Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Evils of Medication

In a perfect world, we would never need anti-anxiety and depression medication. We would be perfectly happy with everything that we were given and every situation that we face. There would be no shame associated with needing the medication nor would there be a feeling of failure if you have to take it. It simply wouldn't exist. Until we reach eternity, that just simply isn't the case. Here in this sinful, fallen world, we need medicine sometimes to help us through our lives. Sometimes things get so overwhelming that assistance is needed.

I always find it ironic that most people are willing to take pain relievers when they have a headache or antacids when they have indigestion, but they are scared to take their anti-anxiety or depression medication when they need it. I haven't been able to decide if it is a fear of the medicine because it's strong enough to need a prescription or if it is a fear of what it stands for. So what does it stand for?

I am a sinner. I am a failure. I cannot control myself on my own, I need something to stabilize me. That is a crippling thing to think that it stands for! It makes one out to be nothing; someone who cannot function without help. It makes it so that we are not self-sufficient and that is something that we do not want to be. On top of it, what will others think of us? Will they think that we are crazy and that we should be avoided? Will I be shunned in society?

Unfortunately, if this is what admitting the disorder and taking the medication entails, many people want nothing of it. They would rather suffer in their own personal hells alone than admit to the problem, and in that they have a prison of their own making, spiritually and socially.

Socially, if you don't have something to stabilize you and you really need it, people are going to shun and avoid you. If you cannot control your temper, your depression, your incessant worry, and the like, people are going to steer clear of you because they don't want to deal with such negativity! They are dealing with enough on their own!!! They don't want to carry your burdens because they are overflowing onto their lives. They will try for a while, but eventually, they just won't be able to keep up with their stuff and yours. Untreated disorders bring exactly what some see medication as bringing: detachment from others. If cognitive behaviour therapy and other natural means control your disease, congrats! For those that it doesn't work for, remember that untreated is so much worse than treated!

Spiritually speaking, it's an even bigger mess. This idea that we can do it on our own without any help can spill over into our life with God as well. After all, if you think you can beat your disorder on your own, you might very well start to think that you can beat your sin on your own, too. All of the diseases on earth have one common root: sin. This root means that no matter how much we try to prolong or improve life, the wages of sin is death and that means disease as well, including depression and anxiety. It has many varieties, but the cause is all the same and we know that we cannot defeat sin on our own. If we could, there would be no need for Christ. Christ, who felt everything we felt, including anxiety that caused Him to sweat His blood, was perfect in keeping all the Commandments so that He was given as a perfect sacrifice for the redemption of His people. He did it all for us because we couldn't. Sometimes that's how God works with medication, too. When we are in our depths and cannot help ourselves, God works through means- a tablet or capsule- to alleviate the disorder within it. Spiritually, He gives His body and blood in with and under the bread and wine in Holy Communion as the medicine of immortality, and the medication for our disorders as the specific and temporary balm for our brand of sin.

Do I think medication is evil? Not when you really need it, so don't fear it. Instead, respect it and give glory to God that you have been given a gift by Him to help you work through your disorder.