To drug, or not to drug? This was the question I put before myself a few years ago in the course of my self-examination and recovery from porn (lust) addiction. The human body has 5 vital organs: the brain, the heart, the liver, the lungs, the kidneys. If one of my organs was malfunctioning, and medication was deemed necessary, I would not have hesitated to medicate 4 out of 5 of those organs, but the brain, for some reason, was different.
The reason, I concluded, was twofold. First, my father suffered from severe mental health disorders, and I feared being like him. Second, oddly enough for someone as close to the fire as I was with my dad, I had developed a stigma towards mental illness and those who suffered with it, and I did not want to be one of them. Somewhere along the line I started to view the need to medicate the brain as a weakness. I struggled to be honest about it, but I had labeled those people with a label I did not want to carry.
So there I was, confronted with another first thanks to my path of recovery from addiction. For the first time I became willing to consider not only the idea that I may suffer from mental illness, but also that I should consider medicating if I did. Why, I reasoned, should I treat this organ differently than any other?
My belief was that I might be suffering from depression. My life was improving tremendously. I was becoming much more comfortable inside my own skin, but I often still woke up feeling uninspired to face the day. I still felt anxious about many things. It still felt sometimes like I had a cloud hanging over my head. Was this depression? I wanted to know. But what I found was that I had a hard time believing that it was. I wanted to KNOW, and if I could know, THEN I would be willing to medicate. So I talked to several people; my doctor, my wife, my psychologist, my friends, my fellows in recovery, my Heavenly Father. And in the end, I kind of wound up in the same spot; not knowing.
After more prayer I decided that I had more to lose by NOT trying anti-depressants. After all, nothing was permanent. So I swallowed my pride, repented of my close-mindedness, and started swallowing Escitalopram as well. The visit with my doctor, I should mention, was uninspiring. I had hoped for more individualized care, but felt like this must be the drug he subscribed everyone who thinks they have depression. Escitalopram is an SSRI, and thus falls in the family of some of the drugs I remember my dad taking for his issues. I pressed on, despite my insecurities, and made the drug a part of my everyday life.
It is now two years later, and I have been taking Escitalopram the entire time. Things are good. Life is good. But WHY is it good? Because of improved choices? The twelve steps? Better communication with my wife? With God? Because of the anti-depressants?
I may just be hard-headed, but once again I find myself in a similar spot to the one I was in before the drugs. And so recently I agreed with my (new and improved) doctor that I would taper off, and see how it goes. See if I could alleviate my doubts. I am a few weeks into that tapering process and I still have questions, but I feel like I may be closer to my answer, and that being that I do indeed suffer from depression. I’m going to give the tapering process a little more time. I’m learning to accept the state of not knowing. It’s okay. If it is meant to be revealed to me, it will happen. But that is not up to me. I’m in charge of the efforts, not the results, so I’ll keep efforting and hope to learn from the process.
In the meantime, I thought I might share in case it could benefit anyone else out there is going through the same experience. God bless the porn addicts and their friends and families. I know he does. Recovery is awesome, I pray that we all find a little bit of it today.