Long before I was formally diagnosed with GAD (generalized anxiety disorder) and Dysthymia (mild/chronic depression) I knew something wasn’t right. I knew that my moods were greater than “worrying” or “stressing”. I knew that shutting myself off from friends and family wasn’t healthy. I knew that trying to operate on less than 12 hours of sleep a week wasn’t making me the most productive or pleasant person and I knew that not leaving the bed for days was not necessarily the best thing to do. There were many days when I literally could not move. I had zero motivation to do anything but sit up, let my dogs out and habitually go over scenarios that either never happened or were totally out of my control.
I knew that I needed to talk to someone….but that meant I wasn’t trusting God…right?! I mean 1 Peter 5:7 clearly says that we are to “cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” Going to a doctor isn’t the “Him” this scripture is referring to so clearly going to a psychiatrist or therapist was bad right?! I was so confused and had fully isolated myself from everyone that cared about me. I had a mind full of very scary thoughts and started quickly spiraling out of control. I thought about how many pills I needed to take to sleep because I was so exhausted, 10? 15? Anything to help me sleep and quiet my mind down. It was then that the same God I was so worried that I was not trusting or that I was disappointing nudged me to seek help.
1. Seeking help doesn’t mean you don’t trust God: “Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:8-10 NLT
The first thing you have to do is realize you have an issue, while also remembering that God placed doctors, therapists, social workers etc. in those positions to help. Find a therapist you like and trust. You’re going to be real transparent during your sessions, so be sure you feel safe with the person you select. There are tons of services that help you narrow down someone, take your time. Your mental health is really important so you want someone that will hold you accountable and really listen to you. I knew my psychiatrist was the right person for me as soon as I met her. When she talked, I was at peace and I felt that God gave her the desire to serve people that were hurting. I know that God was in control and ultimately gives her the tools to say exactly what I needed to hear. Lastly, remember that going to a therapist or psychiatrist is a partnership. They will give you advice and possibly prescriptions that you are expected to take. Be honest with your therapist, if the prescriptions make you feel groggy: Tell them. If you are having new struggles: Tell them. Honesty and transparency goes a long way in this process. How can you expect them to get to core issues if you don’t discuss them? So I encourage you, as you build this relationship to be as honest as you can about how you feel. You play a huge role in your mental health, seeking help is the first step, doing what your clinician suggests and keeping them abreast of what is going on in your life is another huge move towards healing.