I was depressed last semester… like you-need-to-get-some-help depressed.
I was getting pretty morose, even for me, thinking about how I wished God would just take me. I’m not capable of believing suicide is okay, so that wasn’t a thing, but I genuinely was like, it would be delightful if I could just get hit by a car right now. God – please hit me with a car. Also, I was drinking a fair amount of wine.
So, I decided I should probably do something, because those things are not normal or right. I usually think that dying would be okay – that’s sort of my norm, but actually hoping it’ll happen isn’t me. Also, I hate spending money on anything that isn’t travel, tattoos, or coffee, so it was weird that I was drinking like two bottles of $15 wine a week and eating a lot of expensive chocolate and cheese. Also, I had a pretty intense prayer block and wasn’t even really capable of journaling to God, which is my go-to when I’m struggling with prayer.
So I was up late one night, being depressed, and I decided to look online for a counselor I could talk to. I had no intentions of actually talking to one – especially since I hate paying for things – but I thought it wise to start thinking about it in case things got worse.
I discovered something called Stephen Ministries, which is like a counseling/discipleship ministry. Basically, a lay-person in the church meets with you for an hour once a week, listens, provides counsel, and prays with you and for you. Of course they have their limits and are trained to know what sorts of things to send to a pro, but they help if they can. It seemed like the kind of ministry I’d really want to be involved with from a let-me-help POV, but it was a little harder to see myself getting help.
Well, I emailed the lady in charge of it, and she emailed me back, and I met with her and we filled out the paperwork and she picked someone out to take me on.
So I’ve been meeting with a Stephen Minister once a week.
She’s delightful. She’s got grand kids and cats, and she likes to play the piano. She also tells lots of little parables about her cats and her idea of body art is the make-up she got tattooed to her face.
We’ve met a handful of times, now, and I took my time telling her all the pieces of the puzzle, and this week, she, with big eyes, furrowed brow, and leaning back stiffly, was all, “You’re a really complex person.”
And in my brain, I said, What the hell is that supposed to mean?
She disagreed with me a lot this week, and has decided that my depression stems entirely from singleness. I don’t think that’s true… of course it’s a piece, but there’s a whole lot of crap in every person’s life, and I think all of it contributes to the overall feeling of contentedness or not. I even think the fact that Kendra and I had the internets at home was weighing me down some, and now that we don’t have access, I’m slightly happier.
Generally, I’m more okay nowadays, so I think talking with Rosalie (that’s her name) has been good, so don’t take me the wrong way here, but I’m annoyed at her comment about me being complex. It’s not her fault; I’ve had quite a few people say that to me, so I’m really annoyed at her and all of the people before her.
According to Dickens, “A wonderful fact to reflect upon, (is) that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other. A solemn consideration, when I enter a great city by night, that every one of those darkly clustered houses encloses its own secret; that every beating heart in the hundreds of thousands of breasts there is, in some of its imaginings, a secret to the heart nearest it!”
And I think he’s right, which is one of the reasons I hate it when people call me complex. Aren’t all people complex? I’d be highly disappointed if I discovered that they aren’t. One of the truly beautiful pieces of humanity is the mystery that is the human heart. No matter how we try to explain our hearts to others or even to ourselves, there are complexities that cannot be articulated or understood, but are a sound on a breeze… that originated miles away in a place we’ve never been, but we still hear the sound ever-so-softly, and our heartstrings vibrate along with it.
Now, I admit that I’ve got some writerly-type complexities that probably predispose me to depression… the getting lost in a fictional world of my creation and feeling wounds I’m inflicting on fake people… who wouldn’t get depressed? And I think I put words to feelings pretty well and in ways that others sometimes can’t, so what I talk about is stuff that other people may not talk about, but I believe they still feel it. Also, I like to see things from as many angles as possible, which not everyone likes doing…
But I don’t like the implications of saying that I’m really complex.
Does that mean that other people are simple? That makes it sound like we’re saying they’re stupid.
That’s not right.
Also, she proceeded to tell me that I need to stop thinking about other people so much and think about myself.
I know she’s saying that because she thinks I make choices that promote the happiness of others, at the cost of my own. She sort of even said that I should stop trying to be so fair to everyone and start being fair to myself.
I don’t know if that’s good advice.
I don’t think I want to be the kind of person she wants me to be. I think she thinks I’ll stop being depressed and will find happiness if I stop thinking so much and stop empathizing with others, and rather find myself a man who isn’t too complex, but is happy.
I’m willing to entertain the thought that my depression stems from self-sabotage, but I think it’s probably not good to ever tell someone to think less, in general, and specifically to think more of yourself and less of others. Isn’t that not what the Bible says?
I don’t know.