youth group} and Awanas. When I got home I had just missed them leaving for our normal routine of grabbing drive-thru dinner and eating it in the van parked in the parking lot of the church. I wandered inside trying to seem nonchalant. I went to the bathroom and sluggishly headed to my computer. As I sat on the couch, acting like I was checking my email {for the benefit of who, I don’t know}, I finally went to Google. I typed in the words scribbled on that prescription pad of doom. “Celexa”

Just as I dreaded! Tears welled up in my eyes just reading the listing that topped the page. Without even clicking into the article my fears were a reality.

I began to sob. My biggest fear right there on the screen. “I am crazy.”

Before you go all psycho on me in the comment section {pun intended}, like I said before. I was a psychology major. I went through the classes. I know all the right things to tell someone else and would whole-heatedly believe it. “Mental health issues are no different than physical ones.” “Depression is often a chemical imbalance not a result of not trusting Christ with situations.” “It’s okay to handle depression with medicine; it’s not just a ‘selfish disorder’ you need to ‘work through.’” Oh yeah, I wouldn’t blink an eye before comforting someone else through this “diagnosis.” But all those fears of being labeled shot back into my mind. The ironic part was, crying at the sight of the word “depression” was probably a good indication I was…Depressed.

I sat, sunk into my couch. Hunched over, computer still in my lap, I trying to gather my thoughts, my fears, myself. My attempt at being self-controlled and level headed through prayer all went out the window. I knew who I was said to be in Christ. I knew I was a child of Christ. Loved. Cherished. Made with a purpose. But Satan had taken a stronghold in this dark place.

I cleaned myself up and set off to help Matt at Relentless for the night. A friend working beside me said, “How are you Julie? You look…tired. You don’t seem to be yourself.” “I’m okay. I guess I am tired.” I hadn’t been myself. I’d been using all my energy to remember what it was like to be me. This night, I was tired. Too tired to try. I just wanted to cry.


To Be Continued...

 Three Part Series {on depression}

    1. That Day... {monday}
    2. That Night... {tuesday}
    3. The Pickup... {wednesday}

Scrapping Simply

Share Button

Post to Twitter

That Day…

This. This is the post that’s been haunting me; Sitting in the “drafts section" of my mind for a long time. I think this may be part of the reason I’ve had trouble exposing “REALness”; hesitant to reveal my biggest weaknesses and struggles. The one that makes me want to do dishes rather than write. I don’t like dusting off my skeletons. I’m not sure I’ve told this entire story to anyone, including my husband which is rare. He’s my best friend. I bore him often with my tales of non-sense. So here goes…

{photo credit}

Almost a year after having my 3rd baby in two and ½ very short years I headed back to the doctor. Yep, that day when you and your OB get to make small talk while she does one of the most uncomfortable and awkward things in every girls life- the “Annual”.

This was the 1st time I’d been to the OB all by myself since months before my wedding. I was one of those girls who didn’t go until she needed birth control and then when I was preggers. During all the years of monthly/weekly visits for prenatal care, my hubs had accompanied me. It was odd to sit in the waiting room all alone; people watching all by myself. Pretending to read magazines but really just looking at pictures as if it were Pinterest. My time came.  They called my name as if I’d won something. Not The Case.

I went to back chit chatting with the nurse. I sat down and answered all the normal questions, taking blood pressure, getting weighed {That’s just horrible, I mean, why do they need that? Are we at a cattle auction? Are they going to get paid more for me for being thicker? Anyways :O)’}, blah blah blah.

In “the room” I wait on that noisy paper after trying to hide my tooshy with that paper thin, open-ended gown, and wait, and wait. My sweet doctor enters the room, wearing that impenetrable coat of colorful makeup, and asks me all the same questions the nurse did. She breaks out those shiny, cold, instruments of torture and does her thing. She finishes with a, “I don’t think it ever gets easier” and asks if I had any other questions for her. I did. Well, less a question, more a, “this is what’s going on.” I guess there could be question to follow that. “How do I fix it?”

I nervously talked to her as I sweated all over that now crinkled paper.

“I’ve been having mood swings I guess” I began. “I feel like crying often. I have been over reacting about simple things and get easily frustrated by my kids. I thought it was my heart stuff but I get this tight feeling in my chest.”

Her response: “Okay” in a not so comforting calm, I’ve-seen-this-before voice. “Do you feel out of control some times? Like you just want to scream?”

Sadly that’s exactly how I felt. I want to scream to try and release some of that tenseness built up in my chest. Then I want to cry because all I want to do is scream. I was slightly disappointed she’d pinned me so quickly.

As soon as I confessed to her description, she broke out her script pad- that evil little pad that awakens all those fears deep in me. She explained that she could “give me something” that would help. It would level things out.

I quickly asked her with slight hope in my voice, “Is it like birth control?” I know what that is and what is does.

“No, this…this works more with the chemicals in your brain…to levels things out.”

I’m sure she could hear the hesitation in my voice as she continued writing her script. “Umm, does birth control do the same thing?”

“Yes, and we could try and go that route if this doesn’t help.”

“Alright” I say knowing full well what she was sentencing me to with that paper. I was a psych major for crying out loud. And I was Not Happy about it At All {pun intended}.


To Be Continued...

Three Part Series {on depression}

    1. That Day... {monday}
    2. That Night... {tuesday}
    3. The Pickup... {wednesday}


Share Button
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Post to Twitter