In my process of healing, I have reached the point where church things generally are coming easier. Thank God. It’s been a long road. I can handle being around my parishioners again, greeting people, even teaching bible class and preaching (although not weekly). This is all good, and a sign from all of you pastors, etc., who fear things can never change. They can, and with God’s mercy, they will. Don’t lose hope.
But this is my cross right now. I (and my therapist) call it “The Din”. My wife and I have several children under ten years old in our household. I love them all deeply, as well as my wife.
The problem is that being around then for any length of time is the hardest thing I do.
How can this be? How can it be that the very ones whom I love the most (other than my wife) are the very ones that are the barrier and roadblock in my recovery?
Well, this is how I think it works. The biggest thing for me right now is stimulation and energy. The more stimulation I have (noise particularly), the more my energy is sapped, and the more, uh, zombie-like I become. It used to be that any interaction with anyone would do this. Even a conversation in a car could lay me flat for hours. But now it has focused down to my children.
I’m not very happy about this. I love my children, and if I had my way, I would be able to “handle” them before anything else. But I am not in control, so things don’t work the way I want them to work. (This should not come as a surprise to anyone.)
It’ll take time, I know. It will come, I hope and expect. But it will not be according to my calendar.
What’s the lesson in all of this? I’m glad you asked:
- You are not alone. Even if your children (or whomever) don’t understand what’s going on, they still love you and want you to get better. Sometimes we must give up what we love the most in order to receive later on. (That’s probably in the Bible somewhere.) Furthermore, there are pastors and others who suffer with you, even if you don’t know them. Trust me on that one.
- The mind is not always predictable. Some things are going to be more difficult for one over another. In my case it’s my children. In someone else’s case it may be greeting after church, eating in restaurants, or dealing with class. This is not a judgment of any sort on how much you love your family, church, Panera, or whatever. It is the reality of this illness we call depression.
- God is merciful. Along the way, for everything you can’t do, there will be two more you can. It comes. Medication, therapy, prayer, the support of a good pastor, your spouse and family, all of these things contribute. God has given us these things for our benefit, and He will use them as He sees fit to bring about healing and hope.
Be well, my friends.