"Anxiety is not a part of God's plan for you."
"You just need to trust that God will heal you."
"Anxiety is a sin."
"You're not where you should be spiritually, that is why you feel this way."
These are a few things that have been said to me in my short life time. The phrases in and of themselves may seem quiet harmless and helpful, but trust me when I say typing these out honestly makes my skin crawl. We've come a long way, but the world (and Christian's especially) still have a long way to go when it comes to mental health and medication. During the deepest valleys of my mental health journey, I had many people in my Christian community try to help me out. As good as their intentions might have been, the end result for me was shame. I thought I was doing something wrong, and therefore I was not a good Christian.
When I found out I was going to need to start taking medication to manage my anxiety I felt even worse. I kept this a secret from my closest friends. Whenever my doctor called, I would leave the room, my heart racing. I didn't want anyone to know i had to take medicine. Medicine was for crazy people. Medicine was for people who weren't strong enough...medicine was for people who didn't have faith.
Thankfully after I started my medication, God provided opportunities for me to share what was happening with some of the close people in my life. They assured me that I wasn't less of a person, but I was a person who was going to get better. Many years ago I was told a parable type story of a couple who was in the middle of a hurricane: God said he would save them, and life boats came by as well as helicopters but the couple never took advantage of them because God said He was going to save them. Later when the couple arrives in heaven The Lord tells them that sending the life boats and helicopters was Him trying to save them. Maybe some will disagree but I think rejecting medicine because they believe God will heal them is just as foolish as rejecting a life boat in the middle of a storm. God created science and every human being that has become a doctor. So why wouldn't t be within The Lords will for many of us to take medicine in order to feel better?
Every night before I go to sleep I take a number of pills. That, along with many self care practices makes me feel better. I know what it is like to be off my medication and it is a very dark place. I know The Lord doesn't want that dark place to be my everyday reality so He gave me a life boat and I took it. I thank God every day for my medicine. I am thankful that He cares enough for me to heal me and allow me to live my life to the fullest.
Maybe one day I won't need my medicine anymore. Maybe I will be taking medicine until the day I die. Either one is fine with me. The point of this post is not to say that medicine is the only answer to mental health issues, the point is to say that God helps us in a variety of ways. We each walk a different path, why would we waist any energy criticizing someone else? Some people need medicine, some do not. So to those of you who are currently taking medicine for a mental health reason, I applaud you. You have taken a brave step of self care (self care is sometimes involves thing we don't want to do) and you let God have his way in how he wants to heal you.