Pastor Brad Hoefs

Pastor | Author | Speaker | Hope Coach | Mental Health Advocate

Bundle of Joy to Postpartum Blues

Bundle of Joy to Postpartum Blues

I left the hospital three days after the birth of my second son. And like any mom, I was overjoyed to have my baby! And he has turned out to be a fun-loving, amusing little bundle of fun. Not so little anymore. This was six years ago. Did I mention I have two of these precious bundles? A sweet, gentle-hearted big brother too.

However, you can probably predict from the drift of this narrative that the joy of childbirth was short-lived.

I “left the hospital.” Only, I didn’t. I came home. But my mind, tarried at the hospital. Pacing up and down the hallway of the postpartum floor. Leaving me with a gloom, that I had left something behind. I could see the halls, an empty hospital crib, I could see the doors to the postpartum rooms. I felt like I was searching for something. I just didn’t know what!

I would have probably shed a sizable number of calories had the mental pacing I took on been literal. Sounds unreal? But, it had become a disturbing reality to my mind. I started to believe that I had wronged my child. A child who was perfectly whole. I began to mourn over my baby as though I had lost him. I was convinced that his premature birth was due to the lack of nurturing from his mama.

My days seemed blurry, delusional. I wasn’t able to keep track of myself, my surroundings, my kids, …everything! At this time, I was in graduate school, with a newborn and two year old. Needless to say, these alone were draining. And now something else had taken over my reality. Depression took over. Postpartum depression.

A lot of days, months and eventually years were spent in confusion and frustration. The diagnosis for postpartum came months after the mental confusion arose. I was started off on prescription medication to treat the symptoms. The symptoms however, would not yield to treatment. They began to multiply.

And alongside depression came another diagnosis…fibromyalgia. And pain flared up all over the body, accompanied by chronic fatigue, difficulty focusing, even immobility. The pain made me sensitive even to the slightest touch.

Everyday I dragged myself out of bed to try and keep up with routine – the kids, school, laundry, cooking. And unknowingly, these became merely robotic functions. My mind was more lost than ever. So lost that many times it send me running out of the house in a frenzy, barefoot, in the dark of the night. I didn’t know why I was running. All I knew was that I wanted to get away. Away from whatever was tormenting me. Only, it came home with me.

Everyday I held my babies. But my heart grew more distant from them. Even the daily feeding, reading, could not gather the bond I should have had toward them.

The distressing thing in this, is the shame my heart experienced while shouldering all of this. I felt responsible for the early birth of my child. I felt like people would judge me for the way I was; unwell, weak and withered. And indeed, some did.

Although it could have been sooner, I was finally able to assure myself that I wasn’t responsible for my illness or struggles. And that I am blessed to have these healthy, beautiful children.

I know that the past cannot be undone. But the mind kept wanting to go back and bandage all the hurt, make it better. And at other times, it felt like all the bandages in the world could not fix the pain.

I didn’t do it until almost two years into my struggle, but I started to share my struggle with those that were close to me and would genuinely care. I was fortunate to have my life sustained because of this care. Meanwhile, in my surrounding, the life of a young mother battling postpartum depression was tragically torn away from her precious children. Like many mothers, suffering in silence because of the guilt of feeling sadness after the birth of her bundle of joy.

If you are in the middle of your struggle with postpartum depression or any form of depression, I beg of you; don’t struggle in the dark. When you’re going through this, everything in your being will tell you that you are alone or strange.

That is far from the truth. Share your story with someone your heart trusts. Join a support group in your community or churches. You may see the faces of people that relate to you. Whose struggles are yours too. Look for support sites like Fresh Hope, where you could read about journeys of depression that may resonate with yours. Whether you’ve crossed over from depression or still walking it, our journeys matter.

God…the source of all comfort….comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”

(2 Corinthians‬ ‭1:3-4‬)

Forgiveness: The Power to Heal by Jamie Meyer

Forgiveness: The Power to Heal by Jamie Meyer

Holding a grudge and refusing to forgive hurts you more than it hurts the other person. I liken it to being held captive by a ball and chain. Unable to move forward in life we remain stuck in the past, continually ruminating on what someone did to us. Unforgiveness makes it more difficult to “live well” in spite of having a mental health diagnosis.

It’s human nature to want justice. We want the other person to pay for what they did. At the very least we want an apology. Deep down we even question whether the way we were treated contributed to triggering our mental illness or worsened it.

How were you hurt at the hands of another? Were you bullied, made fun of, or stigmatized because you were different from your peers? Maybe you were hurt, or continue to be, in a relationship. They didn’t understand so they said hurtful things, ignored you, or walked away, leaving you feeling abandoned and alone. I’ll let you fill in the blank.

As is true of all things in God’s kingdom, hope for healing is found in Christ alone. Are you thinking that there’s no way you can possibly forgive your enemy? Jesus tells us “With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.” (Mark 10:27). I think that pretty much covers everything, no matter how grievous the violation. If we invite God into the process, then forgiveness is possible.

Refusal to forgive is often the result of not understanding what it means to forgive a person. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you have to forget what the person did or tell yourself the hurtful experience didn’t matter. As much as you might want to, you can never erase those painful experiences from your memory.

Forgiveness does not mean you let the other person off the hook either. They are still responsible for what they did. The person who hurt you may never come to you and say they’re sorry. In fact, they may have already passed away. Regardless, it’s comforting to know they’re accountable to someone greater than you: “Never take your own revenge….’Vengeance is mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.” (Romans 12:19).

Probably the greatest misunderstanding about forgiveness is that it involves reconciliation with the offender. That’s wonderful if it’s something you want but in most cases there’s no desire to restore the relationship. Why risk the chance of being hurt again? Part of caring for ourselves and maintaining stability requires choosing healthy relationships.

Forgiveness is a process, one that takes time. You don’t wake up one morning and decide you’re going to forgive someone. Telling yourself “I forgive ___” won’t take away the hurt and resentment you feel.

A better place to start is by asking yourself some questions: Do I honestly believe the person who hurt me will someday tell me they’re sorry for their actions? What if they did apologize and beg for my forgiveness? Would that make up for the damage it caused in my life, the happiness and peace of mind I could have had, or how my life may have turned out differently? If that day came, it honestly wouldn’t be enough.

The process of forgiveness begins with accepting the reality that in all likelihood there will be no admittance of guilt, no apology, nor will they have become a better person over time. Letting go of those expectations and the need to get even will enable you to break free of the ball and chain.

The past and its memories will always be a part of you but you’ll no longer be weighed down by them emotionally. Although the length of time it takes to heal varies from person to person, forgiveness is something you do for you. In return you receive freedom, joy, inner peace, and the ability to move forward with hope.

How To Find A Good Christian Mental Health Counselor

How To Find A Good Christian Mental Health Counselor

Many people have a difficult time in finding an effective mental health counselor. Just like everything in life, you have your good counselors and you have your not so great counselors. The key is to find one that will help you solve your current mental health problems. If you do not know what you are looking for or where to start, then here are a few ideas in how to find a good mental health counselor.

1. Talk To Your Doctor Or Primary Care Physician Your medical or family doctor is a great source in finding a good counselor. Explain to your doctor your problems and he or she can put you in the right direction in seeking the proper help.

2.Go To Your Local Hospital Your local hospital is another source you can use to find a good counselor. A hospital is also a good source of finding many different mental health programs in your area. Hospitals know a lot of good counselors and programs in your area and they can lead you in the right direction.

3.Ask Your Friends And Relatives Use your network of friends and relatives to see if any of them know of any good counselors in your area. This can be effective if it does not bother you that other people know that you are seeking a counselor. Many churches and nonprofit mental health agencies have a variety of mental health programs and asking the people who run these programs could also lead you in the right direction.

When asking for a counselor or finding a mental health program, always ask for someone who has a good reputation. Remember that finding a counselor to help you depends on how you interact with the counselor and how they interact with you. It may take a couple of times to find the right person, but do not give up. Finding a good counselor will pay off for you in the long run, so be persistent in finding the right person for you.

Remember that the key components of having an effective mental health counselor is affordability, the ability to effectively talk to your counselor, and most importantly, is your counselor able to find the answers to your current problems. If you do not see any improvement in your mental health condition after a couple of months of working with your current counselor, you may want to find someone else. The main point of talking to a counselor is to help manage your mental health issues and to get better.

What Kind of Noise Do You Hear?

What Kind of Noise Do You Hear?

Noise. It’s ALWAYS going on. Even if you have all the electronic items off, there is still noise. You still hear cars, the refrigerator running, the air conditioner/heater, etc. I asked my husband what sounds he hears at night when he is hunting in Colorado; he said the wind or coyotes. In the mornings when he’s hunting, he will hear ground squirrels and birds. He said the most quiet it gets is when a storm is coming.

Wherever we go in our day-to-day lives, there are noises. When we are shopping, we hear overhead music, announcements, or people talking while waiting in line. You may be at a sporting event where people might not be happy about what’s going on and maybe they are yelling bad things, possibly cussing. You could be at home with your family watching a TV show, but the commercial shows things you don’t want your children to see.

However, we hear good things too! Riding in the car we put on Christian music. At some type of tournament or competition, you might hear people around you talk about how good a particular child did or how kind they are. At work, you might hear someone tell another person how nice someone is or they enjoy working with them.

So that brings me to the next thought…do you have “noise” inside your own head? I believe we all do; some good and bad; some positive and some negative. This noise can be anything from planning your day, deciding what you’re going to wear, accomplishments you want to achieve in the future or maybe things you didn’t achieve in the past.

In the morning, as soon as I wake up, even before me eyes open, my mind starts moving/making noise. I sometimes wonder where the thoughts come from. I’ve been paying more attention to the noises in my head. It’s almost like a conversation going on; me talking to myself back and forth. I may think “I’m going to go to the gym tonight, but then I hear myself say no you’re not. You’ll be too tired and lazy. You know you’ll give up.” And there are many other noises just like this one. There is not a time during our waking hours when the noise stops. I wish there was an off button so I could turn off all the noise.

In the Bible, even David had problems with noise/thoughts in his head. In Psalm 13:2 NIV he writes “How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart?”

I/We need to work on the kind of noises we have in our heads. The fact is we all face these problems. The majority of the time we do not realize what we are saying to ourselves. Here are some helpful things we can practice so the noises in our heads change from negative to positive:

1) Pay attention to what you are thinking about.
2) Ask yourself if it is positive. If not change the thought. Hebrews 3:1 says “fix your thoughts on Jesus”
3) Every time you think a bad or negative thought, do what Romans 12:2 says “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Think of what God says about that particular thought. As an example: You might say to yourself I’m so unattractive, but that is not what God thinks about us. In Psalm 139:14 God says “you are fearfully and wonderfully made.”
4) Replace the bad with good and negative with positive.

What are the noises/thoughts in your head?

Finding The Source Of Your Fears by Stan Popovich

Finding The Source Of Your Fears by Stan Popovich

A sure way to overcoming your fears and anxieties is in finding the source of your fears and being able to manage it. In dealing with any kinds of fears or anxieties, try to learn what is the real source of your fears and anxieties. Knowing what is causing your anxieties can go a long way in finding the solution.

A person can find the source of his or her own fears by doing some self-evaluation and also by talking to a professional. Asking yourself questions such as: “Why am I afraid” or “What is causing my anxiety” will lead you in the right direction in finding the source of your fears. Give it some time and eventually you will find the answers your looking for.

Once you find the true source of your fears, the next step is to find the solutions that will solve your problem. With the help of a professional, write down a list of possible techniques and solutions that you think will manage your fear and anxieties. The next step is to apply the techniques that you uncovered. Here is a brief list of some techniques you can use to help deal with your fears.

A good way to manage your worry is to challenge your negative thinking with positive statements and realistic thinking. When encountering thoughts that make your fearful or anxious, challenge those thoughts by asking yourself questions that will maintain objectivity and common sense.

Be smart in how you deal with your fears and anxieties. Do not try to tackle everything all at once. When facing a current or upcoming task that overwhelms you with a lot of anxiety, break the task into a series of smaller steps. Completing these smaller tasks one at a time will make the stress more manageable and increases your chances of success.

Learn to take it one day at a time. Instead of worrying about how you will get through the rest of the week or coming month, try to focus on today. Each day can provide us with different opportunities to learn new things and that includes learning how to deal with your problems. When the time comes, hopefully you will have learned the skills to deal with your situation.

Sometimes we encounter a scary situation that gets us all upset. When encountering these events, always remember to get all of the facts of the given situation. Gathering the facts can prevent us from relying on exaggerated and fearful assumptions. By focusing on the facts, a person can rely on what is reality and what is not.

In every anxiety-related situation you experience, begin to learn what works, what doesn’t work, and what you need to improve on in managing your fears and anxieties. For instance, you have a lot of anxiety and you decide to take a walk to help you feel better. The next time you feel anxious you can remind yourself that you got through it the last time by taking a walk. This will give you the confidence to manage your anxiety the next time around.

Many people try to get rid of their anxieties and fears without taking into consideration why they are afraid. The best way to get rid of your fears is to find those techniques that will manage the true source of your fears. If you can do this, then you should be able to overcome your fears and anxieties.

You Are Here to Make a Difference

You Are Here to Make a Difference

It is not easy for me to take a compliment or say something good about myself.  I was in counseling for quite some time before I could even say out loud “I matter”.  The first time my counselor had me say it, I cried.  I didn’t believe it.  I did not feel like I mattered to myself or anyone else.  It wasn’t because someone was mean to me or bad things had happened to me. It was what I believed of myself.  Many people, do not think good things of themselves. Here are just 4 things God says you are:

Loved/Chosen – I am greatly loved by God. Col. 3:12

Forgiven – I am forgiven of all my sins & washed in the Blood. Eph 1:17

Fearless – For God has not given us a spirit of fear; but of power, love and a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7

Warrior – I can quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one with my shield of faith. Eph 6:16

There are so many more things God says we are. I chose these 4 words because most of us do not feel this way at all. Even on a good day, I struggle with believing what God says about me. I don’t doubt God; it is me who has a hard time believing any one feels that way about me. But God said it in His Word that we are each of these things.

My friends, let this soak into your soul. You ARE chosen by the Almighty God because He loves you. He made you ON PURPOSE. He FORGIVES you of all your sins if you ask Him to. He has also made you a FEARLESS WARRIOR.

Another very important reason you matter because we have a purpose. Even though we have a diagnosis of a mental disorder or a lable of some kind, Romans 8:28 (NASB) says, “And we know God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

He will work things out for good. I believe with my whole heart that the things we go through are to help others when they go through them. We have felt alone at times, ashamed, or embarrassed but there is someone out there who feels the same way and needs help just like we did and do. That’s our purpose. That’s how we make a difference.

2 Corinthians 1:4 (The Message) says “He comes along side us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us along side someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.

That verse also says YOU MATTER. He has given us a purpose. Let’s use all the tools, ideas, and help others and God has given us to help someone else.

Recognizing Signs of Relapse

Recognizing Signs of Relapse

Winter is a bummer for me. I dislike the cold, snow, gray shortened days.

But most of all I hate sliding into my winter depressive cycle. For years the darkness of bi-polar depression struck with fury, from November through February.

This year my depression has been mild. I even enjoyed Thanksgiving and Christmas for the first time in many years. A slight adjustment in my medication, exercise, reduced stress, and meditation helped level my mood.

But over the last few weeks I have noticed “early warning signs” of a dip in my mood. Here were some of my “early warning signs”.

First, I realized I was blankly staring into space. My mind was empty. I have been doing that recently with increasing frequency. From past experience this is one of my behaviors of the onset of depressive episode.

Another sign I have noticed is that I “sigh” more than usual, as though I don’t have the energy to get up from a chair. It was irritating my wife, who thought the sighs were because I didn’t want to help her. We talked about it and realized is one of my behavioral signs of my mood dropping.

I have had a persistent sadness over the last week, without reason. This slight dip in mood is like a “check engine” light on my car. It is time find out what is going on.

Prayer and Bible reading are not giving me satisfaction or enjoyment. This is unusual and is another sign to check.

Brain fog has settled in on occasion. I have had some times of troubling confusion. 

I have learned over the years these are all precursors to a depressive episode. 

What to do? I have had an uptick in my medicines that is a mood stabilizer. I purchased and used a sunlamp for light therapy. 

My psychiatrist recently retired and so I am searching for someone to do med checks. I have visited with a counselor who has screened me for a new psychiatrist. 

I have begun listening to gospel music which positively impacts my mood and spirit.

Why share my story? For two important reasons. First, we need to be able to recognize our unique that are precursors to a mood change. And then we need to have a plan in place to manage any relapse.

Relapse is an ugly word. But it does happen.

But there is one greater than our circumstances.

“Therefore, we will not fear though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, and the mountains quake with their surging.” (Psalms 46:2)

The psalmist describes his world falling apart. All that has provided stability for him is gone. The mountains and seas, his very foundation is disappearing.  

There is a reality beyond what we see.  Depression shrinks our world.  It turns us inward isolating us from others. Peace of mind shatters.  Our thinking processes are confused.  And convinces us that lies are truth, and truth are lies. Our world becomes a lonely place.

But the psalmist chooses to Look up!

David worships.  In his state of depression he worships when it seems impossible.  

It doesn’t matter how shattered his world, David places his confidence in God the Creator, of heaven and earth, and who will create all things new.

He has faith greater than his circumstances.

David has a place to go when his world has lost its moorings. God is his shelter and refuge.

Look up!

My Story of Anxiety by Lindsay Hausch

My Story of Anxiety by Lindsay Hausch

I first shared about my struggle with anxiety on my blog.

Before I knew it my post had been shared to thousands of people. Not because my words were special or that my story was different. No, my story resonated with all the people suffering in silence thinking, you too?

A friend from Lutheran Hour Ministries reached out to me to see if I would be interested in doing an interview about how my faith has helped me through my struggle.

That meant leaving my two year old, to get on a plane and travel with my five month old.  That meant meeting a roomful of people I didn’t know and sharing with them my most intimate struggles in front of a camera.

I took a deep breath and said yes. Not because I was unafraid, not even because I felt courageous, but because I knew that God went before me, that he was with me, and that if I showed up, He would be there too.

That morning as I was getting ready, I saw a big framed picture of a dandelion in the bathroom hotel. I’ve always said that dandelions were my favorite flower, because of their imperfect beauty. Dandelions break apart to plant new seeds. I pray that God would use my brokenness to plant hope in hurting hearts.

Standing outside the door of the interview room, I opened my devotion and read this verse,

“See, God has come to save me. I will trust in him and not be afraid. The LORD God is my strength and my song; he has given me victory.” Isaiah 12:2

Friends, can we stand in the doorway of uncertainty, feeling afraid and shaking, and still walk through knowing God will meet us there? I hope this video reminds you that you are not in this struggle alone- you have a community- but most of all, that God has come to save you. He came to save you as a helpless infant. He came to save you on a cross. He came out of the grave to save you. God comes to save you in the small moments when you pray, “God help me,” and He is there, so you are never alone.

Face in the mirror

Face in the mirror

What is wrong with me?

Does this sound like a question you may have asked yourself during your battle with depression? Depression wages war against your mind, your body. It’s basically at war with ‘you.’

At least, that’s what I found to be true during my descent with depression. A couple years ago, I went through life coach training. During training, one of the things we were asked to do was to scan our inner selves and unearth any conflicting, negative underlying questions that we may have tucked away. Like sifting my thoughts through a strainer. And what was dredged up from within me were those questions – “what is wrong with me?”…”why am I useless?”

I realized that I had asked myself these questions before. Out loud and in my conscious mind. What I failed to realize was that it had taken root in my subconscious.

What is your question? What have you asked yourself out loud, or in musing?

When you look into your mirror, who do you see? Amusingly, the mirror has become such an indispensable part of our lives. If not the first thing, what is one of the first things you look at in the morning? The mirror! Right?

It has become, for lack of other words… An extension of our lives! And the person staring back at us stands inverse. Much like how a lot of us view ourselves. The opposite of who we are created to be. And this especially so when we struggle with depression.

Over the past 5 years of my depression, I reached a point of such low self-worth, that I shied away from myself. I didn’t think the person staring back at me was worth the eye-contact. A fog of ‘fear’ had clouded my eyes. I had  figured out how to locate something wrong with everything about me. Appearance, qualification, confidence etc. I shied away from sitting too close to anyone because I didn’t want them to notice everything that I thought was weird about me. I didn’t want them to see the lost look in my eyes, or the defects I found in …to cut it short and say…’all’ of me!

And as though that stack of insecurity wasn’t enough, I happened to get myself one of those countertop magnifying mirrors with the built in light. If you’re not familiar with these mirrors, it has two sides. One has a regular mirror and the other side a magnifying mirror, that ‘magnifies’ every tiny pore on your face! Now that one haunted me for weeks!!!

My mirror also brought me face to face with ‘me.’ And I did NOT want to live with ‘me.’ I didn’t want to live this way. There was a stirring in my heart and my mind. Leaving me questioning my very being. And the byproducts of the stirring were fear and dread.

I also came face to face with the creator of the reflection in the mirror. I was angry with Him for what I was going through. Didn’t He see the fear, suffering, the many sleepless tormenting nights?

The encounter with the mirror is real. And so is our battle with depression. But the mirror cannot win. Because, you and I are bigger than our battle with depression. We were created for a purpose and that is all the enemy wants to destroy.

Here’s one way to win over the mirror:Declaring the promises of God over your life.

If you cannot gather the strength to speak it, write it down. That’s what I did. I was either too physically weak to speak it, or too emotionally distraught. But I wrote down promise after promise in my journal. Even when it was hard for me to believe.

I would tape scripture written on note cards to the mirror. So that on days when I woke up to see the worst in myself, I had a promise to turn my eyes to, instead of the despair in my eyes. I used note cards because I happened to have some. But you could write yours down on decorative paper, embellish it. Or maybe just sticky notes. However you prefer.

Also, when the enemy kept echoing lies in my ears, and plugging my ears didn’t drown it out, I started to plug my ears with the word of God. I would have sermons or the audio Bible playing constantly in my ears. Especially during the night. Depression hits hard in the night watch and I fought months of sleeplessness. So, if the devil wasn’t going to let me sleep, I figured I’d drown him out with the Word. Thank God for technology and headphones!

Here’s a scripture that will anchor it down

This is my comfort and consolation in my affliction: that Your word has revived me and given me life. (Psalm‬ ‭119:50‬).

Our mirror…the Word!

“…we continued to behold in the Word of God, as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly being transfigured into His very own image…(II Corinthians 3:18).

Is It Time For a Med Change? By Jamie Meyer

Is It Time For a Med Change? By Jamie Meyer

Wouldn’t living with a mental health challenge be easier if we knew the answer to that question? If you’re starting to have some symptoms or feel out of balance, you might blame it on stress or a difficult situation you’re dealing with. Having more trouble getting out of bed? You might think it’s just part of the normal ups and downs of depression. If I go several days or weeks without sleeping well, I tend to chock it up to staying up too late or trying to do too much during the day.

Certainly, life circumstances can trigger symptoms, but we sometimes forget to consider that our medications may be the cause. After being diagnosed, most of us go through a period of trial and error before finding the right medication or combination of meds to treat our symptoms. My heart goes out to those of you who have tried to find a medication(s) that will provide relief from your symptoms but haven’t had success. Keep pressing on. Don’t give up on working with your doctor to explore alternative treatments.

Some people experience long periods of wellness and stability and then suddenly crash, often leading to hospitalization in order to change medications quickly. Others may experience a gradual change that is largely unnoticeable until symptoms become more obvious.

I recently experienced a slow, downward slide that started in May of last year and I finally decided to ask my provider if anything could be done. I explained to her that over the previous twelve months I wasn’t functioning or feeling as well as I had over the past couple of years. Specifically, I didn’t have much motivation and I was losing interest in doing things I normally enjoy. My mood was pretty good most of the time which, for having bipolar ll, was a positive. So the nagging question in my mind, one that often prevents us from discussing these concerns with our provider: “Is it just me not dealing with my circumstances well or trying hard enough to stay healthy, or are my meds not working as well as they did before?”

Rather than take me off my antidepressant, my provider added a second antidepressant that affects energy levels and motivation. Unfortunately, the first one sent my appetite through the roof and I quickly packed on the pounds; plus I didn’t feel any better! The second med she prescribed took a couple weeks to work but when it kicked in I noticed a big difference. My mind felt more alert, I didn’t feel like sitting around all day, and I started cleaning out closets!

So to answer the question, “Is it time for a med change?” I would first talk to your provider about the changes you’ve noticed, whether they’re physical, mental and/or emotional. If you’re not scheduled to see him or her soon, I encourage you to make an appointment and not wait until things get worse. Don’t tell yourself it’s no big deal and that you shouldn’t bother them. One of the biggest mistakes I hear people make is to adjust their meds on their own, either increasing them or abruptly stopping a new one. Your provider has the education and experience to address your particular symptoms and, if necessary, to adjust or change your meds.

Secondly, be willing to work with your provider until you find a med that improves your symptoms. If the first one doesn’t help or the side effects are intolerable, don’t just give up and not go back. None of us like the trial and error process, but isn’t it worth the effort to find a med that helps you feel better mentally and emotionally? Don’t settle for anything less than feeling as well as possible with your particular diagnosis and having the ability to live a full and satisfying life.

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