Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Goodbye Russia, Hello Sanity!

I have been taking an impromptu blogging break the past month, in case you hadn't noticed. I didn't mean to, I just had nothing to say.  I tried several times to get my thoughts straight but I couldn't.  Part of the reason was busyness.  Part of the reason was because I have been grieving.  Grieving my idea and dream to adopt from Russia.  We really felt like that was where God was leading us but it turns out that won't be possible right now. 

You see, one thing I struggle with is depression.  And one thing that Russia doesn't accept is mental illness of any sort, including depression.  So about the beginning of February I started weaning off of my medicine and decided I could be "spiritual" enough to not need meds.  The agency we wanted to work with said if I had a letter from the doctor explaining that I wasn't on any antidepressants now then we could adopt there.  I just had to make it roughly 2 yrs without medication while in the adoption process.  I really thought I could...I was wrong. 

Now depression is a sticky issue among some Christians.  Some well-meaning people insist it is a spiritual issue and that you must repent or fill your life with more of God. Some people say medication is the way to fix it all. I don't think medication alone is the answer. I honestly think for some people it can improve without medication if it isn't a brain chemical issue.  Throughout February and March I came to realize my depression was definitely a chemical issue as well as a spiritual issue.  I listened to tons of sermons and Christian broadcasts. I read my Bible anytime I felt anxiety, anger and irritability. I did lots of thinking, praying and talking out my issues.  This all helped greatly, don't get me wrong but I was still in a downward spiral. 

I finally had to come to grips with the fact that we had to let go of the Russia plan.  So, here we are back at what feels like square one.  We are going to adopt, but we have no clue from where as of right now.  We would appreciate your prayers as we seek God's direction in adoption. I have been feeling like He is holding us back to wait for a reason and that it'll all be apparent as to why further down the road.  

You'll be happy to know I am on medication again and feeling almost normal. ;) Haha, whatever normal is!  Another realization I've had is this: it is easy to block out your "issues" when the antidepressants make you feel better, but those issues need to be dealt with or else you won't ever heal completely. Medication can easily become a mask that hides the symptoms but never uncovers the root of the problem.  God is the Ultimate Healer of all, and sees into the deepest part of our heart to discover our hurts and gently draw us to Himself! 


  1. Stephanie....as one who has "been there"...I fully support and encourage your choice to work with your doctor and take the necessary medicine. This is an issue I can really get on my "soap box" about! Yes, there can be times when conviction can feel like depression...but there are also times when a chemical imbalance can be resolved with replacing the missing chemicals (medicine) making it possible for a person to live their "normal" life. I wear glasses because no amount of "faith" is going to clear my vision. I avoid sugar and most carbs to keep my blood sugar balanced, but when/if the time comes, I'll take insulin because no amount of faith will balance my blood sugar. I could go on and on...but you understand. If you ever need a supportive, listening ear - I'm as close as a phone call! Y'all are in my prayers! Mona Crawford

  2. Thanks for your transparency, Stephanie. As another one who has struggled with depression at times (very situational for me, though, and while I had a stint on anti-depressant due one period of extremely challenging circumstances, if mine is chemical, it's only mildly so, and not enough for pharmaceuticals to be a good solution), I'm thankful for your honesty.

    For what it's worth, Taiwan is fine with depression as long as your doctor signs a statement that your condition does not affect your ability to parent. :)

  3. Thanks for baring your heart and being real. Praying for your family as you seek God's direction. - Tara

  4. Hiya sis...

    I had no idea that you struggled with depression until just now. I struggle with SAD (seasonal affective disorder) every winter. It doesn't help that M is out of town the most during this trying time, or that we have a very active and unpredictable toddler that I have to handle almost entirely on my own. I am proud of you for "coming out" and talking about your illness.

    Even the strongest, most spiritual people get sick. My pastor back in Kentucky, one of my pillars of faith, is suffering from esophageal cancer. No amount of prayer will fix the tumors in his throat, so he's receiving chemo and radiation. And it's not to say that we're not all praying fervently for he and his wife, for their strength and for the doctors to make good choices in treatment options, but sometimes we need to use the gifts with which God has provided us.

    Please know that I'm always available for a chat whenever you need me :)
    Love, Lizzie

  5. When I developed post-partum depression after Ella's birth, people would say horrific things to me -- "You must not read your Bible enough," or "Just pray more." (Seriously! They said these things!) I wanted to punch them in the gut! (Since having an assault wouldn't look good on your adoption paperwork, if someone says this crap to you, call me & I'll punch them in the gut....)There's so much unnecessary stigma associated with depression. No one tells someone with a broken leg that they wouldn't need a cast or crutches if they just prayed more. I am very proud of you for sharing your struggles openly! Not only does it give us the ability to pray specifically for you and support you, but it also educates people and encourages the rest of us in your shoes. There's a chance we'll be in your neck of the woods at the beginning of the summer. I'll let you know when we do so we can all catch up! :)

  6. Steph, I couldn't agree more with what everyone has said. You are the better parent for being open about your struggles and being willing to accept the help that God placed in your path ie the medications, prayer, and good friends and family. Health is really a hollistic issue, it is really easy for Satan to use people to say just the more tearing words. You really inspire me with your parenting and your willingness to be a cottage parent. God has the right child for you, Joseph, and Nehemiah and my hope and prayer for you is that you receive the comfort and support that you need and the energy to endure the road ahead. Hang in there girlie
    Mandi R. H.


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