Do Pastors Get Depressed?3
I would never commit suicide.
My wife would miss me.
My children still need a father in their life.
My unborn grandchildren need a grandfather smiling at them.
The trauma it would inflict upon those I love would be unfair and heavy.
I would never commit suicide. Yeah.
Have you ever had that conversation with yourself? It felt completely normal to me, and I was having it quite often last summer. Then it dawned on me, healthy people don’t have that conversation. Why am I talking myself out of suicide? Why do I feel the need to list all the reasons why I would never do something?
Over the previous weeks and months of the summer of 2020, I had become more and more numb. No matter how much I slept at night, I still sleep-walked through my days. Nothing felt interesting. I had nothing to look forward to. The world was simply boring. Food didn’t taste good, sex didn’t feel good, I had lost all joy and pleasure. In the act of encouraging others, I had run out of encouragement for myself.
Then over the summer I felt the last rope snap. I overheard one of my sons describe what it was like to have me as a father. It wasn’t good. I felt like a failure in the one area I had tried the hardest to succeed. I felt like someone had come along and told the world my whole life was a lie. I went to bed and begged the Lord not to make me wake up. I couldn’t go one more day.
Finally, I realized how depressed I had become. That next morning God did wake me up, literally and figuratively. I woke up to the fact that I had to take responsibility for my mental health. I woke up to my need for help. I realized no matter how good my theology was or how eloquently I preached to others, I could not hear my own voice. I got no value from my theology. And I could not get myself out of this hole.
What I plan to do over these next several posts is walk you through how I got so deeply into depression, and how I got out. I hope these posts will help somebody. Help you realize you are not alone. Help you have the confidence to ask for help. And ultimately help you find a healthier mental space.