At the time of writing this I will be going to the doctor in about an hour. I have a follow up appointment to discuss a change that was made to my mental health medications. The medication I started was a good thing for me a few months ago. That was a few months ago though.
There was a theory that my Doctor was working on; that by improving my sleep, my body would have a better chance of regulating itself. He was essentially saying that my insomnia was a major factor in my depression. I had a sleep disorder that was causing my brain to spiral.
In the first couple weeks of taking the medication I didn’t really notice anything. That is common for medications of this kind. Typically mental health medications can take 30 to 60 days before they really set in. I am glad about that too some extent because my moods, thoughts, emotions fluctuate enough on their own, I don’t need them changing every four to six hours as if I were taking an aspirin. This can be frustrating for those first couple weeks though while I wait.
Eventually though they started to make a difference. I was sleeping well. I fell asleep faster and I stayed asleep longer. This changed my depression for the better in a tremendous way. I felt better than I had in years. I felt happy and I had energy. Then things started to change back.
It started with just taking longer to fall asleep. Then I started waking up in the middle of the night. I would take longer and longer to fall back to sleep. As my sleep fluctuated so did my mental health. I was having depressive periods that were getting closer together and for longer periods of time before I would see improvement.
Add to the mix that I live in Northern Minnesota and it is winter time. I know God has me here for now and I am not supposed to leave for at least a little while. (Although if God released me I think I would have smoke coming off my shoes like a Roadrunner cartoon.) I love Minnesota and the people here but this weather…Uff-dah!
So I am sitting indoors the vast majority of my days. I don’t see the sun for long stretches of time. Because of all of this I find myself in a cycle that needs to be broken. I need something different. I need to make a change. It is a good thing that I am heading back to the doctor.
The reason I am telling you all this is simple. Because I have heard it from others; over and over again, so I know I am in no way alone. And the process is so incredibly draining. I just want to feel good! Why is that so much to ask?!?! I get tired of the roller-coaster, I want to get off now.
Sound familiar? For many of you it does. Be it first hand or from the outside looking in, this scenario plays out in homes all across America, all across the globe. So why do we do it? Why do we keep trying to be healthy when so often we can slip right back to where we were? Why do we keep fighting?
For me? I have many reasons. I am married to one of those reasons, another calls me Dad, two more call me son, and the list goes on. I receive emails and messages from many of you encouraging me to keep going. I have seen the faces of those I have impacted as they admit for the first time out loud that they are struggling and the sense of release that brings them.
I don’t keep going for me.
I look outside myself for my purpose. God has shown me that it is not about me, it’s about HIM. When I was shown my purpose I knew that all of the struggling is worth it because His plan is at work in me. So I can move forward. I can go through the pain. I can deal with the hurt, and the frustration, and the anger, and the loneliness, and all the other struggles.
If you are reading this wondering what your purpose is, wondering why you should keep fighting, why you shouldn’t just let the waves drag you out to sea; I ask you to hear this…You have a purpose given to you by God! You are not here by accident! The days of struggle will be worth it! The nights filled with tears will be worth it! You have a gift inside of you that no one else can take and no one else can give!
I understand that this is hard to believe for many of us. I am not asking you to just change your thinking so things will get better. I would never be that patronizing. I won’t ask you to believe me, I am asking you to trust me.
Please, keep fighting!
I know it is hard, keep fighting!
It won’t always be this hard to hold on, keep fighting!
I want you to stay. And I am not just talking about suicide because there are plenty of opportunities to check out without dying. Please keep fighting!
God will carry you, keep fighting!
National Director of Mental Health for Celebrate Recovery