Tag Archive: Depression


I put down the phone to a client. “it must be useful having a smiley sunshiney voice”, my colleague says.

If only they knew the truth…

At work I am there to encourage, to support, to care, to bless. To help people over the blip in their life that is a hospital admission.

If only they knew the truth…

The truth…that I can’t sleep at night, and sometimes i cry myself to sleep.

The truth…that i sometime wish someone would come along and ‘put me down’.

The truth…that I’m exhausted from keeping the tears at bay during work hours.

The truth that…i can hardly cope with life – household chores, interests are all dropped in favour of snuggling under the safety of the duvet.

The truth that…in the past month i have taken antidepressants and contacted the Samaritans.

The truth…that I’m a mess and the smiley sunshiney voice is simply my workplace mask.

Advertisements

Since I’ve had depression, I’ve struggled to read the bible or do quiet times. I’ve let myself off the hook, its hard when you’re depressed, so I’m excused!! During this current relapse I’ve done a bible study everyday for 15 days and counting!! Now I’m even reading the bible twice a day! So what’s my secret?? I thank God for the smartphone!

Image

 

I have downloaded a bible app onto my phone and downloaded a reading plan that suits me. It ticks off the readings as I read them on my phone. If I’m not feeling great I can get the app to read it to me! Then I can read the additional info for the day. I’ve been managing this before work in the mornings, in bed before I get up, or listening as I get dressed and eat my breakfast.

Then at night I go to sleep listening to the bible, letting it wash over me, believing that the bits I really need to hear will stick. 

I am so grateful for technology, it is helping me to draw closer to God, even in the dark times. I hope that posting this will help someone else draw closer to God too.

Image

 

I haven’t been to my church for a month now. Yet I haven’t missed a week of ‘church’, I haven’t fallen out with anyone at my church and I have been in regular contact with my clergy, home group and friends. So why have I been avoiding my church??

As I have written over the last few posts, I haven’t been feeling very well over the last few months since my GP suggested coming off my antidepressants. Over the last 4 weeks, I’ve been to 6 different churches with 5 different friends.

I guess in one sense I want to hide, to go where I am fairly anonymous, where people won’t ask me how I am in a public and big group context.

Also over the summer we joined with another church to worship. I love the people at this other church, they are very hospitable and I know them pretty well. It is also the parish church for where I live and therefore much easier and quicker to walk to. But it’s not my church. It’s not my church building. Going there is a diluted version (and therefore a less safe version) of my church family. 

Finally, and for me I feel the main reason, it’s just not accessible for me when I feel ill. It is not my perfect variety of church, but it’s where I believe I’ve been placed, it’s my family and I love that its local, but it is so frustrating a lot of the time. When I’m unwell I want to go to a church where I can worship in a modern style with space for the Holy Spirit, not having to trudge through hymns at the start and the end, with a modern bit in the middle. I need a sermon I can understand and engage with. Not just words, but something visual, a PowerPoint, props, interactive. Not big theological words I don’t understand. Practical teaching, not theories in theology. The last time I went to my church, I just went through the motions. 

So what is the plan for next week…I’ve been asked to babysit for a church family on Saturday with the opportunity to sleep over…so I can’t see how I can get out of going to my church with them next Sunday!!

How does one worship when the brain chemistry is all wrong, and you feel like you are down in the depths…

Image

Yesterday I was able to partake in 2 acts of worship that worked for this place I find myself in, but were opposite ends of the scale…or perhaps just 2 sides of a coin. Words and no words. 

First I spent time with a friend praying through the evening prayer for the day…we prayed through the liturgy, the psalms, the old testament and new testament readings, the Lords prayer, the collect for the day, our own prayers for people and situations. The rythmn of prayer, joining with others around the world who are sharing the same words, words based on scripture, words given to you, when your brain can’t formulate the prayer itself. Praying together, taking a line each, when alone you, you might just have given up. 

Then driving out of the city with other friends, we visited a church which had soaking prayer. To sit or lie, resting in God’s presence, focusing on the music and my breathe, leaving space for God’s Holy Spirit to drop scriptures into my heart, words of encouragement, words of truth and hope, pictures too. Halfway through a hand was laid on my shoulders as someone drew near me and blessed what God was doing. What God was doing, my weary mind didn’t have to do anything, just rest in His presence and recieve, be filled. 

Two ways to pray when your mind is foggy…yet God works through both…and amazingly yesterday both had this verse of encouragement…

“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
    I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze.

(Isaiah 43:1-2)

Tonight is my last night at the vicarage, it’s my last night being mummy to a gorgeous black Labrador.

Its been a really hard fortnight. Starting after a week off sick with antidepressant withdrawal and while my parents were visiting. The dog immediately setting off my asthma so my peak flows were at 50% meaning i went from no asthma medications straight to a blue and brown inhaler and oral steroids!!

I’ve felt low, I’ve felt suicidal. I’ve been in tears. I’ve felt well and truly unwell. Plenty of time lying on the sofa in front of the TV.

My workplace has moved offices and my car wouldn’t start. The alarm has gone off while i was out. I’ve rescued kids from A&E when their mum needed treatment, occupying them and feeding them. I’ve driven to the neighbouring city (about 20 miles and a journey I’ve only done once before). I’ve been cooked dinners and cooked for others. I’ve learnt to make scones. I’ve had a pay rise.

I’ve woken up to the dogs timetable, scared head would soil the cage. I’ve dealt with his ‘accident’ following munching too many apples. I’ve picked up poo and observed his toileting habits. I’ve given him his meals and played with him in the garden. He’s sat on my feet and wagged his tail against my legs.

Now in the last 24 hours, I’ve filled the fridge, hoovered and started to clean. Tomorrow I will make their dinner, clean and washing my bedding. I’m scared it won’t be clean enough, that I’ll put things in the wrong place, have eaten something i shouldn’t have and that they’ll still be able to feel dog hair on the floor. Then I’ll disappear before they arrive, aware that they don’t really want other people in their home, their private space and that i was the only option left to look after the dog. The last resort.

Start

The pressure builds, yesterday my manager said I’m not meeting the targets, today he hassles me for an email that has been posted, but hasn’t arrived. I struggle to put together my training session ready for tomorrow, trying to work out what to include and leave out, without clear guidance on what he wants. Suddenly I decide to check if he has a projector and laptop arranged. I ring him up – you haven’t ordered one…what, who does training without a PowerPoint presentation, projected on a screen. Obviously we come from different generations. The tears start to fall. I get off the phone and text an old colleague –  I wish you were here still for a coffee, not coping today. The colleague next to me suggests I go for a walk, get some fresh air. I’m in no state to return to my presentation. I walk round the building, discover a green space I never knew, a bench in the sunshine. I ring some friends until someone picks up. I don’t want to dump my loser self on others, yet I know I need to hear that friendly voice. Half an hour later I get off the phone, the tears still fall, and my nose is running. At least I now see why this has been triggered, by speaking it out, I discover I have too much on my plate this week and I’m tired, not just the work stuff but a talk for church to write and a report for the members newsletter. I change my task for a while, praying God help me through the day, as my friend suggested. I get through the day, get home, and curl up in bed with a trashy book…

Stop

Joining with Lisa Jo Baker

5minutefriday

 

I know its Sunday, but I’m inspired to join Lisa Jo Baker for the first time and write on the word Brave.

Brave. For me to be brave, I would share my struggles with depression publically, not just in places where I can be anonymous. Like a sunflower that stands tall and shines, yet at its centre you glimpse the darkness within. I live with depression. I’ve been so unwell I couldn’t work.Now back in the workplace, I’ve had to leave my profession and work for less money. I’ve had to trust God still has a plan for my life. Holding tight to Jeremiah 29:11 and Romans 8:28. But only some people even glimpse the surface of my story, my struggle.  Today I found that the Archbishop of Canterbury’s daughter did an interview about her struggle with depression. She was brave where I couldn’t be. So today I shared her interview on Facebook and wrote the words “I recommend highly this interview by the daughter of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Like her I too have depression, and I can identify with much of her experience; the faithfulness of God, how precious friends are and the benefit of routine.” It is the first step. For only as we step out bravely to share our struggles with depression, will others find encouragement and the stigma of mental illness be broken in society and in the church.

Image

Depression

Depression

Sinking into the depths. Confusion. A fog. Yet look for the gold thread, for even in the depths…God is there with you…

In the last 48 hours I’ve done the following…

1. Cried

2. Beat myself up

3. Decided not to contact anyone to say how I am, I don’t want to be a burden in their already busy lives.

4. Carried on as usual

5. Drunk tea and snuggled on someone Else’s sofa

6. Allowed someone else to show interest in how I am

7. Tearful and snotty

8. Been blessed by the positive in messages

9. Read the negative in messages

10. Felt neglected when call got cut off and thought that represented their lack of concern

11. Looked up the number for the Samaritans

12. Ruminated over whether to ring the Samaritans or not

13. Decided the Samaritans had more important cases

14. Went to work 

15 Continued work as normal, my ‘stuff’ tightly shut in a box

16. Took up the offer of a place to run away to

17. Stayed with old friends who love me and care about me

18.Talked to friends with the ability to speak truth and life

19. Been cooked for

20. Eaten excellent food

21. Enjoyed country air

22. Enjoyed the sunshine and blue sky

23. Enjoyed the company of children

24. Drunk cups of tea

25. Time away from home

Hoe do you cope with the lows? How can you be a blessing to people during their lows…when they don’t feel able to ask for help?

Too much

The words for today are too much.

Too much work

Too many referrals

Too many needy people

Too many people telling me different things to do.

Too much stuff to sort and declutter

Too much stuff to pack

Too much stuff to do

Too much for the time

Too many meetings

Too many people talking over me

Too much tummy ache

Too many tears

Too many emotions

I am too much

Too much of a burden

too much effort

too much broken

Too many issues

just too much for other people’s busy lives

I am too much.

But my grace is sufficient for you and my strength is made perfect in weakness…                  

2 Corinthians 12:9