About three years ago, I was diagnosed with clinical depression and was put on an anti-depressant that (in my opinion) seemed to make everything worse. My anxiety was at an all time high because I was in so much pain and hadn't been diagnosed with a specific condition. Therefore, treatment was nonexistent.
To this day, I'm not sure if I really struggled with depression or if the doctor's just needed something to "blame" the pain on as juvenile arthritis wasn't mentioned until about six months after my depression "diagnosis." To say the least, there were a lot of unanswered questions...my doctor's were helpless. I was helpless.
I remember so many occasions where I walked into school, threw my books in my locker, and went straight to the bathroom to cry...and I remember doing it all without anyone noticing me. It wasn't until I said, "Enough is enough - I don't want to live like this" that things got any better. No anti-depressant can give you a piece of mind that says, "This life IS worth living. I have a purpose." I truly believe that can only come from God.
Finally, I told my parents and my doctor that this medication wasn't for me. I quit taking it cold turkey and ended up staying wide awake for nearly 72 hours straight. The side effects were horrible, but I didn't want my body being hindered by the medication that took away my energy and feelings of purpose any longer.
I didn't get my smile back magically by any means, but I started to realize that a medication was not going to make me feel alive...I needed to push myself to stay social, to stay active, to stay ME...even while I was in a significant amount of pain, I realized the importance of remaining myself.
I know there were days that it didn't look like I was trying...in fact, I'm sure I cried MORE after I made the decision to ditch the medication...because it was HARD. But, in hindsight, I can say it was my best decision to date. I learned to cherish the good days more than ever during that period of time because I realized that they were often few and far between. I also learned to appreciate the bad days for what they were.
I don't think my smile ever really went away, but it was hidden for a long, long time. I wasn't happy with my life, myself, or my circumstances, but there was a hope that kept me going and believing for better days...and His name is Jesus.
That same hope is what I still hold onto today and I know I'll be holding onto tomorrow. I'm so thankful that He is so much stronger than anything that we will ever have to face here on earth.
When I meet Jesus face to face, I highly, highly doubt that I will be looking back on my circumstances/struggles and say to Him with a frown... "Look what you made me endure." I imagine the only thing I'll be able to mutter out will be something along the lines of, "Thank You. Thank You for carrying me through."
I struggled, and there are days I still do...but the battle over my heart and happiness here on earth has already been won...by Jesus.