by chris

I am not a pastor, not anymore. I was "forced" out on leave after several panic attacks. I know it was what had to be done. I know I was beyond the point where I could hope to go on in my church. So, without that, what is there to hope for? With nearly a year of counseling and medication behind me, I am not making the slightest progress with my depression and other psychological issues. I am simply too depressed most of the time to do the hard work that getting better would require. I don't see anything in the process to give me any hope, and I am losing my grip. I need more help.

Comments for Hopeless

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You are not alone
by: Anonymous

Hugs Chris I feel your pain just reading that. We were also pushed out of ministry for different reasons and it hurts more than words can say. Even though it feels hopeless right now I want you to know God still has a purpose for your life. Don't give up, praying that you know his prescence in a profound way and his comfort as you go through this. You've been given some great Advice. I'm believing you will come through this and you will see healing.

Don't Give Up
by: Anonymous

I want you to know how sorry I am that you are facing this battle with panic attacks and depression. I know from personal experience how debilitating it can be. I know what it is like to fight those dark and fearful thoughts. I recall thinking I must be the weakest and poorest of pastors. I remember wondering if I would ever know joy or laughter again or even smile. It was a very painful time.

I really don't want this to come across as preaching, but I believe this so strongly. What you need my friend is to fight to renew your hope. Hope that God is a God of mercy and love. Hope that things can get better somehow, this is not the end. Hope that says there is a purpose for your life and you can offer a very special gift to the world around you, that your life matters to many people. I discovered that hope was found, not in my unstable emotional state, but holding onto what I believed was true. I had to work extremely hard at separating my feelings from what I desperately needed to be the truth. I had to surround myself with positive people and positive messages. I could not let my mind free-wheel or I would find my thoughts would spiral downward into the toilet very fast.
I know that the battle sometimes feels unwinnable and tiresome and beyond your control. There may be some benefit in righting wrongs, but you can be in the right, putting others in their place and still fight the emotions and dark thought-life.

Long term, the answer is found in repeatedly finding yourself (I mean every 5 minutes) in the loving arms of a faithful God. Find some people who are safe and who understand and won't judge you. Find some sermons or teaching that reinforces the truth that you are loved and valued by God and that you are secure in Him, regardless of how you may feel at any moment.

Wish I could be there for you my friend. You will come through, hang in there!!!

Please Stand Up For Yourself
by: Anonymous

I know it feels hopeless. Depression is anger turned inward. What you are really wanting to feel is the anger over being forced out. But, instead, you turn it inward, safely, you think, converting it into depression. You have been treated unfairly and you know it. A great injustice has been done to you and you know it. But, in your Christian upbringing you are taught to "forgive." "Just let it go" is the Christian mantra. "Give it to God" or "Let Go and let God." This is unhealthy. You have to get the anger out constructively. You have to allow yourself to feel the anger and voice it with a safe friend. This congregation should never have mistreated you. They were wrong to do so. If you, "tell it like it is" you will feel so much better. I recommend writing a letter to your former congregation telling them how much they hurt you. I have done that before. I wrote to the head of the board of my former congregation. I didn't hear back but it was important to let someone know how they had hurt me and what it had done to my faith in the Lord. I wrote the letter because it was part of my process of telling the truth as I saw it. That is all you need to do to start ridding yourself of this awful depression which is just anger. A letter like this must come from your heart and must be addressed to the person on the board least likely to stomp on you. I would also send a copy to the district supervisor of the denomination. I have had to do this several times in ministry to stick up for myself when other clergy members/congregants tanked my ministry. Please, write a letter stating the facts and who tanked your ministry. You must stick up for yourself and defend yourself in these situations! You are not helpless and Christian justice demands that if you have been "forced out" which is abuse and bullying, you must do something to help yourself. You are sitting in this anger and depression and the remedy is action! If you have been "forced out" and that usually means you were bullied to the point of resignation, then you have been wrongfully treated. It is a Christian thing to defend yourself and all the platitudes that your mind is giving you like "it must have been the Lord's will" are just excuses for you to sit and do nothing. I want to tell you that even if no response comes from the board or denomination that you have put something in writing. Please, defend yourself over what is essentially a wrongful termination, bullying and abuse. I have been bullied and abused in more churches this way than I care to admit. Stand up tall brother and take your dignity back! Elizabeth+

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