For far too long I have held a lot of my struggles in. I want to set an example of transparency and accountability by “coming clean.” I want to do so for the few who actually read my posts by writing about each one individually over the course of a few weeks. Today, I write about depression.
I love my mom. She is very smart, wise, and insightful. What does that have to do with anything? Well about two years ago, I had a lot of “bad” things happen. I lost a close friend to suicide. I had some unknown (for a while) health problems. I had the financial stresses of trying to pay for the emergency room visits. Not to mention, the normal everyday stresses of life. My wife was having some uncertainty about her job. We had recently had our first child. I was having some problems with family members. Being a pastor, at that time for only about a year, was way more stressful than I anticipated. And so on and so on.
All of that to say, I couldn’t handle what was happening. My prayer life became stronger. My friends and family (that I told) supported me, but I could not shake it. My wife had come in contact with a Christian counselor through her work. I called him and we went and met with him. Let’s just say that I was not mentally healthy. Basically, he, along with my physician, diagnosed me with depression and anxiety.
Back to my mom (and no I do not also have ADD), she was the only one that I told who did not seem surprised. Why? After I told her, she began to re-tell certain times in my life where she thought the same thing. After my initial “thanks a lot for telling me then” moment, I realized that this was not just an “all of a sudden” thing.
Here’s my number one problem which makes my mental unhealthiness worse: I keep everything in. Praise God, I am better. I am not “fixed.” I in no way suffer as other people do. I still have good times and bad times in my battle. But I am learning to let people into my life (even the parts I don’t necessarily want them to see). Because having someone there is sometimes the only thing that can get you through.
I still regularly see my counselor and my doctor about these issues. I still rely heavily on God, my wife, my family, and my friends. So please pray for me, and I will pray for you. And let’s start to be more open about the realities of mental unhealthiness and seek to improve it wherever we can.