First and foremost I think God has been a tremendous help in my struggles. I’m still not where I want to be with it all in terms of dealing with them, but I’m a lot further along in progress now than I was just five years ago.
God really has given me strength during some very tough times in recent years, and in those times without God, I believe the anxiety and depression could have escalated well above what it did. Also, God has helped lead me to the proper avenues for research and education when it comes to learning more about what I have always been struggling with, and how to better deal with these struggles.
In the past I have been on quite a few different anti-depressants. I do not believe in going that route anymore, though. I want to make clear that there is nothing to be ashamed of if that is the direction someone would choose to go; I’m not a doctor and I would never try to tell someone else how they should care for themselves, because that is between God, an individual, and their physician. But I don’t agree with the theory that anxiety, depression, OCD, or any other mental disorder is the pure result of a chemical imbalance that requires medication.
I have been learning over the past 10+ years about diet and nutrition, lifestyle choices, internal issues, herbal supplements, vitamins and mineral deficiencies, amino and fatty acid deficiencies, etc. There is no doubt that there is a psychological factor as well; my childhood and things I witnessed and went through play a huge role in my struggles.
My recommended steps would be to see a physician if you haven‘t done so, to rule out anything else causing your issues. Pray to God about all of it and offer it up to Christ and allow the Holy Spirit to flow through you and guide you. Follow your heart and by all means take care of yourself.
You and God understand what you might be going through better than anyone, so while advice from family and friends is often helpful, they may not completely understand because they are not in your shoes. Work with God, and your doctor if you choose to, and do what is best for you.
I personally feel it’s better to educate than medicate. A pill might only drug the problem, and while that may be effective for some, it might not get to the root of what has truly caused the problem(s) in the first place. Let me say again, though, if you are currently on an anti-anxiety or anti-depressant, and it’s working for you, that is great news and you should be happy about that.
Every Catholic understands just how much Jesus Christ suffered for all of our sins, and what he experienced is far worse than anything I will ever experience in my lifetime. He carried the sins of every single one of us; can you imagine having to do such a thing? And then to be crucified to save everyone? He truly is Lord, and I love him so much. I think that in itself helps me a lot: my issues with anxiety and depression are in many ways my Cross to carry here on earth.
I pray that what I go through will continue to help shape me in to who God wants me to be, and that it is also helping to save souls along the way. Because of my faith, I honestly believe the day is coming where I will not be dealing with these issues anymore. That’s right, I know that’s a bold statement, but I stand behind it.
I refuse to believe that this is something I must struggle with the rest of my life. I realize the good God has brought out of it all, and I also realize that he sees victory for me, and that I will be able to help many others after the victory in ways that I never dreamed of. When it comes to the everyday struggles that we all deal with, faith really does help. With faith, I believe that not only are we going to deal with the tough times in life in a better way, but we are going to see just how many people out there have it worse than we do, and we will feel the desire to help others more often.
I’m not saying that times aren’t tough even for those of us with a strong faith in God. We can often be tested and experience things that a person without faith seems to never have to go through. God shows us the way through it all, even if we have to jump over a lot of hurdles and spend a lot of time battling our issues. Eventually, we see the light at the end of the tunnel. I do not believe that I could succeed at this any longer without God, I could exist and get by, but I grew tired of just running in place. It was time to move forward, and I still have a long way to go, but God will get me there, and he will do the same for you.
Next week, Jerry will talk books. If you’d like to hear more about Jerry’s journey, you can listen to the interview he did a while back on Catholic Moments. Thanks, Jerry, for sharing your journey with us!