I’m visiting with a parishoner the other day, I was struck once again by how completely misunderstood clinical depression is, in all of its various forms. This parishoner felt terribly guilty because he couldn’t spend any time with his family. He felt selfish that he had to spend so much of his time nad energy just on being able to function in a normal way. Two hours with the kids might mean 10 hours of time alone wiht quiet and no stress.
Was this person being selfish? No! They are sick. When you are sick there are certain things you need to do in order to get well. If you are talking about chronic sickness, there are certain things you can do, and others that you simply can’t. It isn’t a sign of moral failure. It is a sign of the fallenness and general sickness of our world and our own bodies. I urged this person to remember that they are doing what they do in order to get better. They are doing it so that they can fulfill their vocations as husband and father and worker. They aren’t being selfish. Far from it. They are being selfless.
It is easy when you are in the midst of the darkenss to think that you are coddling yourself by having to spend so much time alone and in little or no stress situations. When I was on disability, I played 157 rounds of golf. It took a lot of time, it cost a fortune, and I absolutely needed it. Why? Quiet. No family, no church, no email, no outside distractions, no stimulation beyond what was right in from of me. I’m sure there were more economical ways to do it. But this was my way. It worked.
So if you are in the midst of the darkness, don’t feel guilty about doing what you need to do to get better. You are doing them so that you will be able to be with your family and friends again. You are doing them so that you can serve you neighbor as best as you are able. And God is with you, will cover up your weaknesses, and use you to His glory and for the welfare of many. Including your family and friends.