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.

Fresh Hope is a faith-based non-profit that empowers people to live well in spite of their mental health challenge.

YOUR gift will provide a person with God’s Fresh HOPE for daily living. Click here to donate, today.

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