Broken Beloved (for everyone ashamed of the pills they take)

Often, it’s a restless night and bad dreams that tell me I forgot.

Other times it’s the way I snap and growl at my children in the morning.  It's not that they’re worse than normal, but I’m less tolerant, carrying my own internal agitation which they scrape against like matches, igniting a latent fury.


Before bed and after TV, my husband takes the dog out into the darkness to pee.  In the dim kitchen I grind coffee beans for the morning’s brew, adding water and a clean filter to the pot.  Then I open the hutch's glass cabinet and grab the red bottle.  Opened, little oval pills scatter across the palm of my hand like seeds. 

For months, maybe even a year, I cut them precisely with a pill cutter.  Then one day, in a pinch, I realized they could be broken by hand. 

One and a half pills daily seems to be enough to do the trick.


Toward the end of summer, for various reasons, I decided I wanted to cut down to one pill, decreasing the dose by a third. 

It would be simpler, I told myself. 

Maybe I’ll lose weight, I thought (as though the daily consumption of potato chips couldn’t possibly be to blame for a recent weight gain). 

I’ve been so sleepy lately, maybe I’m over-medicated, I considered.    

The psychiatrist, hearing my plan, looked at me with surprise. 

“Usually the dose that works is the dose you should stay on,” she said.

“Well,” I said, “I want to try.” 

What I didn’t say was that I didn’t want to be on medicine, I didn’t want to need it.


I’d done enough googling to know coming off of antidepressants can be complicated.  I decided to drop the dose by a third every other day for a while and see what happened.  One pill one day, one and a half the next, and so on.

The problem was, I was nearing the one year anniversary of my psychiatric hospitalization

And I was preaching again for the first time in a year. 

And we were in the run-up for the annual back-to-school transition which, with four kids in three different schools, lasts well-over a month. 

And transition makes me anxious.

I tried, though.  I did.

What I found is I was more anxious, more irritable, more snappy.

I was a worse mother without that little half pill.  Unreasonably irritable, yelling and stomping rather than “using my words.”  It reminded me of the months after the twins were born, when I struggled so with my oldest son.  He would have been better off if I’d had those pills then. 


“It’s only been a year,” my counselor says, “give it some time.”

Ah, but me?  I want to not need.

Only now, what I want more, is to be a mother who doesn’t scream and shout in rage.  I want to be a little more able to go with the flow (which is the only way to go anywhere in a family of six).  Maybe if I had more control, more money, less kids I’d be able to structure my time, my life in a way that kept me from needing those pills. 

Yoga morning, noon and night. 

Health food. 


For now though, when I look at the real choices before me, I pick up that red bottle and break the pills, like pieces of communion bread - grace I need, grace I cannot afford to do without.    


I have a friend who was wounded deeply by someone she loves.  After years of struggle and heart ache she considered breaking the relationship and felt God giving her the freedom to do so.  

Then, also, my friend felt God’s invitation, “Why don’t you try just loving the one who hurt you as God’s broken but beloved daughter?” 

I was thinking about that today.  

Thinking it's true, really, of all of us.  

We are God’s broken, beloved children.  

Maybe it would all go a little better if we thought of ourselves that way, as people who need.  I am God's broken, beloved daughter and I will take grace as it comes, however it comes, even if it arrives in a little, red bottle.     


  1. Oh, Kelly, I relate to this so much. I will be thinking a lot about you today.

  2. I take 2 pills, one targeting severe anxiety the other depression and insomnia. I wish I didn't need them but I do and I'm ever so grateful for them. We have 4 kids also and lots of animals! I have been so blessed reading here lately. Thank you and bless you, April

    1. Aw - four kids and lots of animals, sounds familiar! I'm glad you've found what you need. Thanks for commenting!