Two things nobody wants. Two things so many of us have. I don't want to be defined by these things, but I feel trapped. One of my main outlets, sort of a therapy for me, is being open and honest. I am coming out the darkness from an anxiety attack a few days ago, and feel great today, so I wanted to take a few moments and share. I am sharing to help me, but also sharing to help others understand. Maybe some might even relate.
Wife. Mom. Business Owner. Child of God saved by His Grace. Free Spirit. Coffee Lover. Meme Sharer. Professional Napper.
These are the titles I prefer. The thing is though, when you step into certain roles, nobody wants to talk about the darker side any longer. We want to pretend it isn't there. I am here to tell you that Christians aren't perfect. Christians aren't excluded from having struggles. Every person, every Christian, has a struggle. Some are better at hiding it, some are better at getting help, some are better at fighting it. I'm not.
To keep this relatively short, my major breakthrough was at the end of last year. I knew I needed change. I begged God to fix my brain. Make me normal. Take away anything holding me back from drawing closer to Him. People say if you pray for patience, you don't just wake up patient. You are given many challenges to put you in the direct path of learning patience. I sure as heck have never prayed to be more patient because I don't want to add to my struggles. What I didn't realize about wanting change, I would get it, and get it drastically, in just about every area of my life.
Health - Or Lack Thereof.
Over the past few years I have been changing my skin care products, hair products, cleaning products in our home, all to a more natural/safer alternative. With my newfound change, I realized that I also needed to change my eating, what I put into my body, medicines, everything. Challenge accepted. I didn't realize how unhealthy I was. I started listening to e-books while working. Learning how health impacts every aspect of your life. What you listen to, who you listen to, what you watch, what you eat and drink, how much you sleep, how much you work, how you think, everything. I mean, it all makes sense typing it out, but it just clicked for me. I changed just about all of this. I felt great. I decided it would be a great time to wean off of my medicine that I had been put on ages ago back when I was diagnosed with possible Lyme's Disease. Zoloft. This helped give me energy, make me a bit happier, keep on with the life of 4 kids, a wife, self-employed, you know, everything that a lot of people have and somehow manage so seamlessly, but I couldn't. I didn't know that this medicine, over the years, was taking hold of my brain. I didn't realize that weaning off of it would cause so many problems.
If you haven't weaned off of a medicine like Zoloft, this might be a bit strange. If you have, I feel for you. Over a month or two, every single day, sometimes 75-100 times a day, electric feelings would zap through my head. Every time I turned my head. It was like a 9 volt battery being licked inside my brain but magnified. As you can imagine, it's taxing on a person. Finally it slowed down in my head and then started to happen in my fingers and mouth. These are the things you just don't learn about before being put on a mind altering medicine. It sucked. Thankfully it ended. But then new problems started.
What I didn't realize would happen next is that my mind wasn't the same as it was before Zoloft. I was a different person in my head. I wanted to crawl out. I couldn't. I was trapped. I pushed so many people away during this time. I hate exposing a certain side of myself. I don't mind being open, I love that, but I don't like anyone past a certain brick wall I have. During this time of getting off of my medicine it took all that I had to survive some days. My kids were great. My husband was supportive. They knew that this change was happening and I had to get through it. I waited, struggled, and it only got worse.
During this time, so many outside issues were happening and, as you can probably guess, they weren't easy to deal with when going through survival mode. The world didn't stop for me to heal. It didn't stop and wait for my mind to get better. Life actually got even harder and harder and harder. Thankfully a few friends reached out. Ones that didn't just let me drown. Ones that helped research what could be done. One in particular told me about a different medicine with a longer half life and is easier to wean off of. I didn't want to be on medicine again, but I knew I had to heal. Apparently you can't just fight through these changes in your brain. An amazing pharmacist explained to me about neurotransmitters in the brain. After learning more about how the chemistry of my brain was changed and how it had to heal, I was on board with trying something new. Thankfully my doctor was able to decipher all of my words through my tears and got me on the new medicine that I needed.
It has taken a few weeks and I am finally starting to feel a bit better, but there are still rough days. Very rough days. Thankfully I have a very supportive husband, supportive kids, and some supportive friends.
Rapid change hurts. Growth hurts. Exposing yourself hurts. Getting help hurts. How many people deal with these struggles and just don't talk about them? Why are they so taboo? During this transition time, many things have been revealed to me in areas of change for my family. Change for the better. Change out of our comfort zone. Change with more opportunities. If you don't hurt, you aren't changing. If you aren't changing, you aren't growing. I never want to be stagnant again. I just prefer my growth to be a bit slower and with less medicinal side effects.
So how do you deal with someone going through something like this? First, don't look down on us. Just because we don't hide our crazy well doesn't mean we are anything less than. We all have struggles. We are still people. We just have different strengths and different weaknesses. Give grace. Especially if you're a like-minded believer that speaks about grace, act on that. Don't give up.
What is normal?
Normal changes. Normal is where you are at right now. Embrace your story. This is my new normal. Coming to terms with the fact that I may or may not ever get off of medicine. Speaking out and talking about it to hopefully help others learn more about those of us with these struggles.