When Depression Comes Back

For my Sojourn Ladies at Prairie Oak Community Church

I went off the anti-depressants in January. I had my reasons. There was a week in Mexico on the horizon, followed by our Epic Road Trip toward the sun.

Ever since my first diagnosis, I’ve considered my Depression linked, at least in part, to outside forces. Weather. Loneliness. Extreme circumstances. When I went back on the medication last summer, I thought that my anxiety about the coming book release was to blame. But by January, the book angst was settled. It was the depth of Minnesota winter – yes – but it would be tempered by vacations to warmer places. I thought it would be okay.

This is what the descent back into Depression looks like for me. First I get crabby. The I get weepy. I blame hormones and Age 3. I blame Caillou’s annoying voice and annoyingly patient cartoon parents. I blame Minnesota winter, which seems to sprawl each year farther and farther into the months categorically reserved for Spring. Then it gets worse, and I lose all sense of momentum and motivation, and I don’t know who to blame anymore. So I blame myself.

depression comes back

During the first week of April, my husband went out of town on business, and I slogged through the days with concrete in my veins. I hit a wall with the work on Book 2. How could I write about rebuilding my faith when I felt exactly I did five years ago during The Year of My Drinking? When I felt just as lost and just as lonely and just as far away from God?

There is a sense of defeat when you realize that your struggles are not past tense but present. Not something you’ve overcome, but patterns that you’ll have to work to overcome you’re whole life.

That week, I found myself reeling toward the edge again, self-medicating at night with wine until I’d taken down most of the bottle by myself. I’d wake up in a hangover haze with a three-year-old laying on my head and my husband at some hotel in some other state.

No matter how many times I do it, it always feels a little bit like defeat to go back on the anti-depressants. I never want to, and it always feels like a last resort to call the nurse and make that appointment.

And yet. Here’s the gift. Here’s the hope. I did it.

Where before it’s taken me weeks or months or even years to understand what was going on, this time I knew. And it only took me a few days to pick up the phone and get help.

I’m learning to recognize the signs before they spiral into regrets. I’m learning to admit it out loud, even though it feels hard to say it every single time. Depression.

This time, I told the Church Ladies instead of waiting for them to notice it, waiting for them to sense my drowning and resenting them when they didn’t. Instead I said it, and that is a kind of victory. Around our table at morning Bible study that week, they nodded and looked at me with soft eyes, and then one by one, they all told their own stories of Depression and sadness, darkness and light.

This time, I called my husband. I said, It’s not good right now. I said, I made an appointment and I’m going back on the drugs. And this time, he understood right away what that meant. This time, he opted out of the weekend church retreat that he’d planned to go on and came home.

In the sterile, fluorescence of the exam room, I cried while the doctor asked me questions. “Am I going to have to be on these damn pills for the rest of my life?” I asked.

“Maybe,” she said. “Maybe not. It’s different for everyone, but it’s okay if you do.”

It’s okay if you do.

depression quote

I know I’ve been a bit absent from this online space this month. I’ve been letting the poets say it for me. For all of us. Their language and their line breaks have made space for my own feelings of discouragement and defeat. And for grace – that “terrible oil/anointing me beloved.”

Here in the bald, exposed space of my ongoing struggle, I am learning again and again to admit that I need help. I am bent toward self-destruction, and I am waving my hands in surrender.

And this month, I am being saved again. By the pills and the poets. By Church Ladies, who send emails and slip books into my hands in the foyer before service.

I am being saved by the God who does not let me go – not this time or last time or ever…no matter how deep the darkness of my heart.

He is risen, and I am being raised too. No matter how dark it gets, Easter comes again. Every single time.

  • http://failingjoyfully.com/ Bree Morel

    Oh Addie, I relate so much. On the up days you wonder why you ever let ‘it’ get to you, why you ever struggled. And then the down days come again and you struggle to remember what it was like to be up. It’s actually really difficult for me to label what I experience as… DEPRESSION …because then maybe I have the heavy responsibility of doing something about it, when all the other mounting responsibility I have seems, already, altogether too much.

    Or my other fear is this: that people will begin to try to fix me. To eye me sideways if I choose to have a drink… to send me links and books and quotes [I fear that which you mentioned as saving you – but maybe I’m just afraid of needing help?] and then lay on the expectation that with time I’ll be ok – or, worst, that the evangelicals in my life will label me as afflicted, oppressed, and pray at me with pity [they do it so well].

    At the moment I cope ok, I’ve never sought medication, but I often find myself wondering whether I should, but fearing what that might mean.

    Well, thank you for prompting me to offer myself my own private therapy session… it would seem fear is a thing.

    And thank you for engaging with your own mess of fear and faith too, it is needed and appreciated so much.

    Bree.

    • http://howtotalkevangelical.addiezierman.com/ Addie Zierman

      I know exactly your fears about other people trying to fix you. This has happened to me before, and it sucks. But I think that for so long, I expected the worst of people (because I’d experienced it) and never gave them a chance to come through for me. What I’ve found lately is that everyone’s just really waiting for someone to go first. We all have things that we’ve been hiding, that we need to talk about, that we need someone to understand and not judge us for. Saying a prayer now for you to find those grace-filled people and find a safe place with them Bree. xo

  • Guest

    Dear Addie, I am so thankful to have stumbled across your blog 6 months ago and that I’ve gotten to know your story (and read your book!). It’s after reading this post tonight, though, that I’m finally deciding to set up a doctor’s appointment to seek treatment for my own depression. I am so, so sorry this is something you’re going through, but I’m deeply grateful you’ve chosen to share. On this Easter night, I am not without hope. God truly does not let us go, and I believe that part of his saving me was by allowing me to read your words tonight.

    • http://howtotalkevangelical.addiezierman.com/ Addie Zierman

      I love this so much. Thank you for sharing this. It means so much to me. It’s so hard to take that first, wobbly step toward healing. May it lead you toward wholeness and nearer to God’s love.

  • Steve White

    Thanks for posting this. I’d celebrate as a victory that you knew what was going on and acted in just a few days.

    • http://howtotalkevangelical.addiezierman.com/ Addie Zierman

      Yes. Small victories. Grateful.

  • jerseylou

    I wish I could smile and cry with you and give you a big hug. Thank you for speaking my heart so well. It is Christ’s victory that you made those calls, that you spoke those words. As one who has accepted that my life may always include those pills, I invite you to share the grace of God with me.

    • http://howtotalkevangelical.addiezierman.com/ Addie Zierman

      “to share the grace of God” — yes. It is a beautiful kind of grace, isn’t it? Thank you.

  • Judy

    He never lets us go, sometimes life just numbs our hands so cold, we can’t feel His grasp. You are brave and honest and we love you. Amen to the victory of saying it and letting others in. That’s the most any of us can hope to have the courage to do.
    And the poets made me Think.

    • http://howtotalkevangelical.addiezierman.com/ Addie Zierman

      I love that metaphor. Grateful for you Judy.

  • http://www.buriedhopes.com/ Rebecca

    This is such an important thing to share. I think I will be on my antidepressants for the rest of my life, but I’m just thankful that I have something that keeps from from falling off the cliff.

    • http://howtotalkevangelical.addiezierman.com/ Addie Zierman

      Me too. Thanks Rebecca.

  • http://www.edcyzewski.com/ Ed_Cyzewski

    Sending love, support, and prayers your way today. You are deeply valued and appreciated. Hang in there.

    • http://howtotalkevangelical.addiezierman.com/ Addie Zierman

      Thank you friend.

  • Briana Meade

    Addie,
    thank you for continuing to be so brave and honest. I saw you at the Panel at the Festival of Faith and writing and continue to be encourage to be more brave through your writing.

    • http://howtotalkevangelical.addiezierman.com/ Addie Zierman

      Loved getting a chance to connect with you (albeit briefly) Briana! Next time we’ll have to get a cup of coffee!

  • John Backman

    Me too.

    Weirdly, Psalm 22 is the only thing I’ve found nourishing this time round. I hear in it the simplest summary of our lives: This hurts like hell. You’re still here. Great. Help me out. Which, if I read you right, is pretty much what you wrote much more eloquently above. Yes, hang in there.

    • http://howtotalkevangelical.addiezierman.com/ Addie Zierman

      Love that. Thanks John.

  • Tania Runyan

    Yes. These honest discussions are important enough to save lives. The pills aren’t a sign of defeat but a sign of a gracious God and a good mom. And I, for one, love your smile and honesty and true-to-the-bone words. Praying the meds will help you be your amazing self again.

    • http://howtotalkevangelical.addiezierman.com/ Addie Zierman

      Thank you friend.

    • Hannah N.

      Amen Amen

  • Kelly Green

    Good for you for, Addie. My depression comes in waves too. Every time it subsides I think it might never come back…but then…it does. Thank you for sharing about your journey as it makes me feel less alone in mine. God IS good and He IS delivering us all from our pain. I believe it.

    • http://howtotalkevangelical.addiezierman.com/ Addie Zierman

      I love that — “is delivering.” We are in process of being set free. Thankful for the grace I’ve found so far on this path.

  • Gillian Marchenko

    Figuring things out that early, getting help, speaking up… all such good things. Thank you for sharing your experience. So needed. No matter how dark it gets, Easter comes again.

    • http://howtotalkevangelical.addiezierman.com/ Addie Zierman

      Thank you, lovely friend. I know you know.

  • http://www.lovewellblog.com/ Kelly @ Love Well

    I hate that you must constantly fight this, Addie. But at the same time, do you see the growth here? You called the nurse. You told the truth to people in your life. You asked for help. Even if you must wield the pills again in this battle against the darkness, do not let the victories go unnoticed. I see the grace of God in you.

    • http://howtotalkevangelical.addiezierman.com/ Addie Zierman

      Thank you so much Kelly. I see it too and understand that it is purely grace.

  • http://buildingbridgesinwarzones.com/ Bridge Builder

    I love your resilient spirit, Addie. It’s so encouraging to see God’s redemptive work in your life.

    • http://howtotalkevangelical.addiezierman.com/ Addie Zierman

      Thank you so much friend.

  • Debra

    Love you, love the transparency, and love your inspired writing. Your words are so descriptive, I feel and see through you. Sending you much love and really wishing I could take you out for a coffee right now to tell you how brave you are. xoxo

    • http://howtotalkevangelical.addiezierman.com/ Addie Zierman

      I’d love that! Thanks for the kind words.

  • Naomi

    Thank you so much for your honesty. I have been having the same struggles and they make me feel so weak and pathetic. I don’t want help or to let anyone know because I want to “get over it” myself. But I can’t, I’ve tried and tried and I am so tired and defeated. Your bravery has given me hope and made me feel I am not alone and not so horrible for needing help. Thank you so much for your blog, your honesty and hope.

    • http://howtotalkevangelical.addiezierman.com/ Addie Zierman

      You are definitely not alone. And I get it. Peace to you friend.

  • twitter: LisasLeben

    prayers are with you Addie. I am also on medication for depression and anxiety. On and off through my life I have needed them. I also feel like it’s a defeat when I’ve been off them for a while and have to go back on – but with them I am a better mother (more present for my children), wife (better able to be a true partner) and more competent in my work. I am better able to complete the basic tasks of daily living – cleaning, cooking, laundry etc… So while I may “feel” like I’ve somehow failed by having to return to the meds, I KNOW that it’s actually a triumph over the depression that would suck me down a dangerous black hole.
    Again, prayers are with you as you take care of yourself, that you’ll be feeling stronger soon.

    • http://howtotalkevangelical.addiezierman.com/ Addie Zierman

      “So while I may “feel” like I’ve somehow failed by having to return to the meds, I KNOW that it’s actually a triumph over the depression that would suck me down a dangerous black hole. ” — yes. So well said Lisa. Thank you.

  • http://www.leighkramer.com/ Leigh Kramer

    I know I’ve already told you this but it bears repeating: I’m proud of you for doing what you need to do. It’s not defeat, it’s courage. xoxo

    • http://howtotalkevangelical.addiezierman.com/ Addie Zierman

      Thank you lovely.

  • http://sandraheskaking.com/ Sandra Heska King

    “. . . being saved again… by the pills and the poets . . . and by the God who does not let me go.” There’s poetry in this.

    And thank goodness for Church ladies and doctors and husbands and three-year-olds who lay on heads.

    And thank goodness for those who spill it real and how it soaks into the hearts of those who crave your brave. Praying for you today, dear Addie.

    • http://howtotalkevangelical.addiezierman.com/ Addie Zierman

      Thank you Sandra. Thankful for you and your encouragement.

  • http://sarahmwells.blogspot.com Sarah Wells

    <3 Lovely, Addie. Such power in our places of vulnerability.

    • http://howtotalkevangelical.addiezierman.com/ Addie Zierman

      Thanks so much Sarah.

  • Jeff

    Your willingness to keep laying it out there is f*%ing inspiring.

    • http://howtotalkevangelical.addiezierman.com/ Addie Zierman

      This comment made me laugh out loud — no small feat. Thank you Jeff. Truly.

  • http://www.quietanthem.com/ Renee Ronika

    Sending so much love and grace-filled prayers, Addie. Love you.

    • http://howtotalkevangelical.addiezierman.com/ Addie Zierman

      Thank you friend

  • Abby Norman

    You did it! You made the calls, and told the tells, and asked for help and stayed. And this is brave and beautiful, and there is redemption and resurrection and God in all of it. Thank you. You are brave.

    • http://www.awishcomeclear.com/blog/about/welcome Caroline McGraw

      Yes! So well said, Abby. :)

    • http://howtotalkevangelical.addiezierman.com/ Addie Zierman

      Thanks so much Abby.

  • http://www.awishcomeclear.com/blog/about/welcome Caroline McGraw

    Addie, this is such a brave post. I love it. So proud of you for sharing this, and especially for asking for help when you knew it was needed. That is progress and hope right there. Also, this post came at the perfect time for me … that is, just as I was acknowledging a struggle of my own.

    In short: I go to a warm, loving, wonderful house church, but I attend services and events solo. This is very different from prior church experiences, when I attended with family and close friends. As such, even though I really like the church, it’s sometimes hard for me to go. Without warning, I find myself feeling lonely and a little jealous when I’m surrounded by other people’s families. On Easter, I started feeling all dark and isolated, and I felt like a terrible person, because: Easter! But thanks to your post, I have a new glimpse of what Easter means, and I can ask for help too. Thank you, friend.

    • http://howtotalkevangelical.addiezierman.com/ Addie Zierman

      Asking for help is sometimes the hardest thing, isn’t it? Thanks for the kind words. Easter! Yes!

  • April Purdy

    Addie… I feel you. Let a few tears fall reading this. I understand asking the questions that don’t give you an answer. The waiting and hoping for permanant healing yet learning to face what’s in the present. I’m in a similar place. I’m so proud of you for reaching out first this time, for sharing what you did good in this process. That’s bravery. That’s courage. That’s love. I know it doesn’t feel like it, but it’s beautiful. Thank you for sharing your journey… Sending love your way.

    • http://howtotalkevangelical.addiezierman.com/ Addie Zierman

      Thanks so much April. Peace to you in your own journey.

  • Skerrib

    Me too Addie. I was off meds for 3 years and six weeks ago I made the call and went back on the drugs. I breathed a sigh of equal parts resignation and relief, and put it out there with my church ladies and asked them to tell me how awesome I am for seeking help, and they DID.

    Now I’m feeling a whole lot better, although I’ve had plenty of moments where God reminds me I’m still my regular neurotic self (and we chuckle), but now I’m not exhausted and weepy and angry at everything. So now it’s maybe 80% relief and 20% resignation. Those “nevers” and “forevers” make me cringe a little, so I try to go with “for now” and be glad about it.

    Thanks for sharing this.

    • http://howtotalkevangelical.addiezierman.com/ Addie Zierman

      THIS —> “So now it’s maybe 80% relief and 20% resignation. Those “nevers” and “forevers” make me cringe a little, so I try to go with “for now” and be glad about it.” Perfectly said. Thank you.

  • pastordt

    Addie! Do you see the growth? Do you see it? I know it’s hard. It’s so hard to need help, isn’t it? But you saw it – you reached for it – your spoke truth and you lived it. I see this as cause for celebration, dear one. Truly.

    • http://howtotalkevangelical.addiezierman.com/ Addie Zierman

      I do see the growth. I didn’t at first. But when I did, it almost took my breath away. The cycles will continue for me, but God has been working. I almost missed it. Thanks Diana.

  • Blair

    Dear Addie, I have no experience with Depression and cannot fathom how it gets its hooks in a person. But I do know that you are brave, you are strong, and your humility is inspiring. May God continually warm you up, inside and out, through prayer and through people. I think one of our biggest dangers as human beings is the false assumption that we’re alone in our pain. Clearly this comment section reflects differently. You are not alone; you are loved. You are Loved. You are Loved.

    • http://howtotalkevangelical.addiezierman.com/ Addie Zierman

      Thank you for these kind words Blair. Yes, we are not alone. Not one of us.

  • carameredith.com

    You are brave. You are fierce. You are lovely. And indeed, it’s okay. Thank you for your honesty. xo.

    • http://howtotalkevangelical.addiezierman.com/ Addie Zierman

      Thank you friend.

  • http://www.devotionaldiva.com/ Renee Fisher

    I went back on my medication too. It is what it is. Love you!

    • http://howtotalkevangelical.addiezierman.com/ Addie Zierman

      Solidarity. xo

  • Ann Ehlert

    So grateful for your growth to get help quicker and for sharing so the rest of us will get on board. Just got off the phone with a friend who mentioned me getting help with medication. It’s hard to believe that reading your post directly after is an accident. Thanks for sharing. T

    • http://howtotalkevangelical.addiezierman.com/ Addie Zierman

      Love God’s crazy timing. Thanks Ann. :)

  • http://www.estheremery.com/ Esther Emery

    I’m thinking of you, Addie. I appreciate you and your vulnerability and your precious, human heart. Also: you’re not alone.

    • http://howtotalkevangelical.addiezierman.com/ Addie Zierman

      Thank you so much, friend.

  • Jackie Lea Sommers

    It might not feel like moving forward, but it IS. To recognize what you need and then to take action to get it … that’s HUGE.

    • http://howtotalkevangelical.addiezierman.com/ Addie Zierman

      It is. Small (big) victories, right?

  • http://www.brennadambrosio.com/ Brenna

    This is so beautiful. Thank you for shining light into all of our hearts and giving us the encouragement and hope we all need, whether we realize it or not.

    • http://howtotalkevangelical.addiezierman.com/ Addie Zierman

      Thank you, sweet Brenna. xo

  • Susie Klein

    Addie, thank you so much for your honesty and making yourself vulnerable to us. I certainly hope you do not get negative responses to this honesty. We need help and that help looks different for different people. You are loved dear one. :) Susie

    • http://howtotalkevangelical.addiezierman.com/ Addie Zierman

      Oh, there’s always negative responders out there. 😉 I feel thankful for the love and grace I’ve found from readers here. Thanks so much Susie.

  • http://twitter.com/HeatherCaliri Heather Caliri

    Oh, Addie–thank you for being transparent here. I know know know that your words will give others bravery to make the same choice, to choose health instead of a narrative of success.
    I keep being surprised by my ‘relapses’ into unhealthy thought patterns, keep feeling like I’m getting knocked down a peg, but I think part of our problem is the idea that we’re ascending a ladder rather than moving through seasons. That we’re progressing through a degree program instead of following the cycles of the moon. That to repeat old patterns is not failure but life. That to recognize our cycles and our ups and downs is the first step to accepting them. I pray for wholeness for you, and I’m so grateful that you’re safe and you were able to speak up. I pray that we can all have that bravery.

    • http://howtotalkevangelical.addiezierman.com/ Addie Zierman

      “I think part of our problem is the idea that we’re ascending a ladder rather than moving through seasons. That we’re progressing through a degree program instead of following the cycles of the moon. That to repeat old patterns is not failure but life. ” — this is so good Heather. YES.

  • Sheri

    Thanks. I know this was hard for you. I can’t do. I’m not there. I wish I was brave.

    • http://howtotalkevangelical.addiezierman.com/ Addie Zierman

      I bet you’re braver than you think. You’ll get there. Praying peace and wellness for you now.

  • Rebecca Reid

    Addie! I read that early this morning and have just been dwelling on it all day long…now I come back tonight and though I am still sitting here nearly speechless (I know, haha 😉 …I just can’t let the moment go without telling you how beautiful and true and necessary that was. I was sitting there…at the table that morning of Sojourn bible study…and it was YOU who opened that conversation. Oh!…little did you know what was about to evolve at that table. BUT, you took the risk for the rest of us Addie….and because you did…there we were…one by one…stepping up on our own little podium to say it…because in healing it needs to be said. Addie, the beauty is that you have the gift of bravery, the gift to put it out there despite the messy middle stuff, the gift to set others off on their path of healing. THAT is GOD working through you to reach others Addie. Look at everyone commenting here that it has touched them…God will be working through you all over Addie! Get that in your book 2! Don’t leave that out…that was a life line…the way you said it, swallowed it, embraced it…you speak the raw, ugly, beautiful truth and THAT was just really needed Addie…THAT is how we can relate…and we are stronger from listening to you lay it out in your beautiful perspective…you said it and it has hit home with lots of us!
    I love ya lady! Hugs!

    • http://howtotalkevangelical.addiezierman.com/ Addie Zierman

      Thank you, lovely friend. I am very thankful for you and your kind, encouraging heart. So glad you’re one of my “Church Ladies.” 😉

  • Jen Veches Munson

    Addie…you are so strong, brave…such an inspiration. ;o) I admire your courage and honesty. I’ve been dealing with depression with family members for years…even a touch of my own at times. Hope…such a fabulous feeling to have.

    • http://howtotalkevangelical.addiezierman.com/ Addie Zierman

      Thank you so much Jen. Truly.

  • ckdean2

    this line… “I told the Church Ladies instead of waiting for them to notice it, waiting for them to sense my drowning and resenting them when they didn’t.” Wow. This is always the hardest part for me. Thanks for your vulnerability!

    • http://howtotalkevangelical.addiezierman.com/ Addie Zierman

      Me too. I think one of the majors tendencies of Depression is to ISOLATE. Which makes it hard to share even if you believe you’re in a safe place. So grateful for the grace that I found in that moment to share anyway.

  • http://jenniferstewartfueston.com Jen Stewart Fueston

    Addie, as one who has both braved cold, dark Minnesota winters and attempted to keep up a blog amidst depression, don’t worry for one minute about being “absent” from your blog and allowing other voices to speak through you/for you. Sometimes we all need to go through days or seasons when we sit down, keep quiet, and open our mouths to let someone else feed us. :) You have my prayers for some sunny days and blooming lilacs very soon.

    • http://howtotalkevangelical.addiezierman.com/ Addie Zierman

      Thanks so much Jen. Minnesota winters are brutal. CANNOT WAIT for lilacs. (We had two days of 70s in a row this weekend, and it did me a world of good.)

  • http://www.bethanysuckrow.com/ Bethany Suckrow

    Oh, Addie. I needed to read this today to be reminded that it’s okay to admit that we’re not okay, and that yes, Easter always comes. Thank you for your vulnerability. Much love, friend.

    • http://howtotalkevangelical.addiezierman.com/ Addie Zierman

      Thank you lovely. So glad that it came at the right time. Grateful for you. xo

  • http://www.sharingisthehappyway.com Misty

    This post was timely, so meaningful, and very helpful. Thank you. It is one of those times where the words of another ring so true that it is a bit eerie. The commentary is wonderful too. The phases of the moon- love that Heather! These conversations are the ones that make me hopeful and grateful that these online spaces exist. Grace to everyone who is walking a similar path. His love is always deeper still.

  • Pingback: Why I Chose Self Publishing & Dream Coaching - Renee Fisher()

  • Bonnie-Jean Newman

    Such a rich and raw post Addie – thank you. We all have struggles in this life and your bravery in sharing yours is truly a blessed gift to me and to others. Thank you a million times over.

  • Bob Brown

    Hi Addie, I believe that your popularity is due to your raw honesty and transparency- no fluff or pretense to try and “keep up an image”. I read your book awhile back and loved it. The fact that you can now admit that you’re “re-lapsing” to some degree is amazing. Along the lines of Brennan Manning- you admit that even in the midst of being a popular author/speaker etc- you’re struggling- here and now- in this moment- and its risky as some may judge or discredit or have expectations of you. But who cares? its your life- your style- and people relate to it. I also must say I admire your husband a lot. I was in a dating relationship that ended this past August. For a number of reasons she became depressed around July. As a nurse in a “Christian based” psychiatric hospital- the stress started to get to her. She also struggled with intense mood swings due to a condition that gave her off the charts abnormal monthly cycles. Raising two boys in a duplex along with her mother just added to it all. It didn’t help that she had a father who was neglectful and withdrawn- and an ex boyfriend that she found out was cheating on her the entire time they were together….3 months into our relationship. You know- there’s stuff we all have in our past- the things we like to believe are “dealt with”- “under the blood”- “healed”- etc. And then seemingly out of no where, like a tsunami, they crush us with a force that literally sucks the life out of us- and we realize- as you so eloquently put- that this is damn well probably something I will struggle with forever- to some degree. Back to my story. So my beloved girlfriend goes back on Lexapro. And well, I try to be as supportive as possible. Then suddenly, she no longer has time to see me- the one date we do fit in she ends up telling me she “didn’t feel” as drawn to me as she used to be. I hear this and well- I want to throw up. She wonders if it is the medication dulling her emotions. I begin to wonder why I ever chose to see her in the first place. I struggle not to take it personal. When I begin to withdraw she suddenly starts calling and “misses our friendship.” Im confused and my heart is becoming worn out with her ups and downs towards me and inability to draw close to me and show any kind of intimacy and or commitment. Then I feel guilty- Back and forth we went- and in the end- she admitted that the pain of her ex had never left her- and in fact was crushing her- To this day I wonder if I “did enough”- if I bailed too soon- if I should have just been “the friend” she wanted and needed with no expectations. Allowing the meds to do their thing and just “hang in there”. But I was always wanting more- and well- she just didn’t have it to give- Mental illness of any kind carries a stigma- and yes- the medication part of it is controversial. At times I wonder why im not on something to taper the edge of my dark valleys. I share all this I guess just to say I relate- and have lived the interpersonal dynamics- I pray a lot that she finds healing, peace and a happy life. I pray that I can maybe use more discernment in whom I date in the future- but its hard- cuz honestly- everyone has issues- some just cover them up better than others- Its therapeutic to talk about it- so thanks for allowing me to drown your comment section with my dribble-lol- I just may write my own book one day- thanks for the inspiration. Blessings and peace, Bob

  • Bob Brown

    Hi Addie, I believe that your popularity is due to your raw honesty and transparency- no fluff or pretense to try and “keep up an image”. I read your book awhile back and loved it. The fact that you can now admit that you’re “re-lapsing” to some degree is amazing. Along the lines of Brennan Manning- you admit that even in the midst of being a popular author/speaker etc- you’re struggling- here and now- in this moment- and its risky as some may judge or discredit or have expectations of you. But who cares? its your life- your style- and people relate to it. I also must say I admire your husband a lot. I was in a dating relationship that ended this past August. For a number of reasons she became depressed around July. As a nurse in a “Christian based” psychiatric hospital- the stress started to get to her. She also struggled with intense mood swings due to a condition that gave her off the charts abnormal monthly cycles. Raising two boys in a duplex along with her mother just added to it all. It didn’t help that she had a father who was neglectful and withdrawn- and an ex boyfriend that she found out was cheating on her the entire time they were together….3 months into our relationship. You know- there’s stuff we all have in our past- the things we like to believe are “dealt with”- “under the blood”- “healed”- etc. And then seemingly out of no where, like a tsunami, they crush us with a force that literally sucks the life out of us- and we realize- as you so eloquently put- that this is damn well probably something I will struggle with forever- to some degree. Back to my story. So my beloved girlfriend goes back on Lexapro. And well, I try to be as supportive as possible. Then suddenly, she no longer has time to see me- the one date we do fit in she ends up telling me she “didn’t feel” as drawn to me as she used to be. I hear this and well- I want to throw up. She wonders if it is the medication dulling her emotions. I begin to wonder why I ever chose to see her in the first place. I struggle not to take it personal. When I begin to withdraw she suddenly starts calling and “misses our friendship.” Im confused and my heart is becoming worn out with her ups and downs towards me and inability to draw close to me and show any kind of intimacy and or commitment. Then I feel guilty- Back and forth we went- and in the end- she admitted that the pain of her ex had never left her- and in fact was crushing her- To this day I wonder if I “did enough”- if I bailed too soon- if I should have just been “the friend” she wanted and needed with no expectations. Allowing the meds to do their thing and just “hang in there”. But I was always wanting more- and well- she just didn’t have it to give- We just seemed to want different things from the relationship- me? commitment- her? friendship while she heals. So then I ask myself- am I being a selfish prick by guarding my heart and not “dying to self” so she can live? or am I using wisdom. Is this what going the xtra mile looks like or am I a codependent freak myself? At times I wonder why im not on something to taper the edge of my dark valleys as I feel like im on an emotional roller coaster and close to insanity. No one is perfect and we are here to help one another towards wholeness and healing and becoming more like Jesus- this is what I tell myself over and over- while my heart is dying and wilting. I share all this I guess just to say I relate- and have lived the interpersonal dynamics- I pray a lot that she finds healing, peace and a happy life. I pray that I can maybe use more discernment in whom I date in the future- or that I could learn what it means to really love someone- regardless- but its hard- cuz honestly- everyone has issues- some just cover them up better than others- Its therapeutic to talk about it- so thanks for allowing me to drown your comment section with my dribble-lol- I just may write my own book one day- thanks for the inspiration. Blessings and peace, Bob

  • http://hopefullyknown.com/ Tamara Rice

    Addie, I relate so, so much. After over 10 years of anti-depressants and anti-anxiety pills of many kinds I worked hard for two years to wean myself off of all of them. I finally succeeded in the fall. And then within a few months my world fell apart again, and I found myself back in the pit of despair. It’s been hard to come to terms with the idea that when I was told so long ago, “You may always need these,” no one was kidding. And I tell others all the time “there’s no shame in it” … but the truth is *I* find shame in it. I feel like I should learn to be “strong enough” and there are people in my life who believe that, and it’s hard to mute their words and even (sometimes unspoken) opinions.

    But when I went back on the pills this time there was a certain peace in the surrender. I have more important things to do that waste my children’s childhood and my marriage in a state of mental anguish and suffering. They deserve more, I deserve more. That’s what got me on pills the first time, and I think that might keep me on them this time. I loved this: “And yet. Here’s the gift. Here’s the hope. I did it.”

    I did it too, and I’m going to keep doing it for as long as it’s what it takes to feel like a whole person. I’m glad you’ve also made that choice and that you are also TALKING about it.

  • Amy Hetland

    Thanks Addie for reminding me that it is ok to need drugs all my life. It is so hard to accept sometimes, that no amount of faith and prayer is going to heal me miraculously from the depression and anxiety. It is so easy to doubt myself and wonder if I am failing God, yet again. But I am reminded of one of my heroes, Abraham Lincoln, who struggled with depression all his life yet had amazing faith to do the impossible. Depression is not a sin people! It is a disease!

  • http://littledidsheknow.net/ Cara Strickland

    Oh my gosh, Addie. Thank you for this. I’m going through something that I’ve gone through before and I’m saying a lot of these things to myself (the destructive ones) thank you for helping me remember that this isn’t linear, and that I’m okay.

    I love you, friend. You are okay. You are lovely, you are loved.

  • http://www.isaacjamesbaker.blogspot.com/ Isaac James Baker

    Addie, I love your writing, this post in particular. As someone who’s dealt with depression, insomnia, anxiety, self-destructive and compulsive fits, I can relate. I’ll leave the faith-related analysis to you and the other commenters here (who have really made some great remarks), but I just wanted to chime in on this comment…

    “No matter how many times I do it, it always feels a little bit like defeat to go back on the anti-depressants. I never want to, and it always feels like a last resort to call the nurse and make that appointment.”
    So many of my Christian family members (who struggle with bipolar, depression, suicidal tendencies, etc.) have expressed this same feeling. It’s so incredibly tough to watch. I understand there’s an added level of complexity within people who experience both faith and depression. And, yes, with faith or without it, there is a complicated web of externalities. But one thing I’ve learned through all my chaos is this: Sometimes, in some people, shit is just physical. It’s chemicals. It’s brain functions. It’s an internal battle within your own body/mind. Not all the time, not with everyone, but we are, after all, physical beings. And there is never anything wrong with using our scientific knowledge, and, yes, medication, to attempt to alleviate severe mental distress.
    Anyway, those are my thoughts. Keep on doing what you need to do to feel happy and calm, whatever that may be. Cheers! Isaac

  • Pingback: Today in Blogworld 04.28.14 - Borrowed Light()

  • Lisa Jackson

    Dear Addie, thank you again. I had fallen behind in reading yr blog and been saddened by your experience. Praise God you were given the strength to seek help. It has been hard for me to acknowledge that I may never get off my antidepressants, acknowledge probably isn’t the right word but I know this to be the truth. I thank you for your truth that you share and I gain strength from your honesty. Bless you. Lisa.

  • Pingback: National Poetry Month Wrap-Up & Giveaway | Addie Zierman | How To Talk Evangelical()

  • Pingback: What I’m Into, April 2014 | Bethany Suckrow()

  • Pingback: What I’m Into: April 2014 | Addie Zierman | How To Talk Evangelical()

  • Pingback: What I’m Into – April | Whisper and Wind()

  • Jen in SC

    Thank you for posting incredibly real and honest posts like this. I’m grateful you do it. And I’m so glad you chose to get the help you need so quickly! Growth is awesome :) Hugs.

  • Pingback: What I’m Into: April 2014 Edition | Such Small Hands()

  • DA Schuhow

    Addie, been mulling over a response to this posting.
    I’ll tell you a story.
    Once, I was 220 pounds, almost 90 pounds overweight, when I began to take baby steps to lose that weight over two years. My routine of exercise and proper eating habits had been established for quite some time so I was on my usual fast paced walk. I’m pumping along, feeling good, talking to God, and thinking of my new eating habits while reflecting on the fact that I no longer enjoyed the foods I used to eat.
    The Holy Spirit whispers to me “You know, you can never go back to eating that way again”. My reply “Yes, Lord, I know”.
    This experience reflects my acceptance of those limitations that God places on me. They are MY limitations, God designed me with THESE limitations, and I am to submit to those limitations/solutions that God has placed on me.
    Perhaps, you can think of taking your antidepressant with this perspective.

  • kathrynexpectanthearts

    I just found this via a friend on FB.. And I will be calling my doctor to make my appt. to get back on my antidepressants. I will likely need to be on them the rest of my life. I hate that. But.. I’m glad to know i”m not the only person in the world who links to external causes and does on again, off again. Thank you for sharing so bravely.

  • Pingback: Lament for the Solitary Goose | Addie Zierman | How To Talk Evangelical()

  • http://www.seriouslysarah.net Sarah

    I know how you feel. I live with chronic pain, so each time the depression slowly crawls back, I feel like such a failure. Like if I was stronger, I wouldn’t be depressed. Or, if I was a better Christian, I would turn all of my anxieties and worries over to God, so I would not feel burdened. Even though I know with my mind that it is a medical condition, my heart hurts. I loved reading your post. Thank you!

  • http://www.isaacjamesbaker.blogspot.com/ Isaac James Baker

    Glad you’re doing what you need to do, Addie. Medication is a part of my life, not because I wanted it, but because I needed it. Nothing wrong with that. I know people who believe in god can pray and consult their religious community for help and assistance, and I think that’s great and works for many people. But I’ve always thought that, when people are hurt, and doctors say they need medication, well, that’s all there is to it. Medicine is about using science to help people in need, and there’s no stigma or guilt necessary. At least there shouldn’t be. All the best, Addie!

  • http://www.sbethcaplin.com/ Beth Caplin

    I’m so grateful to have found this post as the one-year anniversary of my decision to leave seminary comes closer. I remember on the first day of one of my counseling classes, the professor asked the class if anyone believed depression was a sin. Everyone in the class agreed it wasn’t…except one person. She said, “It just doesn’t make any sense…how can anyone be depressed when they have Jesus?!” I wanted to throttle that woman…and despite knowing that 99% of the class disagreed with her, hers is the one comment that stuck with me the most.

    Thank you for this post, Addie.

    • http://howtotalkevangelical.addiezierman.com/ Addie Zierman

      It’s always that one person, isn’t it? Thanks Beth.

  • Pingback: the one with lots of links | thoughts from the waiting room()