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Is It Spiritual to Take Medication for Depression?

photo: Vox Efx on flickr

photo: Vox Efx on flickr

Dear Meli,

I have struggled with depression for many years. For a long time, I resisted the idea of medication. About two years ago, I finally started taking meds. They are definitely helping, but now I have another dilemma. I still have this idea that I should have been able to shift things with spiritual practice. Like, there’s something wrong with me that I needed to turn to medication. Any thoughts on this?

Mad at My Meds

Dear Mad,

I am so sorry to hear about your struggles with depression. But please be nice to yourself about the med’s! It is not helpful to add judgment about your need for medication on top of an already difficult situation.

Here’s the thing. I think it’s great when someone who was once depressed works their consciousness, seeks therapy, sees a guru or soemthing else and has it shift their experience so that they don’t feel depressed anymore! I imagine most people would wish that for anyone in the midst of this challenge.

The thing is, though, that many people (I imagine there’s a statistic out there somewhere) who experience depression do so because of chemical imbalances in the brain or body. These might be due to a genetic tendency, or they might stem from years of abuse. Or they might just be there. Just cuz. Regardless of the reason, many people do seem to find relief in medicine.

Sometimes the meds allow a person to get to a place where they can look into their past and process through trauma without overwhelm. Or for some, if the imbalance has been caused by a physical imbalance in the body, other healing modalities might bring them back into balance again. And even eventually, for some, these kinds of things might allow them to get off the medicine completely – with the support of their doctor, of course.

There’s not a simple answer, though. I do think that some doctors lean into medicine-as-an-easy-fix. But I also think Spirit makes everything, including medicine and doctors.

And, ultimately, if taking medicine allows you to get to a place where you want to live life more fully, then this is a good thing!

Do I think it would be even more awesome if you could thrive in life without medicine? Sure!

But personally, I’d rather see you thrive using meds! Better that than to struggle to make it through a day, or struggle to even want to make it through a day, drug-free.

The most important factor in this is that you love yourself right where you are. I suggest you practice that: every time you think of being on medicine. Turn to your sweet little self and remind yourself that you are blessed to live in a time when medicine for depression exists – and good on you for being here when that’s the case!

I am not suggesting you ignore the possibility of working toward a way to be without the medicine! But in the meantime, find a way to celebrate you – right now – exactly as you are.

Hoping this helps.

Blessings and Love to you in all you do,


What’s your experience with depression and medication? Share your comments below!

Have a question for Meli? Interested in a private session (in person or Skype)? Contact her at meli@ohmygodlife.com

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6 Responses to Is It Spiritual to Take Medication for Depression?

  1. Becka November 17, 2015 at 8:43 am #

    I found that amino acid (neurotransmitter) supplementation worked much better for me than anti-depressant and anti-anxiety meds. I read Anatomy of an Epidemic by Robert Whittaker which made me happy I made the transition as well. I’ve learned that my depression was there to communicate to me that I was not living my life in a way that promoted health, fulfillment or happiness in me. So I started eating better, sleeping more, exercising, using different coping tools and doing things that made me happy. It was a slow process, but after 15 years of chronic depression I am now happy, healthy, and not taking meds or supplements. Yay!

    • Melissa Phillippe November 17, 2015 at 10:57 am #

      YAY, indeed, Becka!

      Having spent time with you, we experience the magic of your happiness, too. So thank you for doing all this work!

      I had not heard about amino acid supplementation as a substitution for anti-depressants. VERY grateful to have this information!

      Did you work with a health practitioner to determine how much to take? How would someone go about following this direction?

      Thanks again!

  2. Karen Money Williams November 17, 2015 at 11:25 am #

    This is a wonderful post, Meli.

    While pharmaceuticals can never take the place of our spiritual practices, especially the habit of choosing good-feeling thoughts, they can make the process so much easier for countless people. They can be a cooperative component in our journey to joy, and more joy, and more joy.

    • Melissa Phillippe November 17, 2015 at 12:23 pm #

      Yes, I agree, Karen! I have watched people who weren’t otherwise able to choose better-feeling thoughts, be able to find them again with the support of herbs/medicines. And I think it’s THAT (the positive thoughts) that allow us to pull ourselves back to the Light. Thanks so much for your presence in the conversation!

  3. Becka November 17, 2015 at 11:48 am #

    At first I saw a ND/Acupuncturist who suggested certain amid acids and that helped a bit. Then I started seeing Peter Sultana, MD (www.truenorthhealth.com/707-586-5555) and he used a specific type of amino acid therapy designed by Dr. Marty Hinz (http://amino-acid-therapy.com). This helped significantly, gave me time to heal my brain, and enabled me to do the inner work that allowed me to come off of the supplements all together! :)

    • Melissa Phillippe November 17, 2015 at 12:24 pm #

      Awesome! Thanks again and again, Becka. I know someone I’m going to send this information to right away – and now that it’s also here – who knows who else you may be supporting! :-)

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