I will forever be grateful that in the year 2000 when I went to my doctor and said, “I have so much to be grateful for but I feel so alone, so sad, so angry, so lost…” that he suggested that I might have clinical depression. I am grateful that he saw the signs and suggested an anti-depressant. I will be forever grateful that this medication helped me to get to a point of feeling “level,” of being able to carry on with life in such a way that most people had no idea I was dealing with depression. Side effects aside, medication enabled me to get to the point where I could look into the possibility of there being a different answer–even though it would be years before this came about.
Now that it is 15 years later, do I wish I had never taken the medication? That is a difficult question to answer. In my mentoring with those who struggle with depression, I never tell them to go off their medication. Medication can truly be a gateway to begin thinking more rationally or even more logically. It can be a gateway to looking at life from a more balanced perspective. It can provide the avenue to find lasting healing. Medication was this gateway for me.
The goal of my mentoring is to help people–with or without depression–to identify the answers in their own life that move them to a place of peace and balance. I highly recommend a combination of talk therapy (through a mentor or a psychologist) and medication when needed.
I really like how Decker and Chatlin put it: “Many psychiatrists treat severe depression with medication because they have found that the medication takes some of the ‘edge’ from the sufferer’s anguish. Medication may be necessary to restore sufficient bodily and cognitive ability so that the depressed person has enough energy to change the thinking errors which accompany the illness.” (Reaching for Hope: An LDS Perspective on Recovering from Depression. Salt Lake City, UT: Bookcraft, 2000. Print.)
So whether or not you choose medication, please recognize that it has its place. It matters!