As I indicated in my last post, I will be going back on my anti-depressants very shortly. This is a good thing. I have sort of created a fortress around myself with the thought/dream/hope that I would never have to take medication again. Stupid. It’s just a pill. It’s not like I’m tying myself to a life of misery or whatever. Anyway, it is amazing how we can create these barriers to health and healing.
Here are a few of the signs that I have seen in myself that are telling me I need to do this. What do you think?
1. Longing for food and drink. There’s nothing magical about this. My brain wants stimulation. Something isn’t working. So it is sending out signals to my body: DO SOMETHING TO MAKE ME FEEL. So I have been eating like there will be a famine tomorrow, and drinking like it’s January 1920. I’ve always had a problem with moderation in food and drink, but this is really getting crazy. Irrational. Almost instinctive. I can sit outside my brain and look at my behavior and say STOP THAT, but I can’t. It’s really making me nuts.
2. Excessive computer time. I’m a techno-geek in the best of circumstances, but there comes a time when computer usage is no longer serving to actually work or even play, and moves into simple avoidance of human interaction. I’m well past that point right now.
3. The ongoing specter of dread. Dread is one of those words that in my mind best describes my depression. Dread for me means the perpetual feeling that disaster will strike at any instant, that it is inevitable, and that I might as well just accept it. It’s not true. I know it’s not true. But the feeling is always there, and is only getting worse.
4. Always tired. I just want to sleep. Always. I don’t want to get up. I don’t want to move. I certainly don’t want to talk to people, even my family. I. Just. Want. To. Sleep.
5. Avoidance of conflict. Pastors almost by definition have to deal with conflict. It comes with the territory. I, like most people, don’t like conflict. We all have to weigh the dislike of conflict with the need to actually resolve situations, even difficult ones. When I tip the scales toward being willing to put up with horrible circumstances rather than have a simple conversation, that’s a sign that things aren’t working right.
6. Prayer becomes more of a cross than usual. I envy pastors that seem to pray easily. They love it and rejoice in it. I want that. I really do. In normal circumstances, I have a relatively structured prayer life, thanks in part to our school. But when things are starting to go south for me mentally, I avoid prayer like it is talking to an axe murderer. I just don’t want to do it. Even though I know it is for my benefit. Even though I know that I will feel better afterwards. I just don’t. Blech.
Anyway, that’s a first crack at self-evaluation. What do you think of this list? What are your signs that things aren’t going well for you?