I’m not sure if its the meds, the thought of Christmas coming, positive activity at work or an overall change in attitude but things are looking good. Long may it stay that way!
I’m in a better place mood-wise than I have been in the last 2 years, and sleeping better than I have since those so-long-ago teenage years. I still have my off days, my occasional rants, but who doesnt? Recognising them for just being a normal “bad day” in the cycle of life is in itself a huge, positive leap forward. Previously, a bad day would lead me to stress over more bad days to come, and the cycle of anxiety would become self-fulfilling. Back in February when I was off work, the bad days were almost paralysing – didn’t want to go outside, see people, talk to anyone.
Now? sink into paperwork or other acheivable stuff, go for a walk, say hi to a pal, smile at a stranger in the street. Get on with life. Jump into a game for a wee while and laugh with friends. The change is visible and good. I’m still semi-nocturnal, but the “4am and (still) wide awake” deal seems to have receeeded to the extent it is manageable – maybe once or twice in a month. Praise be!
Its been gradual and feels like a long slog, but in all of this I have been given a glimpse of what some struggle with for a lifetime. For many this “slough of despond”, the feelings of (usually misplaced) guilt, isolation and darkness can last for years, and be much more deep and treacherous. Hopefully the experience of the past year or so will make me a better minister to those who struggle similarly – able to offer support from a place of true understanding, rather than as merely a concerned outsider.
Alan, (the gorgeous beardy one – not to be confused with other less hirsute Alans I know), has been a rock throughout all of it, despite having his own stresses and strains (he works for HBOS, ’nuff said!). Pals have listened to me whinge, rant and cry. Local colleagues have been extremely supportive, and congregation members have dragged me out of the office for surprise lunches on occasion. Thanks everyone!
Way back in March/April I wrote a little about walking this dark journey, convinced that sooner or later resurrection would come. I see the light of Easter, glimmering like the paschal fire of Easter Eve. I do not dare quite yet to state that “Easter is here, I’m fixed”, I dont think i ever will. The thing about faith, the thing about Easter, resurrection and all that stuff is that it is a continual rising, a continual journey. We proclaim Christ is has come, is coming, and will come again. We are all at stages on the way of expressing and proclaiming that truth, and I’m further on in this personal journey than I was. May I (and those who struggle similarly) continue to journey forward, in the grace and courage of the one for whom we wait as Advent begins and Christmas approaches.