“Uh oh. Someone’s off their meds.”

It’s a common joke, usually in reference to someone doing or saying something that to the joke-teller is ridiculous. Maybe they’re way into conspiracy theories (all hail our lizard overlords) or perhaps the person is merely expressing an idea in a way that’s passionate or emotionally charged. Regardless, the sentiment is the same, “She’s crazy.”

I’ve worked hard to be open about my mental health. There’s a double stigma with mental illness – there’s the stigma to having mental illness and then there’s the stigma for taking something for mental illness. The truth is, I can’t win. Either I’m weak because I need medication or I’m crazy and I need my meds.

In both cases, I’m invalidated as a person.

Mental health medication is rough. Unlike many medications, there isn’t really an easy way to know what medication a person needs. We can’t crack open a skull and see what’s going on. The best psychiatrists (and I love mine) have experience and humility. The pretty good ones have experience. Even so, it’s hard. I literally tried 20+ medications plus a round of ECT (never again) before ketamine.

It’s hard to explain to people who haven’t experienced it, but in the year or two leading up to the ketamine, I had intense anxiety around new medications. I would cry because I had no idea how it would affect me. I finally got to the point where I just refused to try anything new.

I share this because at some point, you’ve met or heard of someone who has a mental illness who “was off their meds” so to speak. To the outsider, to those who at least accept that medication has a very important place in mental health care, it seems bewildering. Why would you stop taking a medication that keeps you level? It seems… crazy.

The thing is, these are mind-altering drugs. Not mind-altering in an LSD sort of way, but they have an affect on the brain which is really the whole point. Unfortunately, they come with side effects. Sometimes those side effects are bearable but sometimes they get to be too much even if one is used to them. It’s a trade off and there are days or weeks when it seems like that trade off might not be worth it.

In my own life, I have ketamine. It makes me loopy for a couple hours and then just leaves me tired. I can’t drive and my thinking is a bit sluggish. This happens every four days. I have two kids, I homeschool, and I have a household to manage. Being exhausted and unable to drive can put me in a bind. I struggle with feeling like I’m inconveniencing my family and friends. I even struggle with stigma in talking about it because antidepressants are hard enough for people to wrap their minds around, but ketamine? It’s new and being prescribed to me off-label through a compounding pharmacy. I sometimes even pick up on skepticism when I’m talking to medial professionals and I want to scream, “This is the only thing that has ever touched my depression!!!!” As though I have to justify myself for taking it even though I have the support of two psychiatrists and a clinical psychologist.

This is me who we’re talking about. Me, who is open about my struggles, who fights stigma, who will brazenly talk about her depression in front of a group of people and will tell haters where to stuff it — I feel these things. Now take what I’m feeling, remove my support system, add to it side effects that are worse (weight gain, dizziness, nausea, etc) plus people who are constantly belittling you for taking meds or needing meds and a society that does a poor job of supporting those with mental illness and is it really any mystery why someone with a mental illness might “go off their meds” sometimes? I have it a lot better than most people which is why I’m talking about it.

My point is this, those of us who require medication are grappling with a struggle inside of ourselves. Many of us have been invalidated in our experiences. Many of us have been given unhelpful or even harmful advice. While I’m not advocating that a person needs to censor themselves, I would say to consider your words.

It’s hard enough to take medication that comes with its own package of risk and benefit. Consider that the person taking it needs it, most likely, and love them when they struggle with the drawbacks. Don’t invalidate their struggle when they are wrestling with whether or not to take the next dose. Instead, hear them and help them carry the burden. Do a load of laundry. Cook them something easy on the stomach. Offer to schedule an appointment. Hold them if they cry.

And when you don’t know what to do, just listen. Sometimes that’s all we need.

It’s been a year since I last updated this blog though it’s not for lack of trying. It’s truly difficult to know where to begin when talking about a topic that has affected my life both in depth and breadth. How do I say everything I want to say? I can’t.

There aren’t words to express the what this last year has been like. It’s been amazing. It’s been complicated. It’s been confusing. It’s had uncertainties. It’s had tears. It’s had laughter. It’s had… everything. To try to express how experiencing everything while not carrying the full weight of my depression is impossible. With the length of time I’ve lived with my depression, I’ve learned to articulate what it feels like. In trying to articulate my life without it being the elephant on my chest, I feel like a toddler trying to find words and stumbling over myself.

The complexities of my experience, for the sake of brevity, I will simplify. Ketamine is both fast acting yet short lived. My depression is still here, inside me. After the infusions we went to injections and from injections, I’ve moved to a nasal spray. Each switch has required a learning curve which would take a post in and of itself to talk about. Right now, I do a nasal spray every four days. If I go longer, my depression comes back and quickly. I go from doing okay to feeling blah to intense depression within 24-48 hours. That is extremely stressful on my psyche. As long as I stick to my regimen, my depression remains dormant.

I won’t complain though. In the last year I’ve seen the most beautiful colors. I’ve breathed deeply. I’ve experienced joy and hope and laughter. I’ve cried and I’ve mourned and I’ve felt all my emotions. I will take God’s miracles and mercies as He gives them to me.

I have a lot of learning to do still. After decades of horrible days, I have to learn how to have bad days. Sometimes I have a bad day and I slip into catastrophic thinking. Other times I’ve been under stress, or not had enough sleep or had tragedy and struggled to be okay existing in sadness and not trying to ignore it. This is why I still go to therapy. Like a child learning her colors, I am learning my emotions, getting reacquainted and trying to understand them.

Be patient with me as I sort it out. If I disappear, it’s likely that there was a hiccup in my routine or I’m struggling to deal with the everyday. If I seem unsure or hesitant, I have not yet gained my confidence in commitments. Often my depression would lay me out for weeks and I hated flaking out so I simply didn’t agree to anything. I’m starting to step up but I still get nervous and my anxiety flares up.

And if you want to know about depression, anxiety, therapy, ketamine, and/or how my faith in Christ fits with all of it… let me know. I have no shame in my struggles. They are what they are.

“It would be a very sharp and trying experience to me to think that I have an affliction which God never sent me, that the bitter cup was never filled by his hand, that my trials were never measured out by him, nor sent to me by his arrangement of their weight and quantity.” (Charles Spurgeon)

I’ve tried to write this post about a dozen times and I end up feeling overwhelmed by the sheer amount of things I want to say. So I’m going to try to strip it down bare, stick with the nitty gritty, and write more later if I think what I wanted to say (but didn’t) needs to be said.

I have lived most of my life wondering how people get out of bed in the morning and function. I’ve been hospitalized three times. I’ve taken enough antidepressants that when a doctor sees my list their eyebrows go up. I’ve even done a round of ECT (never. again.). There is nothing quite so difficult as to live life in a way that isn’t really living. It’s existing. It’s torture. It’s hell on earth. There aren’t enough Hallmark cards and fluffy cat videos to make it okay. I can read my Bible for hours and I still want to die because the emotional pain is unbearable. It’s exhausting, soul-sucking, and demoralizing.

My depression has kept my therapist on his toes. The result is that he and my psychiatrist have kept their ears to the ground in terms of treatment options.

Over the last few years, I’ve been hearing murmurs of a drug, ketamine, being used in lower doses to help treatment resistant depression. The trials have been extremely promising, and while a few boutique clinics have opened up across the country, access has been limited. Furthermore, since it’s being used off-label in these clinics, insurance companies aren’t wont to cough up for it, leaving the hefty price tag for the patient to pick up.

A couple of months ago, however, it came to my mental health team’s attention that there was a psychiatrist at a nearby hospital offering ketamine infusions and having luck pushing it through insurance. With little else to try, I was referred over and after meeting with this psychiatrist, I was set up to do six infusions over three weeks. The psychiatrist had participated in a small clinical trial dealing only with patients diagnosed with depression and they had seen a 90% success rate with moods remaining stable a month after treatment ended. In his own experience, he told me he’d seen a third with similar success, a third with no respond, and a third with some response and that some people opted for maintenance treatments.

Given where my depression was, my expectations were low. I was desperate.

I don’t want to paint this treatment as a miracle treatment. However, after living most of my life with this nightmare in my own brain, battling suicidal ideation, and trying to do more than merely survive, this treatment was… well, let me just say that I hope it becomes more widespread to give other people out there like me a shot at sanity.

The first treatment was like a breath of fresh air. My most distinct memory was that it felt like the five elephants sitting on my chest all got up. I took a physical, deep breath and I was flabbergasted at my ability to breathe. After, the most noticeable change was how quiet my mind was. The suicidal thoughts that had plagued me since I was a kid were gone. Gone. I was still depressed but I didn’t want to die.

Gradually, over the course of the treatments, there continued to be improvement. By the time I got to the last one, I was ready to be done. I went from scoring a 27+ on the PHQ-9 to scoring somewhere between a 5-10. I really can’t express the magnitude of that change.

I feel like my head is still spinning from such a drastic change over a short period of time.

It’s now been a week since my last infusion and I meet with the psychiatrist again next week. I’m still holding my breath somewhat because while I’ve seen a significant improvement, it’s only been a week. My depression could reassert itself and my therapist does think it’s likely I’ll need some kind of maintenance, but really we don’t know. Using ketamine for depression is still experimental (the drug isn’t, the treatment is). There’s a lot they simply don’t know.

So right now it’s wait and see.

That being said, I’m enjoying where I’m at for the moment. To be able to experience the full range emotions with nothing buzzing around in the background threatening to drown me is unusual. I finally understand how people get out of bed. I finally understand how people pursue interests. I understand what it is to cry and not have the sorrow turn into a deluge. To experience stress and not have it crumble me into pieces.

Part of that is the work of my pretty fantastic therapist and the dialectical behavioral therapy team at the clinic I go to. Despite the fact that they didn’t really touch my depression, I practiced the skills and internalized them. And now, now I can use them and they do something.

I’ll end my post here. With a toddler, I don’t have much time for editing so forgive my mistakes. I’m happy to answer questions about it and I’ll try to write more in the future, maybe focusing on the experience, and updating as to how I’m feeling.

Until then, peace out.


Bad FaithRecently Dr. Paul Offit, a doctor and author who I greatly respect, wrote a new book, Bad Faith: When Religious Belief Undermines Modern Medicine. I knew from reading reviews and from participating in a conference call through Voices for Vaccines that this was going to be a hard book to read. Not just as a Christian, but also as a mother. I know the most visceral emotion I feel when my children are in pain, the fear when I don’t know what’s wrong, the panic when the fever starts to creep up. I won’t read books or stories where children suffer and die. I avoid news headlines. So picking up this book and knowing what’s in it is a difficult and painful thing for me to do.

I’m going to review this book chapter by chapter from the perspective of a Christian (I’m a Calvinist), a pastor’s wife, and a mother. This isn’t going to be cold and analytical, these are going to be my emotions and perhaps even my tears.

Dr. Offit, in his introduction, commends religion for the good acts and in fact dedicates this book to “all those who perform good deeds in the name of their faith.” I respect that he hasn’t taken a hostile view like Dawkins or Hitchens and that he admits the good commands that those who believe are called to do. While I don’t believe good works is how we enter into heaven (salvation is through faith in Christ), I do hear what James says when he writes that faith without works is dead in this.

Chapter One

I know the second I see the name and the religion where the story is going to end and my stomach churns and twists. I hate Christian Science. I hate it. I don’t hate the people within, I hate the lie that they’ve been told. Before I explain the story of Rita Swan, who watched her child die of a preventable illness (bacterial meningitis), I want to quote Offit with regards to Christian Science as I think it is incredibly accurate:

Eddy used the term Science because healings could be demonstrated, and Christian because healings follow the ministry of Jesus. Christian Science, however, differs from Christianity in nearly every central doctrine; mot importantly, whereas Christians believe that Jesus died for their sins, Christian Scientists believe that Jesus died to prove that diseases aren’t real. As for the word Science, Christian Science doesn’t incorporate any known scientific discipline. Arguably, Christian Science is neither Christian nor Science.

This is vital to understand no matter your faith or lack thereof. Christian Scientists aren’t Christians. Furthermore their beliefs are deadly. This is evident in Rita’s story.

For an opening chapter, this packs a punch. I could barely breathe as I read through the Christian Science practitioners blaming Rita for not believing enough. That they all stood by, so convinced of a lie, that when this child was screaming in pain they did nothing. Admittedly, I grabbed my toddler and I held him so tightly and yes, I thanked God for vaccines, for the doctors at our local clinic, for modern medicine.

I held back tears when Rita and her husband realized much too late that they’d been lied to.

This is how the chapter ends, with the death of a child. A baby.

It’s only chapter one and I’m furious.





One of my top posts, one that gets hits almost every week, is my Jamberry review post. When I wrote it, I really didn’t expect it to hang around as long as it did, but it has and the top search is the title of this post.

Does Jamberry damage nails?

First, just a reminder, I’m not a consultant. I was for all of five minutes and quickly went back to being a customer because that’s the role I prefer.

IMG_5015Second, this is my personal blog so really, no one’s paying me to write any of this. I just really like Jamberry to a ridiculous extent.

So – do they damage nails?

Well, the honest answer is, they can. It’s a heat activated adhesive that sticks the wrap to your nail. If you’re hoping to just tear that sucker off, then bad news, yes, you’re going to damage your nails.

Have I damaged my nails? Yes. In pretty much every single case, I was impatient. Rather than take the time to carefully remove my wraps (which, on me, last about two weeks), I’d try to get them off quickly. Inevitably I ended up with some rough looking nails, primarily at the tips where my lack of patience showed. When I took my time, I didn’t damage my nails. Amazing how that works, right?

This is my preferred method for removing nails:

1. Heat. I get my mini heater and I heat the wrap I want to remove.
2. Gentle lift. I work the wrap up, just a little, at the base of my nail near the cuticle.
3. Oil. I like lemon essential oil for this step. I put a drop where the wrap is lifted and continue to apply heat while I carefully work the wrap away from the nail. If I feel resistance, I add a drop or two more as needed.
4. More heat. I don’t hold my finger right up on the heater, but close enough that I feel it without burning.

Once I’ve removed all my wraps, I’ll use some acetone to clean off any sticky residue and then maybe massage in some cuticle oil. Using this method I haven’t damaged my nails. You could use acetone instead of oil. I prefer the oil because I have dry skin and it’s a little nicer to me.

Moral of the story: The nails have to stick and in order to last two weeks they have to stick tough. So take your time and it’ll all be okay.

When it gets too heavy…

Posted: March 7, 2015 in Depression, Life

I wasn’t sure whether or not I was going to write this. 11 19 11_1542

There’s not an easy way to come out and say, “Hey, my psychiatrist made me check into the psych ward at the local hospital.”

I’ve spent the last few years trying to push back against the stigma of mental illness. I’ve tried to be open as best that I can. I’ve tried to answer questions honestly. It’s not easy. People want to solve your problems even when you ask them not to. They don’t know that they don’t have the whole story. I don’t publish every single facet of my depression. I share what I can, what I can endure to have critiqued, and the rest I save for those closest to me. Sometimes they don’t even get the full story.

When a person is hospitalized for anything other than a mental illness, it’s easily discussed. People will post about it on Facebook or it’ll go out in the prayer chain or whatever. A psych ward visit though… people don’t know what to say. They don’t know what to do. It’s spoken about in hushed whispers. Without intending to, the message gets sent that going to the hospital for a mental illness is shameful. How broken does your mind have to be to land you there?

I don’t want to give the details here, on a public blog. Suffice to say that both my therapist and my psychiatrist were in agreement that I needed to go in. My psychiatrist told me I either went or he put a psychiatric hold on me. My therapist and my psychiatrist are long suffering people who would not have made this decision if it weren’t absolutely necessary.

Sometimes the despair gets to be too heavy. Sometimes the darkness is too thick. Sometimes life feels like a millstone around my neck. Sometimes it looks like there’s only one solution and it has nothing to do with feeling unloved or unwanted. Sometimes I just want it to stop hurting.

Right now my therapist (with his PhD) and my psychiatrist (with his MD) are helping me come up with some creative, scientifically based, solutions. (I say this every time – I don’t want any advice or suggestions. I have a fantastic team and I don’t need folk remedies). I trust them and I’m safe in their care.

So why am I sharing this? Because I’m not okay. Because I’m not okay and I refuse to be ashamed.

We’re all broken in some way, and these are the pieces I’m in.

I’ve been actively seeking help for my depression for a little over six years now. With the mental health professionals in my life, we’ve come to the conclusion that whatever is wrong with me, it’s biological (note: please don’t take this as an invitation to give me medical advice – I’m really not interested). This means let’s throw lots and lots of medications at me and hope something sticks.

Right now I’m in the throes of one more medication. After a plenty of zero luck, my psychiatrist recommended genetic testing. We discovered that I’ve got a short list of “good” meds to try and a long list of “don’t even bother” and this is my last med on the “good” list (all the genetic testing does is look at how your body metabolizes a med, it doesn’t say whether or not it’ll actually work or even if you’ll get all the side effects).

I just contacted my psychiatrist for a second time this week about side effects. The first one was in regards to heart palpitations (yes, it’s a side effect, no it’s not serious, no we don’t know if it’ll pass like the nausea which I’m also experiencing). The recent one was whether or not it was making my depression worse. Paxil makes my depression worse even though it’s in my “don’t even bother” list. Three steps forward, ten steps back. I need scientists to science harder please.

The maddening part about trying to figure out if it’s making my depression worse is that I have pretty bad depression to begin with. No one really knows except for me to pick out a few new symptoms (for example: I don’t generally cry and I’ve cried everyday this week. Also I love to eat and in the last couple weeks I’ve decided eating is for other people).

I’m sure my psychiatrist just loves hearing from me. (“Seriously, suck it up woman!” I imagine him thinking. Which really he’s a nice guy so I don’t know why he would be thinking that towards me.)

So why am I writing this? Partly because I haven’t updated in a while. Partly because if I seem to disappear or to be extra forgetful, it’s not you, it’s me. I probably want to throw up or throw in the towel or both. Please be patient while we try to fix my brain. :-/

The Holidays & Depression

Posted: December 23, 2014 in Christmas, Depression, God
Tags: ,

This has beeDay 12n a tough year. Well, actually a tough couple of years. After pushing through two Christmases, I hit this year and asked my husband if I could cancel Christmas. I think he thought I was joking. He gave me a hug because he knows how depressed I am, and has mostly taken over the Christmas duties. We’ve done very little past our advent calendar with daily Bible devotion and the tree is sparsely decorated. I put on the lights and moved a few ornaments, that’s it.

Last year, I baked. I don’t know how I had the motivation, but I did and so there were Christmas treats sent out.

This year, my parents canceled their visit to us (I’ve cried repeatedly about this). I’ve had terrible side effects as we’ve tried to find proper medication (Paxil made me intensely suicidal, to the point hospitalization was whispered around me, thankfully we figured out it was the medication), and so, I’m worn out.

Dealing with the severe depression I do leaves me with very little emotional energy to begin with. To have it sucked out of me… well all I want to do is crawl into bed and wait until spring when at least I can escape with my iPod and a long walk and get some sunshine.

In all of that though, perhaps the part that leaves me the most discouraged is that I want to celebrate Christ. I’ve had Christmases where I feel a little something inside reading about the host of angels filling the sky, singing. I’ve felt deep sadness at the deaths of those that Herod killed because of his pride and fear. I’ve read the story in wonder and in awe.

This year… I don’t even know what to write.

Not even E’s effusive excitement makes me feel anything at all.

From John Piper’s talk on Charles Spurgeon:

“Causeless depression cannot be reasoned with, nor can David’s harp charm it away by sweet discoursings. As well fight with the mist as with this shapeless, undefinable, yet all-beclouding hopelessness … The iron bolt which so mysteriously fastens the door of hope and holds our spirits in gloomy prison, needs a heavenly hand to push it back.”

And I wonder at times why God does not push it back? I know the intellectual answer and my heart hurts all the same.

“Oh look, she’s writing about vaccines again,” they said.

Recently, the FDA announced that it has approved Gardasil 9, a vaccine that protects against nine strains of HPV (the one currently on the schedule protects against four). HPV, Human Papillomavirus to get technical, causes genital warts and is linked to several types of cancer, the most common being cervical cancer. It is, frankly, a pretty awesome vaccine. In the words of my doctor, “It prevents cancer!”


via RtAVM

That being said, the HPV vaccine has been a hard sell to parents. There are a number of theories why and most come down to a parental reluctance to deal with their children and sexuality. HPV is sexually transmitted and it’s estimated that most will be exposed at some point in their lives. Because of the nature of the vaccine, it’s a popular one for vaccine deniers to lampoon through false rumors and misinformation. Couple that with parental fears and Facebook, and it starts to look like an uphill battle.

So, for the sake of brevity, let me dispel some of that misinformation – No, Diane Harper was not a lead researcher and no she didn’t say what you think she said. Also, no, the HPV vaccine isn’t killing anyone, it’s actually an incredibly safe vaccine. And finally, no, it’s not making kids more promiscuous.

Putting aside the blatant misinformation passed around, if I can even get someone to admit that it’s misinformation, the most common argument I hear from parents is either, “I’m going to teach them safe sex” (which doesn’t really protect them) or, “We believe that sex is for marriage and so if our kid isn’t having sex until marriage, they don’t need this vaccine.”

I’m theologically conservative, which probably doesn’t mean what most of you think it means, but for this particular post, it does mean that I believe that sex is for marriage. It’s part of a greater system of belief so if you think that’s absurd, that’s fine, move along because I’m not talking to you (or stay and figure out how to talk with your conservative friend(s)). My hope, in writing this post, is to explain why I intend to vaccinate my children per the CDC schedule and why I think it’s important that others who believe like me do so as well.

Here are the reasons I plan on vaccinating my kids (currently I only have boys):

1. Not all sex is consensual.

If I had a single silver bullet to the “no sex before marriage” it’s this one. Man or woman, rape and sexual assault happen. I’ll go ahead and pre-empt this thought that might be half-forming in some people’s minds – would you tell your son or daughter that they were “asking” for it if they got raped, no matter the circumstances? Rape is a horrendous act. One with many lasting consequences, some longer than others. HPV can cause cancer in both men and women and it usually happens years later. If I can protect my child against one more painful experience with a simple, safe series of shots that I don’t even have to pay for, count me in.

2. Children make poor choices.

Maybe you’re the rare bird that didn’t make a single bad choice, like ever, and certainly didn’t struggle in waiting until marriage for sex. Newsflash, the rest of us were very eager to get married because waiting is hard even if you really, really, really believe it. Some wait and are successful. Others slip up. Are abnormal pap smears, discomfort from genital warts, or death from cancer all something you would wish on a child because of a bad choice? Call me crazy if you will, but I think cancer is a little over the top when it comes to punishment for slipping up.

3. Children don’t always follow their parents.

I hate this one. The idea that my children might reject what I believe is scary. I don’t believe what I do just because I’m trying to be cool (kickin’ it Puritan style). What I believe is vital to who I am and my life. I pray for my children. I love them. I want them to believe.

I also know I can’t make them believe. God regenerates the heart, not me. Homeschooling them, taking them to church, family Bible studies… these don’t change hearts. Certainly I pray that God will honor the work and love I have poured into them and at the same time, I’m not God.

So, if they choose a different path, I want them protected. I want there to be as much time as possible for God to work in them. I don’t want them passing along something to their future spouse. I don’t want them getting sick themselves.

I could never say to my child, “Good riddance, you totally deserve the agony you’re going through right now.” I’m pretty sure most of the people I know would say the same.

4. I know one shot doesn’t undo years of discipleship and training.

Maybe this shot daunts some parents because what do we say? I plan on being honest. I still have a few years to work it out and I also know that I have a thoughtful kid. I’m raising my children in a world that doesn’t believe like we do, that things happen sometimes that we can’t control, that this is one more way for me to protect him.

That being said, sometimes we don’t give ourselves or our kids enough credit. We live with all sorts of experiences and beliefs that on the surface look contradictory, but when we dig down are connected together in a way that is incredibly complex. Part of growing up is realizing that not everything is black and white and learning how to navigate the gray. Our kids are often more intuitive than we realize.

5. You don’t know what their future spouse has gone through.

I don’t know the road my children’s spouses will walk. Maybe they grew up believing the same things I teach my children. Maybe they didn’t. Maybe their parents read one too many Facebook posts and didn’t vaccinate them against HPV. Maybe my child goes wayward and then marries someone who didn’t go wayward. Just like what I wrote above – I don’t want anyone getting sick, my child or his future wife.

6. I’ve seen what cervical cancer can do.

I won’t elaborate on this because it still hurts my heart. There is nothing like watching a friend die. I’ll be honest, if my head wasn’t in this, having seen the agony firsthand, my heart jumped in with both feet. I never want to see this happen to my children or their spouses.

So here I am at the end.

Maybe at this point you think I’m a liberal heathen (even though I said that I thought sex was for marriage and I think the Reformation is awesome and most of my liberal friends try to pretend I don’t believe half of what I do). Or maybe you sat through my post for some reason but still think I’m just a vaccine nut (or a religious one; Calvinists are a little crazy, I won’t lie). Maybe, though, you still have doubts. If it’s the last one on that list, I’m happy to answer questions, soothe fears, assuage doubts. I care about kids. All kids. Including yours :)


Perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of dealing with depression, particularly chronic depression, is seeking treatment.

There’s a stigma with mental illness and that stigma gets multiplied and added to any conventional treatment. Antidepressants are derided, whether it be through hushed whispers about ‘happy pills’ or those who have never faced true darkness simply hand waving the depression away. “If only she would eat a paleo diet and run twenty miles a day…” It’s an exaggeration, and yet with depression, that’s exactly what every dietary/exercise suggestion sounds like.

The implication, whether the person realizes it or not, is that it’s my fault somehow. I’m not strong enough, smart enough, fast enough, positive enough, optimistic enough, committed to my health enough. I’m not enough. I’m a failure. I’m broken because I broke myself somehow. I am unworthy. I am small. I am weak. I need medication. I can’t find medication.

Something about me is broken and it’s my fault.

As with anything there’s a kernel of truth. I live in a fallen world with sin and we’re all broken on some level, just my brokenness shows up in the form of an impossible darkness.

And from there I get a lot of “You just need to have faith in Jesus.” I used to wonder what that meant because the truth is, it’s my faith that gets me up in the morning and gets me to take care of my children. So far God has done nothing about this weight on my shoulders and I honestly don’t know if he will. In America we like to think all our problems can be solved because we can get a cheeseburger down the road or drive to Whole Foods and buy organic kale and vaccines work so well we think they must not have worked at all.

11 19 11_1540God doesn’t work like that, I say. No one listens. Because the idea that one might have to live with a wound that hurts for the rest of one’s life is too much to bear.

I know because I bear it and there are many moments I don’t know if I will make it to the next one.

It’s a lonely road to commit oneself to the path I’ve chosen. Naturopaths are swindlers and alternative medicine is a scam 99% of the time. Pharmaceutical companies aren’t altruistic, so I find good doctors, the ones that want to help. That doesn’t stop people from suggesting supplements and acupuncture which I smile graciously and don’t bother with. It’s too easy to get sucked into a world where my idol is health. I’ve made a decision as to what I will try and what I won’t try and it’s based on my faith and what I believe about God and salvation. It’s more complicated than I can explain on a blog post and more personal than I would want to share in public anyway.

I’m very tired these days. Maybe it’s the winter. Maybe it’s one more medication that hasn’t worked but has given me frustrating side effects. Maybe it’s a depression that dogs my every step and has haunted me since I was a child.

Maybe it’s the loneliness of realizing that no matter how much help I ask for, it’ll never be enough because no one else can fight my demons.