There was a time in my life that I thought that my faith was weak, and sometimes that “stinking thinking” returns to haunt me. On my sunny days I felt like my faith was strong. How can my faith be like a yo-yo? Up, down, up, down…how could my faith be so dependent upon my mental health, my emotional wellbeing? The reason that I believed that my faith was weak during my dark days was because I couldn’t believe or trust my way out of it. I had to have help.
Everything working together
When my hormones are working right, and when I think about what I am thinking about—being careful to not get caught up in negative thinking, and if I make healthy food choices along with exercising, then I can deal with stress better.
A doctor once told me that my fight and flight was broken. Of course, he meant figuratively. My adrenal glands were not handling stress well. Sometimes my body gets stuck in survival mode. For me, even when I do all the things that I listed previously, I still have days that my body just can’t deal with it. I take a medication called escitalopram; it is a generic version of Lexapro. Without this medication the days that my body can’t deal with it are more frequent and my symptoms are worse. I also use bio identical hormone replacement therapy.
Half truth vs. Whole truth
Too many Christians stress our faith as being weak and lack of trusting in God as the reason for anxiety and depression. There is some truth to it, but it is only in part. Half truths are often found in lies and misinformation. Therefore, it is important to find out the whole truth.
We are at war with our body’s imbalance and its affects on our brain. Our thoughts can also have a negative affect on our bodies. It is all connected. To treat one, without treating the other, is an incomplete treatment. Complete treatment is done holistically. I am not a doctor, but based off years of experience I do have some recommendations.
First, I recommend that you take some time to evaluate your life. Are there people in your life that affect you negatively? You might want to take a break from them. Some people are not good for us. Even if they are good people, their personalities may clash with yours in such a way that it stresses you out.
Second, I recommend that you start thinking about what you are thinking about. In the Bible Paul tells us to think on these things, “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise.” (Philippians 4:8 ESV) We are also told over three hundred times to not fear or to not be anxious for anything. God wants us to be on guard about what we spend time thinking about.
Third, I recommend that you evaluate your lifestyle. Having a healthy diet and regularly exercising can have a tremendous affect on our minds and on our hormones. Also, get a good dose of vitamin D from spending time outside in the sunshine.
Last, but not least, I recommend that you see a doctor. If you feel like you have tried everything, and it isn’t enough, then you need help. You might have hormones that need to be balanced by a medical professional. That was my problem. My progesterone and testosterone was out-of-wack. I was also having an issue with my adrenal glands.
A daily battle
I have found that anxiety and depression is a daily battle. We have to keep a balance physically, mentally, and spiritually in order for us to function well. I often refer to anxiety and depression as my thorn. Paul spoke of having a thorn in his side that he asked God on multiple occasions to remove it from him. God did not remove it. Paul learned to be content with his thorn. I am learning to stand with Paul.
Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:8-10 ESV)