By: Katie Dale

I laid alert and sweating, grasping for some semblance of reason and peace when those raspy voices chanted in my head all at one time, repeating my Savior’s name. The night I switched psychotropic medications, ending one, upping another, culminated in a restless battle for my sanity.  The resulting effects debilitated my mind in a full-on anxiety attack and break from reality. It appeared as though the doctor recommended a quick switch from one medicine to another.

-Probably one of the darkest nights of my soul.

When it does its job, medication is a miraculous thing.

And “when” is such an unpredictable factor.

So trial and error leads the way these days. Advanced as our first-world society is today, our technology and pharmacology has not yet broken through to the next level of brain science. As having been diagnosed bipolar disorder for the last 15 years, my medication has been a journey to find stability. I can pretty much guarantee you that compared to my bipolar disorder, the medication has been a Godsend.

Which is why it saddens, frustrates and angers me when people are misled to believe that medication is bad.

As with any journey of discovery and revelation, risk is a given. What do I say to those who think medication is a waste of money, who think pharmaceuticals are all out to get you hooked on pills? Don’t let the loudest voices do all the talking.

To them I say, look at my ability to live life. Before I even had medicine, I was sick. My brain misfired and my reality was skewed. On my medicine, I’m doing better than I’ve ever been.

So don’t believe the ones that ignorantly claim that medication is of the devil, or that it’s a worldly answer to spiritual warfare, or that pharmaceuticals are out just for your money.

Please, don’t make the same mistake I did and go off the medication, if you have a mood disorder.

This is the worst advice anyone could get on mental illness.

Listen to your doctor, listen to your body and mind.

And listen to your gut.

If you have been diagnosed with a mood disorder, take care of yourself.

Take your medicine.

If it doesn’t work or it has additional negative side effects, consult with your doctor. There are generations of medicines now that are offered, more variety is here than ever before. There are side effects that come with a lot of medicines, but you don’t know how you will respond to the medicine until you try it. Every person’s brain chemistry is different. Everyone’s. No two people will respond the same exact way to the same medicine. Dosage type and amount, generic and formulary, there are so many ways each of our brains react to the drugs. 

Additionally, it is common to initially think that one just has to “pray away” their mental illness. Don’t get me wrong, there is power in prayer. However, medication can be an answer to prayer. It has been for me. It has been for many. You can credit prayer when you’re trying to get through a depression without medication and God delivers you. If He works that way in your life, do that. But don’t discount the possible benefits, and in severe mental illness, the recommended treatment of medications, that are purposefully used to give us relief and proper balance of brain activity. 

That’s the best advice I can give about mental illness.

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One thought on “The Worst Advice You Could Ever Get About Mental Illness By: Katie Dale

  1. I appreciate seeing the church/church organizations trying to be involved in a positive way with mental health…there is a huge need for this. I am a bit uneasy with how this organization seems to push medication so much. Maybe some people are helped by psych meds but I have heard of so many, myself included, who have suffered from the use of psych meds (and stopping them nearly killed me-not a relapse of mental illness but from withdrawal). I tried many and they prevented me from getting better and it was not until after stopping the meds that I was able to think more clearly and begin improving. I was told that due to the chemical imbalance in my brain I needed psych meds. Unfortunately I blindly trusted psychiatrists, but since that time have done my own investigation and found from multiple sources that there is no proof that “mental illness” is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. This is the “education” provided by drug companies to further the sales of the psych meds which in turn increases their profits. I encourage people to see what non-biased organizations say about psych meds. I find it interesting that this post starts off by telling about the problems that psych meds caused for this person, then she goes on to say how good the meds are for her. This seems quite illogical to me. It is not my intent to argue but to share the truth and encourage people to investigate these things for themselves. Unfortunately even the education many psychiatrists receive is heavily influenced by drug companies. Psych meds may be helpful for some people, although it often comes at a cost (side effects and even long term damage to a person’s body, awful withdrawal) but I don’t think it is honest to say they are always helpful for everyone and there are no dangers involved. I know fighting for mental health is a huge battle on many different levels.

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