Confessions of a Depressed Pastor’s Wife

Posted: October 20, 2014 in Uncategorized

I have depression.

My technical diagnosis is Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) with a side of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) which is pretty much meaningless to anyone who isn’t keying in insurance codes. More tangibly explained, my depression interferes with my life. The way I describe it, I’m sitting at the bottom of a frozen lake. I’m numb, I can’t breathe, and I can’t get through the ice, so I sink to the bottom in exhaustion.

Mental illness, while it has gained awareness over the years, is still fraught with stigma. I have been spoken to like a child even though there isn’t anything wrong with my cognitive abilities. My feelings on issues have been treated as less than because “I’m depressed.” Sometimes people think I ought to be able to snap out of it with enough motivational posters and others offer unhelpful advice, not considering that I’ve wrestled with this darkness for the better part of my life.11 19 11_1542

I don’t want to put on a mask, but I wear one anyway because usually it’s easier to smile on Sunday morning than to admit how deep my pain goes. Because my pain is always deep. Because my pain is always present.

Chances are, if you’ve interacted with me, while I’ve joked and laughed, inside I’ve spent the day fighting a war on multiple fronts. There’s the battle to get out of bed. There’s the battle against darker thoughts of suicide. I wage war against doubt and fear. I take up my sword and battle unbelief… All before I’ve had my morning coffee.

Few people know how dark my thoughts are or how heavy the load on my shoulders.

I wonder sometimes what God was thinking marrying me to a man in ministry.

I don’t write this for pity. I write this to say something. And there’s more I want to say, but for now, I’ll leave it at this.

  1. Priscilla says:

    I don’t presume you will get very many comments of understanding but more of encouragement. I believe that is good for God is sending his Earthly angels to surround you, including your husband. It’s difficult to merely exist at times and although some feel you want the world to know how much it hurts you can’t always express it. You have been able to open up the cover, and maybe a few pages, of this book of darkness that is your life; I hope you know how much this helps me, and I know others reading will know we are not alone. Thank you for your transparency. It took a lot of courage to post this and I look forward to seeing more if you feel up to it.

  2. jenniechris says:

    I’m glad you talk about this. I have the sense that perhaps mental illness has the possibility to be seen with a bit more stigma by a Christian community because “you’re not trusting God enough” or other such things. However, by sharing your struggles and joy and pain, you give others a voice. Shine on, my friend. I know your days are often a struggle, but I also know you’re an amazing human being who deserves to be acknowledged and accepted and loved.

    • Sara says:

      Mental illness has played a significant role in my life. I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety, and I have family members with diagnoses of schizophrenia and severe bipolar disorders. I’m saying this to let you know that you are not alone, though I know that may only be a small comfort, or perhaps no comfort at all.

      My brother– my best friend and my husband’s too– died from suicide last year. October 25th will be the anniversary of that horrible day. I was comforted when my pastor reached out to us to let us know that just a year before, he had lost his granddaughter in the same way. Grief and depression can be so isolating.

      Your sharing this makes a difference for others. It really does. I hope speaking about it helps you, too. Take care, and God bless.

  3. Joy says:

    Sweet sister. I’ve been there. I’ve sat behind the sound board weeping while my husband preached and only he could see me.

    I am not in that dark place anymore and pray that you won’t be in your dark place much longer.

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