Today, a post from an oil friend has me a bit flustered.
This post, in response to a coffee mug that said “Jesus + Lexapro”, told the story of someone who repented for having taken Lexapro, decided to use oils and pray instead, and, in closing, said, “You are worth more! Jesus is the way and he is still in the healed and whole business!”
Let me begin by saying that I am truly the sickest I have ever been right now. I made an emergency work-in appointment with my Rheumy for tomorrow because I cannot get a handle on my pain. I’m limping, my ankles are throbbing, my knees and hips are stiff and agonizing, my spine is burning, my wrists are on fire and my hands aren’t working worth a dern. It’s a great week.
As a result, my anxiety is also much worse than usual.
To live with my anxiety disorder without benzodiazapines, I use Cymbalta (in the same family as Lexapro), oils, prayer, deep breathing, and my service dog, Henry. I need all of them to manage as it is often overwhelming.
Living with severe RA and anxiety disorder is not for the faint of heart. Weeks like this are enough to bring anyone to their knees.
And I can’t imagine trying to survive this without my faith.
I rely on Jesus for everything. I pray constantly and have a prayer folder and a prayer area and I believe He could heal me if that were part of His plan. But He hasn’t. So, right now, it isn’t. So I just continue on, leaning on Him.
And I also believe my oils are a tremendous help to me. Using them for support has made a noticable difference in my anxiety (and I can definitely tell when I don’t use them as well).
However, I would be doing myself a terrible disservice if I didn’t also take the recommended medication that helps both my body pain and my anxiety.
I do need it.
And I do believe it is a tool ordained by God to help me.
And I will likely need to take it for the rest of my life.
And I’m fine with that. And I’m thankful for it.
When I read the post this morning, a range of thoughts and emotions overcame me.
I was angry that someone would suggest – as the body of the post did – that I don’t have enough faith and that’s why I require medication.
I felt judged by someone who couldn’t begin to understand my circumstances so she certainly isn’t able to speak to my healthcare choices.
I felt a profound irritation as I’ve fought this sort of thinking as a nurse for years and I really resent it. We don’t tell diabetics they need to stop their insulin and we shouldn’t be telling mental health patients that they need to stop their meds either. Good grief.
Finally, I felt a deep resentment for the arrogance (or maybe it’s privilege? Maybe both.) of the person writing what she did. I can honestly say, especially during weeks like this, that some days I wake up in such terrible pain and with such accompanying anxiety that I don’t know how I will push through. The thoughts that go through my head at times like these are such that I only express them to one of my besties who is also a spoonie because she experiences them too (they would scare the hell out of anybody else). After I sit with those thoughts though, I pray, breathe, use my oils, TAKE MY MEDS, and get on with it.
The suicide rate among chronic pain patients is three times that of the healthy population because every day of our lives involves suffering. I am blessed in that I am also have many things that bring me joy and many things to look forward to as well. Still, that doesn’t take away the pain. Or the fact that I need all the help that I can get to live with conditions I am fighting.
I will not be shamed for needing medication. I will not feel “less than” because I have not been able to treat my pain and anxiety with oils and prayer. I will not apologize for attacking what can be a life ending disease with every available resource to be certain it is not life ending for me.
Instead, I will use every resource available to me and thank God for them all. And I will stand up to those who are spreading misinformation like this because, when it can cause people to abruptly stop the meds they need with dire consequences, it’s not okay. And I will keep on fighting my fight every day. And, no matter what outsiders assume, I will keep trusting Him to lead the way.