God says no; Seeking self-care against the stigma

I have had a very difficult life. A lot of people really don't know; while I do volunteer the information, I think a lot of people just assume that because I don't have serious detriments in my life, like alcoholism or a drug addiction, that I am a fairly responsible and well-rounded person.
On the contrary, I came from an extremely disturbed and broken home. I remember being young and asking God to keep me safe; asking him to send me a husband who would rescue me.
I was blessed to meet a man at 17 years old who swept me off my feet, married me after only a few months, and treats me like a princess.
The fairy tale doesn't end there, though.
We struggled in our early marriage due to my anxiety and depression. He didn't have much experience with mental health issues. He did his best to coach me through my anxiety attacks, reach out and nurture me during my depression, and just be understanding that many of my symptoms were things I simply couldn't control.
At one point, I had self-diagnosed bipolar. I seemed to fit the description - manic-depressive cyclic episodes. My mom was diagnosed bipolar. I knew what to look for, and having that knowledge for myself actually lead me to much better coping mechanisms. Things were fine.
After the traumatic birth of my fifth child, I began to see a new disorder that I hadn't noticed before. I had full-blown PTSD. The anxiety and depression got worse than ever, and several things seemed to be affected by this; my distraction, memory recall, forgetfulness - all things that I've dealt with since childhood and assumed they were just *me*, but now they were getting to the point that they were severely affecting my quality of life.
Fast forward a little farther to my little darling Archer.

He's a weird one. For sure.
We had seen his "issues" early on - he sucks at interacting with people, he has uncontrollable rage, he only eats peanut butter sandwiches, he had bathroom accidents well beyond the typical age range, and he was what my sister-in-law would later explain was "sensory seeking" (like... dumping out an entire bag of flour and then playing in it. But doing things like that every minute of every day...for years).
And he seemed to REALLY struggle to slow down.
Our first thought was that he is probably on the spectrum. He hasn't been diagnosed officially, but we know our little guy and we can see his struggles.
This was the first really big insight for us as to how people in general and especially CHRISTIANS treat mental disorders. 
Whereas before, people trusted my ability to mother, now people almost began to question it. I was doing something wrong and self-serving by being concerned that my child, who was seemingly different, may actually have something that could be diagnosed. People made comments that were extremely out of line; misinformed and hurtful comments.
At this point, you are mostly likely one of two people; you either read the last few lines and said, "yes, I've been treated that way," or you told yourself you've never behaved that way/don't think that way about people's mental health. If you are the second one, and you made some excuse to yourself, I highly encourage you to step back and think about what you have said to people (especially mothers who are concerned about their children) in response to their mental health.
Did you give them a lecture about how their child is "fine"?
Did you tell them they were wrong and they are reading too far into it?
Did you tell them some simple coping mechanism or dietary restriction that would "fix" everything?
Did you tell them to pray about it, or that God would heal it, but don't seek medical help?
Did you tell them some anecdotal story about someone you once knew with this supposed thing that was similar?
And most importantly, did you belittle their emotions, or lead them to believe that the illness in question IS NOT REAL?
It wasn't long before we started to see other symptoms in Archer - he was an impulsive little maniac.
After extensive googling about autistic tendencies, I started to see a wealth of information about comorbid disorders. One rabbit hole I went down was ADHD. I could see several traits in him, despite what others would tell you.
But this isn't even about Archer. This is actually about me.
An all-encompassing revelation hit me like a ton of bricks at this time. All these symptoms and traits that I had possibly seen in Archer were definitely in me. All of them were there, ever since I was little. I began to realize that what I thought was bipolar was actually my ADHD.
Oh really? You sound like a hypochondriac. Do you just assume you have every mental health diagnosis or what?
Interestingly enough, it's extremely common for adults with ADHD to be misdiagnosed bipolar. The most obvious symptoms of bipolar are also symptoms of ADHD, and so the turning point where one stops and another begins is usually history. And we are talking about things I have not just endured but suffered silently with for my entire life.
I could write pages and pages about my symptoms, especially since the majority of people have NO FRIGGIN CLUE what ADHD really is (no, it's not just being hyper). But, this blog post is not to convince you that I have ADHD. I already know I have it. My husband knows I have it. My darling children, half of whom probably also have it, also know the truth. This post isn't about that.
This post is because I spent years praying for God to fix it. I prayed that he would heal my depression and my anxiety. At one point, He actually did. I felt chains breaking and renewal and I didn't have an anxiety or depression for almost a year. It came back though, for whatever reason. No, I don't feel like God failed me. I feel like I still have things to learn.
When I realized that all these symptoms were not things normal adults deal with (despite what you say, Barbara, about how "everyone gets forgetful sometimes" *eye roll*) and I shouldn't have to deal with them either, I started praying harder than ever that God would just take it away.
But He said no.
He didn't just *not* do it.
The Lord told me, "you can take care of this yourself." 
Oh, how contrary this is to most people's belief system.
I was under the impression for a long long time that if you weren't healed, it was probably something YOU were doing wrong. And that's really how people act about mental health.
"God WILL heal you!"
God CAN heal you.
Those are different ideas, and one of them is wrong.
I have a close friend who suffers with a very severe skin condition. She's tried absolutely everything to find relief, but nothing works. Or at least it doesn't for long. I can't imagine how many times people have prayed over her or offered her advice. And this is something they can actually physically see. But she never found relief. She divulged to me at one point that she fully believes she was still suffering from this illness because of God. He was allowing her this trial as a means of growing her. How hurtful that must be, knowing that our merciful God is allowing us to suffer, for the sake of our growth, using tough love, and yet everyone else is telling us it's something we are doing wrong.
When I realized that my ADHD was very real, very obvious, and very obviously not going away, the Lord told me that I could take care of it myself. I tried natural supplements first, because despite what people seem to think, I didn't just wake up one morning thinking I wanted to be aggressively medicated. After growing up with a drug-addicted mother, medication was something I did not want to try ever again. Unfortunately, the supplements gave me a glimpse of what my life could be like if I could get the ADHD under control...but then they stopped working after about a month.
Still, that experience was really life changing for me.
I started talking to a doctor about potentially getting medicated. She referred me to a counselor, who I have been seeing for several months now. Talking to him has been way more helpful than I ever thought it would. Even though I can't take away my PTSD or ADHD entirely, I have learned some new coping mechanisms. And even just letting it all out and telling someone about what I've gone through has been one of the most fulfilling choices I have ever made.
So why am I writing this now?
I am a few days away from a really big appointment. I am flying to Sitka to see a psychologist. I will endure a 4-6 hour appointment. It will be professional and thorough, because despite popular belief, they don't all have an agenda where they thrust drugs at you for money. They want to make sure they know what is actually going on in your head and body.
To summarize, I will have an official diagnosis, so that I can hopefully be medicated. Yes, medicated. With drugs. Stimulants. Probably Adderall.
Again, I could write a laundry list of reasons that I am wanting to take medication, and why Adderall is not "meth" in the sense you think it is and why I would utilize stimulants. But I'm not going to.
If you care at all about people who are suffering, as Jesus wants you to, it's your responsibility to stop being close minded and judgmental about people with mental health issues. It's your responsibility to be mindful of how you interact with a person who opens up and tells you there is something wrong.
It's not my job to educate you. You have google.
I have another friend who had an extremely traumatic ordeal. She has suffered from fertility issues, and after finally carrying a baby halfway to term, she went into preterm labor. Her water broke, the cord prolapsed; I can't even imagine how frightening it all was. Her baby is doing great now, by the way. But my friend couldn't cope with the trauma. She was scarred.
She was having anxiety attacks constantly. Her quality of life (and probably that of her children as well - it's hard to effectively mother when you are having extreme and constant anxiety) was declining. When she chose to seek out help from her doctor, she asked for opinions.
Why is there such a stigma about this? Why did she feel so vulnerable and helpless for needing treatment?
She was not too weak to handle it.
She was not drug-seeking.
She was not making it up for attention or blowing it out of proportion.
I'm so proud of her for making the choice to take care of herself, and by extension, her family by treating a problem she was facing. I can only imagine what people said to her at this crucial time!
It's no wonder, in all of this, why so many people (especially women and mothers) are so hesitant to admit their problem or seek help from it. This only contributes to the idea that we should just pray harder and believe harder and God will fix us.
That's fine. I am not trying to say in any way that you shouldn't pray for a breakthrough or a healing. That should be your first choice, always.
Sometimes though, things are an emergency.
Sometimes we know that's not the plan.
Sometimes we feel lead in a different direction.
Sometimes God says "no."
It would take all day to explain how much I have benefited from the Lord's direction in taking care of this myself. There are even ADHD symptoms I have been able to overcome through careful coping mechanisms that I have learned through self-discovery and by perpetuating self-care. I have grown an exorbitant amount in the last year simply by dealing with my illness and working through it, whereas if I had been healed from it, none of that growth would have occurred.
I'm thankful that Jesus has given me the chance to take care of it myself. ❤❤❤❤

I want to address a few opinions before I close up this blog post, and I'm going to assume they apply to most mental health issues:

1. I do not enjoy having ADHD. It is not cool, fun, or trendy. I don't like the attention it gets when I say, "I have ADHD."

2. I am not ashamed to tell people I have ADHD. There's nothing shameful about it. I can't help it, and I will be this way forever. It's not *that* big of a deal.

3. I know what ADHD is. Do you honestly think I would be interested in medicating myself for hyperactivity? ADHD is not just hyperactivity. And I am fortunate enough to not just have every single ADHD trait, I also have them all very severely.

4. Yes, it's part of who I am. I am not compromising my temperament or personality by wanting to fix things that are wrong with me. If I was missing a leg, would you tell me it's "who you are" and that I should not get a prosthetic or a wheelchair? That's insane.

If you have any questions or even if you just want to tell me how ridiculous ADHD is and that "they just want to medicate people," I'm happy to have a conversation about it. That's just not what this blog post is about. Really, I just want the collective "you" to show love to the hurting, whether you believe in mental illness or not. Be an advocate for self-care, because there's nothing sinful about helping yourself.