On being whole and taking Prozac

My word for the year is “whole.” I had decided sometime in December that I wasn’t going to get my word for 2017 until epiphany. I would just let it go, and just like that it came into my head. Whole. My word for 2017 is whole. I spent January and February and some of March writing it everyday on my hand. All capital, all lower case, all cursive, big, small, colored ink, blank. Every day on my left hand: whole.

I want to be whole.

I gave up negative self talk for Lent. I announced it cheekily on my Facebook page and invited everyone to join me. Only, I couldn’t. I could not give up the voices in my head telling me I was not enough, telling me I would fail, telling me that everything was too hard and I was too soft and I just could not keep up with my life so why try? Praying it away wasn’t enough.

How do you commit to being whole when every third thought you have is that you are irreversibly broken?

When I went on vacation with just my husband and still could not shake the feeling that something was coming for me, that I was not enough (Y’all all we had to do all day was wander around and eat, how could I not be enough?) I knew I could not do this on my own. I called from our hotel room to take advantage of the free student counseling through my school. I got in the next day, and the day after that I got a psychiatrist referral, and the day after that a prescription for Prozac.

I gave myself permission to take it for two weeks, be incredibly gentle with myself, and just try to maintain C’s. I told some of my professors. My preaching professor, who I have ridiculous amounts of respect for looked me dead in the face and reminded me that my wholeness was more important than any grade I could get. I knew this, but being reminded was certainly God’s grace to me that day.

I am almost at the end of my two weeks. My appetite is kind of off, and I feel a little shaky at the wrists, but I am not so scared of life anymore. I am able to see that some of my thoughts (like they are going to kick me out for incorrect citations) are maybe not totally rational, and that maybe there is no need to hold myself to an impossible standard then berate myself for not attaining it all the time.

Monday after school I was able to take the girls easter dress shopping. It was hard, but not impossible. After we picked out my dresses (they really wanted me to get a pink lacy one, I declined. Dresses with rhinestones were also quietly vetoed) and I tried them on. (Priscilla says: That one is cute but so not you. She was right. It was returned to the racks.) They wanted the same experience, so we collected three dresses a piece and tried them on and chose.

I know my plate is always full, but I would not have had the space for this without meds. Of that much I am sure. It was a big win. I could follow today in systematic theology without talking myself down. I am not as anxious that I will fail out of school.

A week ago today I planted seeds as an act of prayer. It wasn’t my idea, these seeds of hope. I was too far in the dark. I am too used to killing off plants. I took this little pot and put it on the window. I would have told you that I forgot about it but I must have been looking at it every day because I noticed when it sprouted. My seeds of hope sprouted. There are four of them now, and they keep getting taller.

I am not fully healed. I think I am headed in the right direction but there is still some work to be done, some blood tests, some checking in, probably some therapy. But there are seeds of hope. I can sort out the thoughts as helpful and not. I can take my kids Easter dress shopping. I can do my assignments without talking myself down. These are all good things. I can nurture this grace that is growing inside of me. I can feel it growing. I am working my way toward whole.


9 thoughts on “On being whole and taking Prozac

  1. This makes me really–happy isn’t exactly the word. I need more of a word where I see someone taking a step towards light and warmth and I’m reminded of how much courage we all need in this tough world, and also how much courage there is out there in all of our lives, because people are incredibly brave, including you. I need a word for that to say to you. Way to take care of yourself Abby. I’ve only met you once but it’s pretty awesome to see so much life packed into one person. Those voices you hear about failure clearly do not actually know you (I mean, even if you failed out of school, I am sure you’d do it spectacularly and with a darn good story to tell at the end.) I’m cheering you on.

    • “If women ran the government, there would be no wars of aggression. Women, for obvious reasons, have no need to prove how big their â€e˜uqipment’ can be.”I don’t know that Margaret Thatcher would agree with this. Although at the time of the Falklands war there was speculation in Argentina that she never wore short skirts because her balls would show…

  2. I’m sitting in my office crying. Because your story is also my story. Your ache and your bravery is healing, a jolt of inspiration and hope. Abby, love, your quest for wholeness will heal you and so many more. You are a warrior. ❤

  3. Like manna from heaven! You are so brave for sharing and baring yourself so candidly about something which so many feel shame. I believe that this will help others find the courage to do the same. Welcome Spring… with your sprouts and your ceaseless march toward progress. ❤

  4. You are surely enough. Get the therapy. Take the prozac snd be gentle with yourself. You are an incredibly talented woman and a wonderful wife and mother. There is fear and there is love. Continue to choose love for you, and it will follow for those around you. Sending prayers for strength and insight and wisdom. You’re already well on your way to these things. Love you. Cheryl

  5. I’m glad. Every time you have posted about your depression I’ve been kind of worried. I’m so glad you’re getting help and finding something that might work.

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