I didn’t know if I was going to put anything up here or not but then I decided it might be a good place to think out loud about some things.
I am on stress leave as prescribed by my psychiatrist. Considering how short that sentence is, only ten words, it is startling how much of a challenge it was to type it. I mentioned in a Slack channel at work, that for someone who has worked pretty hard in a few areas to reduce stigma over the past few years (me), I still worry a lot about how this will come across (be perceived/be received).
“Where is the stigma in needing some time to deal with stress?” you may be asking. It comes from a lot of places. There is the ever-popular, “You have no value when you aren’t working.” There is the, “If you had enough faith in God you wouldn’t be stressed so much.” Let’s not forget, “If you take time off you are letting stress win.” And the strident, “Stress isn’t really a thing; if you aren’t actually sick then you should be at work.” There are more; fill in your own most notable examples. For that matter, feel free to put them in the comments because one of the best ways to deal with the lies that poison our well-being is to bring them out in the open and talk about them, and I’d be happy to talk about them.
So what might be stressing me these days?
First, let me remind all of us (especially me) that stress is stress and good things can also be stressful. For example, the arrival of a longed-for baby is one of the best days of your life but to suggest it doesn’t come with some stress is a serious mistake. [NO we are NOT having any babies, it was the first example that came to mind; substitute getting married or graduating if that helps.]
With that out of the way, stress for me is coming from several sources: family, work, the world, myself. The lack of details may frustrate you somewhat, but for the time-being you will have to believe me that family things are far more stressful than usual. The stories are not my own and as such are not mine to tell.
Work’s most significant stressor was the length of time it took me to work out how best to communicate with my teammates around some important projects and changes in focus. Add in working remotely and all the changes it requires, even though I quite like working remotely, and work hasn’t been entirely “normal” for a while.
The world has COVID-19, #BLM, rearing fascism and authoritarianism, stupidity compounded with cruelty, recession, police brutality, and more to pile on.
As for me, I continue to have depression (I almost typed “suffer from depression” but I’m trying to stay away from that language), anxiety, and ADHD. None of these are improved by a pandemic.
So where does all this leave me? Right here. I am, as always, in the middle of God’s care for me. I am still blessed with friends and family who care for me, who support me, who love me even when I find it difficult to love myself.
Consider this an introduction to what is going on, follow along if you are so inclined, and know I love you regardless of whether or not you read any blog post I have ever made.
Disclaimer: not sure if this is actually a disclaimer or not but if you would prefer to only get notification when a sermon is posted, let me know and I’ll see if I can figure out some way to make that happen. Your alternative is to make a rule in your email app to delete anything from me that has “Stress Leave – ” in the title which should accomplish the same thing.