I’m sat in the doctors. They are running late and everything within me wants to get up and run out the door. I am more nervous about this appointment than any before. This is harder than getting my fertility results. I’m a mixed bag of feelings. I want there to be something wrong so I can have some justification for what’s been happening, but I also feel like a fraud, like the doctor will tell me there’s nothing wrong with me.
Finally it happens, my name is called and I head to the room. I sit down. “What seems to be the matter?” says the doctor. I take a deep breath. “I think I might have depression,” I reply. To be fair, this is a lose/lose situation for the good doctor. Either he confirmed a diagnosis that terrified me or told me nothing was wrong, which equally terrified me.
I’m not supposed to be feeling this way! I’m a Christian – there are some churches that would say I’m possessed. Not only am I a Christian – I’m a youth worker looking at training for ministry. This could threaten my ‘career’.
“Do you want to get better?” The doctor asks. It seems like a strange question, but I leap on it in the affirmative. He goes on to recommend anti depressants. Again my feelings are mixed; if they will benefit me, I’m all for it, but I’ve also heard the horror stories.
The truth is, I think I have suffered with on/off depression for years, and until now I haven’t had the courage to face up to it. There were a few things that helped me get to the point of going to the doctors.
Firstly, a friend revealed they had been diagnosed with depression and the meds were helping. Then I heard Katharine Welby-Roberts speak on the subject at the Youth Work Summit. Not long after that, Robin Williams tragically took his own life and Facebook was filled with pleas to get some help if you were suffering. Most importantly, my brilliantly supportive wife has been gently encouraging me to visit to the doctor’s for a long time. She has done this in an amazingly patient and loving way, never forcing me, but helping me to the place where I can say: “I need to do this.”
That’s why I write this now. I don’t see many men write on this subject. I am three months into my medication. I know it’s a journey and that there is no easy fix, but I’m sharing my journey with you just in case you, or someone you know, needs to reach the same place I did.
God has not left me, He does not hate me, but He meets me in the pit and sets my feet on the rock.