On the church front, the pastor "passed" my last test regarding how he handled a conversation about depression with me. He explained that his understanding of hope was that it was a belief and assurance that things would get better at some point after whatever dark time, however dark the time might be. I didn't have to be happy in the darkness. I guess I didn't get into the anxiety disorders questions, but his perspective on depression was non-judgmental. And pretty much, if I need to, I can frame my worst mental health struggles into depression terms. Or maybe I should say, when I need support from church people, generally it has to do with depression more than anxiety.
Which implies that I think anxiety is a solo sport while depression is a team sport, pardon my positive terminology. I don't quit think that. I get help for my struggle with anxiety from my blog friends, my counselor, my psychiatrist, and for the most part, people who I think will understand anxiety issues. Depression, however, seems to leave me more needy of help from other people. Anxiety can usually be either ridden out or fled from (i.e. avoidance; I know it isn't the best alternative, but when the anxiety is just too much for the moment, avoidance sometimes works well until I can launch a counter-attack). Depression, however, to hide from it, I sometimes have to connect with other people.
However, despite the pastor "passing" my last test after church (it was an informal test, unplanned. More of an observation than a test), I still struggled with anxiety during church. A pastor preaching with grace apparently doesn't solve all my issues. I still can think of "shoulds." Today, I thought maybe part of the problem was that I was thinking too fast. The pastor's words didn't fill up my brain capacity for the moment, so anxious thoughts had more room to play. So I wrote most of an acrostic poem that I'll try to finish now:
How could you even think of not doing it!
Only a jerk wouldn't do it -
Unless you are just an idiot. Are you
Do it! Or suffer the guilt!
Of course, that isn't what my pastor was saying. That was me trying to describe what a "should" can be like in my head. :)
There is at least one positive to having a super speedy brain, well, at least my brain. I can learn information fast. Hence how I learned so much of what I needed to memorize about human anatomy for the week yesterday.