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PHQ update

PHQ today = 16 Moderately severe depression

Originally posted on Confessions of a Ridiculous Vicar:

vicardibleyIn response to a high profile figure being outed as having depression, sooner or later someone will say, “But he’s rich, famous and successful, what has HE got to be depressed about?

My shameful confession is – I have nothing to be depressed about either.

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PHQ – 9

Score 15 – Moderately severe depression

PHQ – 9

I just found an online version of the PHQ – 9 test. I thought I’d do it to see how I was doing…

Scarily I got a score of 19 which apparently indicates Moderately Severe Depression.

Funnily this is proof that you can be depressed without feeling down…I don’t feel down or ‘depressed’ just a whole lot of other depression and anxiety symptoms.

NB I have always avoided knowing how the PHQ – 9 test is worked out so I can’t manipulate it. ;)

This week is the third week that I’ve had off work. The sick note reads fatigue and burnout. The last day I went to work, I felt like I couldn’t physically manage another day of work. I was so looking forward to 4 days holiday, but sadly I haven’t yet returned to work.

I haven’t done any research into fatigue and burnout that will come, for now I want to write about my lived experience. I am so overwhelmingly tired. How did I get here? Well I think there are 2 factors if I’m honest, work and social life…

I work for a charity. I work with NHS staff and Social services. I have volunteers who I can allocate to help people out after they have left hospital, whether just a friendly visit, to fetch shopping or many other neighbourly things. My job is varied; there are elements of admin, volunteer recruitment and management, promotional and networking activity, visiting people myself, monitoring, social media… I love my job. I am great at my job. I love working with people, both professionals and clients. BUT when there is no volunteer to visit, I am the pressure release; I have to pick up the referral. When there are bank holidays I have to squeeze all my work into fewer days, holidays become a curse and not a blessing. When there is meetings, training or the head office is short-staffed, I have to leave my work and squeeze it into the remainder of the week. I care. I love to care for people. I love to hear their stories. I like to draw alongside, to help and support at a time when some TLC can help get them back on track. With some people I wonder who is helping who and feel like I’m getting more out of seeing people than I’m giving. Other people suck you dry, they need you to help and do for them; they play a role of helplessness. Saving my holiday for the winter when I depression usually gets bad, I haven’t had a holiday (except bank holidays) since January. I thought I was being sensible, planning ahead. My GP was pretty unimpressed.

The other element to this journey is more embarrassing to admit. I live alone, sometimes I feel alone and isolated. So what do I do, every evening I arrange to meet up with people, sometimes I arrange more than one activity per evening. I feel I have to earn people’s friendship. I am convinced no one would willingly want to spend time with me. I feel I have to arrange things, that if I don’t meet up with someone I’m letting them down. Of course our friendship is all my responsibility, not theirs.

So with all the running around both at work and at home, the lack of holidays or me time, I find myself with fatigue and burnout and the road ahead feels scary and uncertain.


Fascinating post!! Recognise some of the points made despite never being sectioned. When will mental health be treated equally to physical health.

Originally posted on Sectioned:


Since starting to have mental health problems and then being sectioned, I’ve learned about things I never imagined existed or would need to know about.

  • I’ve learned that being taken to hospital by police counts as an arrest that could show up on checks done for prospective employers.
  • I’ve learned about the Work Capability Assessment, Atos and Employment Support Allowance and that, even if your doctor’s certificate is for mental health, you’ll still be asked to touch your toes.
  • I’ve learned that mental health problems are often treated with purely physical means, and that merely keeping someone alive is seen as success enough.
  • I’ve learned that getting treatment for mental health problems can be a test of endurance: nearly three years post-discharge, I’m still waiting for talking therapy.
  • I’ve learned that, even though mental health services are already badly under-funded, they are being cut more than physical health services.
  • I’ve learned…

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In a bid to avoid the winter blues I booked a holiday to Spain. The weekend before I left, I visited a church, where people were also visiting, who had links to a church in Spain, in the next town to where I was going. The randomness of our meeting, made me sure it had significance. I flew to Spain on Sunday, making it impossible to go to the church, but I noticed that not only did they have a weekly prayer meeting, but I would be visiting the week of their Woman’s meeting.

On Monday I made the 25 minute bus journey from Banelmadena down the coast to Fuergirola to The Ark. Sadly I saved the wrong time into my phone, so I arrived as they were coming to an end. They had paired up with women they didn’t know, prayed for them and then created a card with the words and pictures they felt God wanted them to share with their partner. I was sad to miss out, but was so blessed to have spent a short time with these prayerful, prophetic, creative women. One of the other ladies to prayed with me. She knew that she knew me, suddenly she realised we had been on holiday together 10 years ago!!

On the bus home, I sensed God say,”this holiday is for Jesus”. How strange I thought, surely that’s what retreats and Oak Hall holidays are for!!

I returned to The Ark on Wednesday for their prayer meeting. We had an amazing hour and a half, worshipping and praying as we felt led by the Holy spirit. There was freedom in that place. At one point I felt led to grab a red and gold flag and dance…I asked permission before I did…but after the meeting the pastor actively encouraged me to use them if I was coming to the service on Sunday. A lady prayed that God wanted to break strongholds in our mindsets, and in depression and anxiety. I wondered if that was a word for me and asked the lady who brought it to pray with me afterwards. She organised for me to go with a member of the church for theophostic prayer, where God showed me the lies I’ve believed from when I was young and spoke His truth instead. I’m choosing to believe Go’s words – I am loved, I am special, I am beautiful!! What an extraordinary visit!!


Really useful post on seeing the signs and self – care…definitely something I need to have a think about…

Originally posted on CHAPLAIN'S BLOG:

Not my pants...not my drawer...but you get the idea

Not my pants…not my drawer…but you get the idea

It’s a little three drawer cabinet next to my side of the bed, and the top drawer contains my underpants. But it is so much more than that because it acts as a barometer for how I am doing. It becomes a sign for me of how my life is going.

Now it would be easy to start a post about CARING FOR YOURSELF with a whole list of things to do, like some self-care manual; and there is value in that. But as always, that’s not my way. My way is to tell a story. So here it is.

Three years ago, the new year started badly; well not badly but I didn’t seem to have any energy. Work was a busy as ever, and I found myself trudging through every day, with my mantra “Tomorrow will be…

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It’s New Year and on #shereadstruth they are just starting a new series calls a fresh start. I love their studies on youversion and I love being able to do bible study where ever I am cos it’s on my phone. Sadly this study is not on youversion, but the positive is, this is the first time I’ve started a study at the same time as everyone else is doing it.


Today’s passage was Genesis 1:1-31 and as I read it, it suddenly seemed such a fresh reading as I read it in the context of new year and new beginnings…this is my paraphrase…

“In the beginning God created a new year, 2014. It was empty and formless, no mistakes, no plans, a completely blank page. His spirit was hovering watching, waiting, ready to empower and inspire. 

Then God said let us separate 2014 into portions of time. Days to make up weeks, months and seasons. Seconds, minutes and hours to make up days. Together this made up the first day, and God saw it was good.

The next day He took the time He had created and named it; there was work time and leisure time. Most importantly there was rest time. Time to stop doing and simply be; time to recharge the batteries. This was the second day.

God flung seeds into the year saying,”Let the year be full of vision and dreams, hopes and promise.” And he saw that it was good. This all happened on the third day.

And God hung stars into the year: moments of closeness to God, thin spaces, mountain top experiences to give the year light and dark. To give time to build up reserves of hope ready for the dark times. Like flowers blooming, the fruit of dreams coming to pass. And God saw that it was good. All this happened on the fourth day.

And God filled the year with people, not just people, but friends. Friends entering, friends leaving, friends for the long-haul. God blessed them all and saw that it was good. This was the fifth day.

And God saw all he had created and said lets now make a daughter, let’s make her in our own image, to be like ourselves and to rule over the year. I bless her with dreams and visions, hope in dark times and friends for the journey. 

And God looked at His daughter and all He had created for her year 2014 and saw that it was excellent in every way. This all happened on the sixth day.”

Children of God


An encouraging reminder for the New Year…Happy New Year to everyone reading.

Originally posted on The Vicar's Wife:

Feeling blurry for the first Sunday of 2014? Need a pick-me-up? Be reminded: you’re a child of God:

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