by Father John
I spoke at Synod one year about my depression, and it was surprising to have some clergy come up afterwards to say thanks, and to tell me of their own 'hidden' experiences.
It was a very dark three years, brought on partly by my inability to cope with conflict. Except for six months leave, I kept working, and even during the leave, stayed in the parish, helping with unofficial things, and stuffing envelopes at the local welfare agency, though the authories, with good intentions, wanted me to go away - the worst advice.
I tried a series of anti-depressants, some worse than the disease, finally finding one that helped, although it had undesireable side-effects. In my case though I had no great problem eventually taking myself off it.
What I discovered helped were the company of friends, plus light (!) and every night, however black things had been, writing down 10 things for which to give thanks!
It did all help me in my understanding of what others were going through, and in my work in hospital chaplaincy in particular.
Mind you, the indifference of some in the Church nowadays to chaplaincy of any kind, and some of their alternative obsessions sadden, but don't burden me. All of us just need to get a life.
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