Follow Up

Yesterday we drove ten hours to get to Agape Festival in Greenville, IL (we play tonight at midnight. Little do they know, I have a 10:30 pm bedtime. This might create a slight problem).

We got in late and the front desk lady told us exactly where to park the van and trailer. This is usually the first thing we try and get settled since most hotels are not equipped for our big ole van of love. Apparantly the alley she told us was not really and alley but a road. And we got a call this morning at 5:23 am informing us that if the van was not moved it would be towed.

Rude wake up call.

Anyways, I thought I would let you know that in light of that, I have basically been a calm angel today. Not even remotely wanting to kill anyone. (And please know that I use the word 'kill' in the most loose, sarcastic way possible).

I loved all of your thoughts on my confession of struggling with anxiety and panic attacks. Ok, and also ADD and a mild form of obsessive compulsive disorder....jeez, I sound like a clinical trial.

I really appreciated the person who admitted judging people like me in the past. I too judged people who took "medicine" to fix their "emotional" problems for a very long time. My dad got one of his graduate degrees in counseling, so I grew up with a shrink around the house and that was loads of fun! Through no fault of his own, as I learned about medicines and more importantly saw some of the people in my life who took them, I automatically associated taking medicine with lazy, messed-up, crazy people. Mainly girls. People saw my dad because there was something wrong with them, they needed help.

And clearly, I was above having problems and needing help with anything.

That was my mindset. But a very Godly woman who spent several years with me in therapy was able to break me free of this arrogant and ignorant belief. She helped me to realize that much like diabetes or cancer, chemical imbalances in your brain that cause mental illnesses are just as equally a disease that is beyond your control. You would no more chose to have a panic attack than you would an asthma attack or lupus or diabetes. And if you were told you had diabetes you would take the treatment for why not take the treatment for anxiety, depression, and other disorders?

For me, this decision did not come lightly. I refused to take medicine for five years after I was diagnosed. And when my dad and a dear friend named Patty told me that I could have such a different life and encouraged me to give the medicines a chance....I hated their guts. But I began to wonder if I could be a more healthy person and what if, just what if, it made my life look different?

I cried all the way to the pharmacy. And you would've thought I was giving my self a lethal pill when I took the first pill. I was bawling. I was ashamed of myself and felt defeated. Because it had to do with my mind I was convinced I should be able to fix it on my own. But we can't fix our own diseases. If we could, we would never see those little pink ribbons ever again...and the world would be a more beautiful place.

I felt like a total loser for days. I was one of those girls now.

But then one night I fell asleep. No bad dreams. No fifty million thoughts going through my head. No counting the ticks of the clock and the constant circles of the fan. I woke up and for three days straight I didn't have any chest pains. And a few weeks later I realized I had not been sick and no fake heart attacks. I was talking at church a few weeks later and realized that I wasn't sweating and freaking out in my head. And it had been a long time since I had floated out of my own body and disconnected with the world and watched everything from a different place. A few months in...and I felt balanced.

Same Jenny. My personality wasn't gone. I was not a zombie and I didn't cry all the time, I assumed both of those things would happen. But nothing happened. I was still me.

My head was just a little more calm. And that was a great gift.

What a personal and hard decision this was for me. As I am sure it is for most if you are ever faced with it, don't be afraid. Use caution, wisdom, guidance, prayer and remember you are created in the image of God. We are blessed to have access to doctors and nurses and medicines that can help our bodies. And that is amazing. As with everything in life...we approach it and the people who are dealing with it...with grace.