Meds: To Take or Not to Take, The Top Five Reasons for Each

The Top Five Reasons I didn’t want to take meds:

  1. They didn’t work.  The professionals and my family said they worked, so why do I say they don’t work?  Some meds are outwardly calming but are inwardly ineffective in improving thinking.  Thorazine is an example.  It was used on me for seven months in Kalamazoo Regional Psychiatric Hospital because it made me more easily managed by the staff.  But it did not help with my debilitating thoughts.  I only appeared “better”.  And that appearance was sufficient for the doctors to stop their search for an “effective” drug to help me.
  2. Stigma.  “Crazy” people are shunned by society.  They are looked upon as less than human.  They are shamed.  They have no credibility.  These things were what I feared would happen if I had the “mentally ill” label.  (And they did happen).  I felt the less meds I took, the less “crazy” I was.  So I took as little meds as I could.
  3. Fear.  Hey, these meds mess with my brain, what are they going to do to me?  I thought my brain was who I was, what will they change me into? Who will I become?  Will I be me if I take the meds?  If they change me into someone I don’t want to be will I know it?  Will I know enough to change back?
  4. Satanic lies.  The mental illness, coupled with satan’s influence, led me to believe the meds were evil and causing my mental anguish.  Satan knew if I got good meds he would lose control of me, so he did everything he could to dissuade me from taking meds.
  5. I didn’t think I was mentally ill.  When mental illness affects me I don’t experience it as me changing.  I experience it as “the world around me” changing.  My wife is very sweet.  When I am experiencing mental illness symptoms I “hear” her as being condescending, sarcastic and mean spirited.  In reality she isn’t being that way, but I experience her as being that way.  Then, like in a science fiction movie, I have to realize what I am experiencing as real is not real.  I have to go against reality and I have to check my meds and see if I have missed taking them for one and a half to two days.  I have to take the right amount of meds and sit quietly for a couple hours until the meds take effect.  When I experience my wife as her normal sweet self I know the meds have taken effect.
The Top Five Reasons I Now Take Meds Everyday (Unless I Forget)
  1. They work.  I was at a half way house in 1984, having spent the last ten years in and out of mental hospitals and occasionally taking my meds, when I had the thought, “What would happen if I took my meds the way they were supposed to be taken?  Would they help?”  I had not had that thought in the last ten years.  I started taking the meds regularly and I started spiraling up instead of spiraling down.  The more regularly I took the meds, the better my thinking.  The better my thinking, the more I wanted to take my meds.  I now believe God gave me that thought that started me taking my meds.  He was preparing my mind to be able to understand that He loved me, when the time came for one of his followers to present that love of Jesus to me.
  2. Success led to more success.  The success of the anti-psychotic on my thinking enabled me to discover that I had the symptoms of depression (undiagnosed) and anxiety (undiagnosed).  I pursued medication to treat those symptoms and experienced more life-changing results.
  3. The benefits of the meds far outweigh the negative side effects.  The meds take away my energy (when I have normal energy levels it means I missed taking my meds).  They are also a catalyst for weight gain.  These side effects are worth dealing with for the priceless benefit of being able to enjoy healthy thinking.
  4. Others depend on me.  I am blessed to have a wife and two children. They depend on me, relationally  and financially.  I can’t provide for them if I am not taking my meds.
  5. I can enjoy a relationship with Jesus.  When I was not taking proper medication life was a black hole.  My emotions were shut down.  I was in psychic pain. And there was no way out.  Meds changed all that by allowing me to be able to think well enough to have a relationship with the One Who loves me most and demonstrates that love to me every day.

What is a "Strong" Personality?

Our culture uses the term “strong personality” in a way that seems funny to me.  If you are loud, selfish, and stubborn, insist on your own way, and get it by force, the culture calls you “strong”.  If you are quiet and listen to others, if you don’t insist on your own way, but work synergistically to find a better solution than either of you had alone, you are “weak”.

Truly strong personalities can be dominant or laid-back, expressive or analytic.  What makes someone truly “strong” is servant-hood.  What makes them “weak” is selfishness.

Jesus was the strongest and the most completely developed personality I know.  He used His dominance to lead and protect 12 men from the attacks of men and satan.  He used His laid-back qualities to promote peace between a former Roman-sympathizing traitorous tax-collector (Matthew) and a former revolutionary Roman-hating Zionist (Simon the Zealot).  He expressed His love for others openly through laughter, weeping and everything in between.  He was calculating, telling Judas to hurry, revealing He knew Judas plot and making sure He would be buried before sundown.

Jesus used His strength to serve others, not to seek what He wanted.  He was and is committed to His Father and to us.

Are you strong?

How many can be first?

Jesus said that if we want to be first, we need to be the slave of all.  In the hierarchy of this world’s system only one can be first.  But thank God in His system being first is available to everyone.  All of us can be the slave of all.

You may say, “I don’t want to be a slave and certainly not to all.”  Jesus said that we are either slaves to righteousness (Jesus), or slaves to sin (satan).  There is no middle ground.  If we want to know Jesus, we need to follow him and do what he does.  And that means serving everyone with unconditional love.  And, inviting them to follow Jesus with us (if they so choose).