20 September 2017

The Hilarious World of Depression

With a nod and apologies to the excellent podcast of the same name. (Which I recommend.)

One year ago this week I met with a counselor. OK, let’s call him a therapist—that’s what he calls himself. It was early in my third year of teaching on a one-year contract. (That’s another story; don’t get me started.) Obviously in a tentative professional position, four years after leaving full-time ministry I was still “in transition,” and I had some issues I wanted to talk through with a professional. It seemed innocuous enough: I would tell him my concerns, he would give me some assignments, I would go on my way stronger and able to meet whatever was next.

I was so young and naïve.

In some 37 years of full-time work (most of that in ministry) I found that there were issues I kept bumping up against. Things I didn’t do well. Mistakes I kept making. Clues I wasn’t getting. I wanted to untangle whatever all that was so when I went looking for the next job I would have my eyes open and my best game on.

A year later, and I am still seeing the therapist, and am now in my fourth year of teaching on a one-year contract. But I have to say, “what a difference a year makes!” Am I all straightened out? Not by a long shot. There have been surprises, light-bulb moments (“aha!”), and I guess we’d call them breakthroughs. No longer weekly, we now meet monthly—I guess a sign that I’m in a better place.

It has been quite the adventure. And since many people walk around with issues they feel they can’t talk about, I thought I’d write a little about this adventure here.


There, I’ve said it. When it first came up in my sessions I thought: “OK, here we go.” I do not feel stigmatized with the diagnosis. I do not feel that the label contradicts my status as a child of God. I do not believe my depression betrays a spiritual condition (sin). What the diagnosis and therapy have done for me is the Adventure.

But before I write more, I hope that anyone who may read this will feel that they can talk to someone about their feelings. If you are depressed—or think you may be—see someone about it. If you aren’t sure, let me draw your attention again to the excellent podcast, “The Hilarious World of Depression.” Listen to a few episodes and see if anything there resonates with you. If it does, find help . . . a good friend, a pastor, a counselor, your doctor, a therapist.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Mine began looking for answers to a problem I didn’t understand. I don’t know how far along I am on that journey, but I’m glad for the loved ones who are on the journey with me.

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