It’s been quite a while since last I posted; my last post was back in May, and here we are now in October. I hadn’t intended such a lengthy hiatus over the summer, but then again I hadn’t anticipated an old demon rearing its ugly head once more; depression.
I’ve been prone to depression all of my adult life; it’s something that has plagued me more or less constantly since I was 15. Most of the time I manage to stay on top of it, but the start of the summer holidays coincided with a large amount of stress in my personal life – right at the time when all the usual church activities halt for summer. So my normal routine was rather thrown; no midweek group at the Bakers’, no morning Communion on Wednesdays or prayer meetings, and no SMUFF to take Freda to either.
It’s easy to slip through the cracks without being noticed during the summer months; people assume you’ve gone away on holiday, or are away yourself. No-one really notices if you’re just not there one morning or evening; so it was quite easy for over six weeks to pass without my attending church with no-one any the wiser.
My faith had faultered during this time away; my prayer life went out the window completely, and it was all I could do at times to just think through the words of the Rosary in my own head, let alone try to say them aloud. God seemed very far away, and the pressure and darkness of depression seemed very close. It was a very lonely time.
It was actually the preparation for St.Mary’s 900th anniversary celebrations that brought me out of hiding, as it were; I’d agreed to write the website for the celebrations, and I knew it was too late for me to back out – there was no-one else who could have taken over at such short notice, and I would have been letting down and disappointing a lot of people who had been relying on me to get this relatively small task done. So I sat down one night and coded the whole thing from scratch whilst my daughter slept, and pushed it live the morning I went back to church.
It turned out pretty good, I think. There was some minor tweaking and the occasional correction to be made here and there as plans changed or new details came up, but the bulk of the work was completed in that 4-hour coding session; I felt I had to get that completed – discharge my obligation – before I could feel comfortable walking back into church again.
I have only missed one Sunday at church since then – due to my toddler daughter being ill; that one Sunday apart however, I have gone back to my usual attendance. The 900th anniversary celebrations went well; St.Mary’s had more visitors on the Saturday of Open House Weekend than had visited the whole weekend the previous year – and on Sunday I fufilled my promise to myself from last year and made it all the way to the very top of the tower. 🙂 I also took part in the “Meet the Bellringers” evening and thoroughly enjoyed having a go, and I’ve put my name down as being interested in being a part of the new bellringing team that St.Mary’s are trying to get together. And the concluding Sunday, on the 28th – Back to Church Sunday, and our harvest festival – marked my first year of attendance at St.Mary’s.
A new group is starting this month, for those wishing to undergo Confirmation in November. Back in May, I thought that Confirmation would be the logical next step for me following Baptism; but following the period of doubt and uncertainty I experienced during August’s descent back into depression, I feel that perhaps this is a sign I am not yet ready to take that step.