We’ll talk about drugs more later, but here is my initial take on drugs. (Remember, I’m a pastor, not a doctor, Jim!)
1. Drugs are good. It’s First Article stuff. Whether you are talking about natural or homeopathic remedies, or good ole fashion home grown medication, it is a gift from God. It is part of how God takes care of us through the means of doctors, diet, medication, counseling, etc. Of course, the chief thing for the Christian is the strengthening of the faith by Word and Sacrament. This may not make you feel better (there’s another post for ya), but it certainly is the most important.
2. It is not a sign of weakness to take medication. If your children were sick, you would give them medicine. If your leg was broken, you you wear a cast an probably take pain medication. While opinions and mileage may vary, most experts suggest that depression and anxiety is about 70% biochemical. What that means among other things is that it is very difficult to overcome depression and anxiety disorder without medication.
3. It is a sign of weakness to take medication. Yes, I know, this is a bit of a paradox. But part of what we pastors have to come to realize is that A) We’re human, B) We’re fallible, C) We can succomb to sickness and disease as much as the next sinner, and that D) that doesn’t make us a bad pastor or a bad person. That means that Christ has come for us. Our Lord knows that pastors are weak and in need of His strength and healing. It is arrogance and pride on our part to believe that we can do all things without Christ who strengthens us.
4. When dealing with medication, go to the right kind of doctor. Many general practitioners will prescribe anti-depressants, anti-anxiety medication, etc etc etc. While this may work, I don’t recommend going this way. All medication is a bit of hit and miss, and this is especially true when it comes to medication that affects the mind. Go to a psychiatrist. Talk about your family history. Get whatever tests needs to be done. But if you are serious about wanting to get better, then go to the doctor who can help with the medication part of it.
5. Medication isn’t everything. While medication is a key component (in my opinion), it isn’t everything. I have found counseling absolutely invaluable. I have found having a faithful pastor to be more precious than jewels. My family (esp my wife) have supported me in ways that I can never repay. My congregation has also given me amazing support (we’ll talk about that more later). All of these things sort of run together.
So anyway, there’s my thoughts on drugs for the day. FWIW, I’ve been on Wellbutrin, Zoloft, Clonazepam, Trazedone, Xanax, and a few other things along the way.
Be at peace.