Quarterly Check-up

I made my quarterly pilgrimage to Pasadena today. Some who know about it wonder why I do it. Some understand and others don’t. It’s a relaxing drive for me, and it gives me a chance to review how the last three months have been going.

It’s my quarterly check-up with my psychiatrist. Yes, if you weren’t already aware, you heard right. I see a psychiatrist every three months. I started seeing Dr. Stephen Horwitz in Pasadena in July of 2001. I was deep in depression, seemingly as a result of my burnout.

It was maybe a dozen questions or so that day. I remember it vaguely. I do remember him saying that he had just asked me diagnostic questions to determine whether or not I was dealing with clinical (biological) depression. He said, “You’ve pretty much got all the symptoms.”

Thus began my journey into discovering what I now believe to be a lifetime struggle with clinical depression in different seasons of my life. It was the worst in 2001, most definitely exacerbated by my burnout, having burned the candle at both ends for far too long. There was no candle left.

He prescribed medication that helped the fog clear over the next several weeks. I had been trying to deal with some emotional/psychological issues for some time before I saw Dr. Horwitz, but my ability to see was clouded by the depth of the depression. I needed some help to clear the fog so I could see clearly again.

I stayed on medication for five years, weaning off in the final two years until I was medication-free in May of 2006. Three months later, I relapsed. Boy, that’s a story in itself. After struggling through a month trying to fight it, I went back on medication, and have been on for the last two years.

For how much longer? I don’t know. What I do know is that I have settled in my mind and spirit that I am OK with taking medication to help pave the way to clear thinking and strong living. A diabetic takes insulin every day. Those with chances of heart disease take an aspirin every day. My wife struggles with lupus and rheumatoid arthritis and takes a number of medications every day and some weekly.

I am convinced that for various reasons, those who battle with clinical depression would be well-served by taking it seriously and getting professional help. It’s less of a stigma today than it used to be, but it’s still a big issue for some. If you’re struggling with depression, I encourage you to seek professional help!

So, today, I took my quarterly drive. The last three months haven’t been without stresses and anxiety, but they have been relatively smooth. I appreciate God placing Dr. Horwitz in my path. If you’re looking for a good psychiatrist, I strongly recommend him!

1 Comment
  • tim & deb
    Posted at 22:13h, 31 October Reply

    One of the things I MOST admire about you is that when you see a need or problem in your life, you actually admit it and seek HELP. That is always admirable in anyone, but doubly so for a PASTOR. The “TRUTH” will set you free but only if you know the truth and admit it. Thank you for your courage to share your ‘real life’.

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