Saturday, January 21, 2012

just a number...

It is said that age is just a number. That weight is just a number. That income, grade point average, IQ, so many other measurements aren't really measurements at all. They're just numbers.

People cannot be measured in numbers. Can people be measured at all? Really...if everything about a person is "just a number", what does a person become? A number? What happened to the term "human being"?

This week I've been slipping. I've been feeling and thinking so many different things. I remember similar feelings and thoughts, ones I hoped to never revisit. They're not fun. They're painful and lonely. Remembering those things has brought me to remember the "treatment" I went through. It works for a lot of people: the doctor visits, the medications, the therapy sessions. For some, maybe most, those things change lives. For me, those things didn't work. I don't know if it's because I was (and am) a very stubborn person who very much dislikes taking pills and talking to strangers about my deep struggles or what, but for me it didn't do much good. It did some, I'll admit. Just not as much as it does for others.

I hated feeling the affects of a drug on my mental and emotional make up. I could feel myself changing, but it wasn't true change. After a year and a half of medications and therapists I felt a difference only in this way: everything was completely fake. My emotions and thoughts were completely...I don't even know how to describe it. It was like every time I was "happy", I was constantly aware that in the very, very back of my mind I really wasn't happy; that it was a chemical alteration that was causing my real emotions and thoughts to be twisted into an absolutely false optimism. I couldn't really be who I was. The real feeling, thinking me was barricaded behind a facade of pills and doctors telling me things were working. But for me, it wasn't working. That probably makes no sense, but it's just hard to explain.

The therapists were the real kicker though. I sat in an office with a stranger for an hour every week. When you didn't want to be there at all and were taken by force, that hour seemed like a lifetime. And then when the therapist told you more than once that if you really believed in Christ--if you were really following the commandments--you wouldn't be feeling the depression and fear that possessed you, that hour turned into eternity. Then it made me feel even worse about myself, that not only was I a bad person for feeling the way that I did, but that I was also a bad person because if I really had faith I'd be happy. No Faith = Bad Person = No Happiness. Bad equation.

Those people were trying to help me. But they couldn't help me, really. I felt that to them, I was a bunch of numbers on a piece of white paper. I was weight, height, age, gender, class, "on a scale of 1 to 10" selections, yes, no, "do you", "don't you". I still feel that way, which is why I fight this so hard on my own.

I stopped taking medications a year ago. I stopped talking to doctors and therapists. This past year was actually the happiest year of my life. There were some really, really hard days and even weeks, but I came out on top. Right now I'm sliding back into old patterns of thought and behavior. I don't want to be like that. That's why I'm trying so hard. I don't know why it's so hard to talk though--usually people can't get me to shut up.

I don't want to go back to being a number. I don't want to go back to the fake, awful feelings and thoughts I had, the feeling of being trapped and unable to express how things were really working inside. I don't want my happiness to be measured out in milligrams and be put into orange containers with white, child-proof (and sometimes me-proof) lids. I don't want to go back to smiling professionals who waved away my expressions of concern about what I felt was happening. That happened a lot.

From this, you could say that I'm a control freak. I suppose I am. I'm an "I control myself" freak. I don't like outside sources stepping in and taking over. To me it is so very important to work as hard as I can on my own. All of this has taught me many ways to handle the depression and anxiety (admittedly they're not working so well right now). I've come so far on my own in the past two years. Why? Because I put the Lord first (finally figured that one out) and asked Him to help me do this without the pills and therapy sessions. To Christ, you are never a number. Ever. You're always, always, always His lamb, and He is always your Shepherd.

I don't want to be "just a number". I don't want to be a piece of categorical data. I don't want to be a quantitative measure. I am a child of GOD (wow...writing that feels good). He knows me. He knows you. Who but He can help? The master physician, the greatest listener, the best friend.

You are never a number to the Lord. Don't forget that.

1 comment:

Q said...

This was a very mature, insightful discussion of your own mind. I feel sure that this kind of thinking––recognizing your own feelings and not waving them away––can get you out of your dark places. You have come SO far. You can do it.