I have been on leave from my pastorate since October 2010. I left because of a series of panic attacks, caused primarily by the stress that had built up in my life. Being Methodist, pastors are subject to being moved by a bishop, but in 19 years in ministry I had been in 10 different appointments! The last one was 50 miles from where my family lives, but we didnt want to move into the parsonage because my wife works two blocks from where we were living.
The long commute seemed to exacerbate issues I had had before in churches. After only 4 months, two ladies of the church met with me to tell me -- you aren't "social' enough, you are very awkward around people, you don't seem connected here, and we really feel a need for more involved leadership. I began to have panic attacks that night, and left the church before the week was out at the urging of a denominational supervisor.
Since then, I have been in therapy. I have learned that I have several fairly severe Personality Disorders as well as ADHD. The only interest my denomination has taken in me is to make sure I fill out all their appropriate forms. I have received virtually no support, and my wife has receieved none whatsoever. Ironically, the only way I can retain my ordination status is to remain actively involved in a Methodist church. My family has not been going to church with me.
I can't see any way of ever getting back into the pastorate (my wife doesn't want it.) But there is simply no other career that has meaning to me. I am 53, and see no prospects. I can't imagine what I would be able to do, and would want to do, that someone would hire me to do. And, most of the time, I am frankly too depressed to mke any progress on all that.
I guess I sort of flamed out rather than burn out. And all I have been saying since October is, "I need more help." Any ideas out there?