Change: A Trigger for Depression?
Lately I have been going through a huge change with my husband and kids. Not with them directly, but with them as a whole. Our family had to change churches after being at one for over 13 years. It was not a snap decision nor an easy one to make especially now. We had been looking for every reason to stay since we were being expected to fill in for a time after the pastor retires in May until a new one was appointed.
Believe me I would love nothing more than to tell you all about why we left there, but it wouldn’t come out very nice, because I know mistakes were made by many of us all around. Also, I would never publicly humiliate anyone, especially on the internet. But I have friends who know we have left, but don’t know why, and I am not going to vent here. What I want to talk about is where I am at right now.
1. Change makes me feel a little lost. On the one hand, I am glad we left that church. I like the new church we have found. It is bigger, seems a lot healthier, and the pastor is young and very knowledgeable. My husband commented that it feels a little weird having a pastor who is younger than we are, but we are both fine with it. Actually, I find it refreshing. I enjoy the worship music there also much more than where we were or having to do it ourselves. In fact the task of having to take over the music there in May was weighing heavy on us, and we just didn’t feel it was God’s calling at this time. We enjoyed doing it while we could, but were not looking forward to the pressure and
time-committment of it every week, especially since my husband works full-time. The pastor there is retired from his past career so pastoring is the only job he has. That makes a huge difference.
On the other hand, I feel we may have let some people down who were counting on us to take over until a new pastor was appointed there. In fact I know some people were counting on my husband to be preaching and teaching more, and for us to do the music. However, the congregation knew nothing about what was really going on behind the scenes in the leadership there. We didn’t feel it was our place to tell anyone everything either, but my husband was under so much stress between his committment there and his job, that he said, “Something has to go. I can’t quit my job or my family, so we have to quit this church. We need to move on and find a healthier one.” We also decided that we would not allow ourselves to jump into getting involved in anything extra besides going to Sunday services and maybe a men’s or women’s bible study during the week. The problem with that, however, is that this church is in town. So…..it means another trip to town during the week.
Fortunately, the men’s group meets twice a month on the same days my husband has his chiropractor appointments in town anyway. So he went to it last week, felt spiritually fed and uplifted, and enjoyed it very much. The women’s study is on Thursday mornings, though, which would mean even another trip to town for me. I almost went last week, but I didn’t. I am just not feeling very sociable right now or up to meeting new people. I don’t know when I’ll go. All the other women’s studies are in the evenings at people’s houses and on the evenings of the days of the week I take my kids to classes which would mean more driving on those days. THAT is not going to happen! It would totally wear me out. So I am still thinking about all of this.
2. I really hate change! It feels upsetting to me, even moreso when it is on the heels of something negative happening. My husband and I are having to deal with hurt, anger and forgiveness. I don’t like leaving a church this way, but in this case it was the best way. We chose not to go and announce it to the congregation. We just didn’t go back. Otherwise, we would have both said things that could have been misconstrued or come across more hurtful than we meant them. We didn’t have any issue with anyone really except the pastor. We heard that he obviously didn’t talk about any of it to save face on his part, and told people we were taking a sabbatical. Well, that isn’t true, and he knows it, so whatever. I did call the people I care about the most and told them a little about why we were leaving, but not details, and they said we would be sorely missed. That felt good. However, I have yet to have heard from anyone I talked to since then. No one has called to inquire about how we are doing. I try not to focus on that, but it hurts. I find myself questioning whether we ever made much of a difference there.
To change the subject for a bit, I remember always feeling nervous on the first day of school every year. New classes, my daily routine being upset from lazy, fun summer days to riding the bus there and back and having to do homework, etc. Part of me would feel a little excited, but mostly every year I hated it. Change has always been difficult for me. Perhaps it is because it gets me out of the comfort zone I am in when it comes.
I know, though, that instead of staying stuck, change can bring growth which I am looking forward to now.
3. Change always triggers depression in me. I have been this way all of my life. I became depressed both times my family moved when I was growing up. Relationships that came and went brought it on. An experience of date-rape brought it on when I was 16. And that was a couple of months after my family’s second move, so everything was compounded! Then to top it off that year, being bullied by three girls at the new high school I went to compounded it even more. Starting to drink and do drugs brought it on when I was 19, but I fooled myself into thinking that was helping me somehow. I was finally “coming out of my shell” and was “the life of the party” all the time. Ten years later, quitting drugs and alcohol brought it on. I lost friends whom I didn’t want to hang out with any more so I could avoid the temptation to go back to it. Divorce, and even re-marriage brought it on. Pregnancy, and having newborns brought it on.
4. Even good changes sometimes bring on depression in me. I have never understood this, and it actually depends on what the good change is. For instance, I didn’t become depressed when I graduted high school. I couldn’t wait to get out! However, I became depressed right after I re-married. Why? I think the difference may perhaps be that in the first case, I was celebrating an achievement. I made it throug high school. I graduated with good grades, and I also wasn’t being pressured about going to college by my parents. On the other hand, when I
re-married, I was psyched about finding a man who really understood me, loved me for who I am, and who I knew would stay committed to me until one of us dies! But after we were married, fear began to set in. I feared being able to stay married. After all, my first husband divorced me for selfish reasons on his part. But it was actually the best thing for both of us in the long-run. I believed for the first few years after the divorce all of the “if-only’s” that I usually have when I feel like I’ve failed. So I found myself going back into my “perfectionistic” habits in my new marriage for a while. Fortunately, a lot of counseling helped me through all of that, and we are getting ready to celebrate our 20th anniversary in December. I know I am a better person because of having a husband who is also my best friend! I thank God for him all the time.
The change I am going through right now is good; I know this. Nevertheless, it still feels scary. It still feels depressing. However, I know God will get me through this. He always does. I know that He is always my light in the dark places. He is my strength. He is always there for me. The best attribute about God, for me, is what the writer of Hebrews in the Bible declares about Him:
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8.