Sweet Baby Jesus, I am Cray Cray!


I always thought mental disorders were a sign of weakness. That persons inflicted were not strong enough, were not grounded enough in the real world, that they selfishly didn’t see how good they have it compared to others. That they didn’t pray hard enough.

That they didn’t pray hard enough. How arrogant and stupid of me? I should have known better, spent so many years praying to be alleviated of my own “sexual dysfunction.” Thinking for so long that my prayers were unanswered but knowing now that the best thing for me was to stay just as I was and to be who I was born to be… but that is another story.

In order to enter the ordination process with the Presbytery of San Francisco, I had to go under a psychological evaluation. Over the course of a few weeks I took several tests (called inventories) and met with Scott Sullender of the Interfaith Counseling Center in San Anselmo, California.

In his official report to the Presbytery Dr. Sullender suggested I have the diagnosis of Social Anxiety Disorder and Depression.

Christopher’s clinical profile on the MMPI-2 is not within normal limits. There is some evidence of depression, indicated by elevated D2, D4, RC2 and DEP2 scales. There is no evidence of any psychotic thinking or behavioral patterns. The general anxiety scales are within normal ranges, but there is strong evidence of a social anxiety disorder.

Christopher’s social difficulties would be revealed not just in his anxiety around speaking in public, but also in his ability to do “small talk,” manage interpersonal tension, and take the initiative to meet and greet strangers. Such social engagements generally wear him out emotionally, and he has already found that he needs to balance prolonged social engagements with solitary activities. Like most introverts he is more comfortable in one-to-one conversations, and in those contexts he can be friendly, open and socially engaging.

If Christopher is as introverted as these inventories suggested, he may not find congregational ministry as satisfying and fulfilling as he hopes.
Weakness.

These last few weeks have been taxing. Am I healthy enough for ministry? For life? Panic attacks at church, at group functions, with friends. It’s never been this bad but I suppose in knowing the truth and also having to bring life experiences to the surface in this evaluation process, it was an inevitable outcome to display symptoms when proclaiming a diagnosis.

Looking for solitary community I ran across this blog series called The Burden of Being Broken, written by Ashley Morgan Jackson. In her blog, Ashley chronicles her depression journey in the midst of her happy Christian life.
This is my story of struggling with my mental health. I share it because for so long I thought I was the only one, I thought I was broken, I thought I just wasn't strong enough and I felt helpless and hopeless. Depression, anxiety and other mood disorders aren't talked about openly enough in general, let alone in Christian circles. I share so that if you or someone you love is walking, has walked or may someday walk through this, you can know you are not alone, that God is there, and that there is hope.
There is hope. Thank you Ashley. Thank you God.

Dr. Sullender's report ended with a recommendation to proceed with the process but to seek therapy. In time I will go before the Committee of Preparation for Ministry (CPM) and will have to acknowledge this diagnosis and declare a course of action. I am currently seeking counseling and being clear with myself about how to manage this stress. Unfortunately the way I cope is to disappear, to dance alone in my room, to push those who love and hurt me away.

I am a work in progress. Bear with me.

One of the things I have learned over the years is that no one is perfect. We have no idea what we’re doing. Figuring it out as we go. Doctors, lawyers, politicians, teachers… no one knows what they’re doing. Pastors, have no idea what they are doing. We are human and inflicted with the human condition of being ever broken and ever mending. I can understand now, and forgive, the “sins” of previous persons who I do not agree with theologically. Our actions hurt others, even when we’re trying to love them. I can say with certainty that the majority of my issues are a result of the hurt I received while being loved growing up. I can not imagine how many people I have hurt in my loving them. To those I considered weak, forgive me, I have been humbled.

Acknowledgement. Forgiveness. Forward.

Up next is a series of seminary tours. First stop: Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary.

If anyone knows any pro-bono counselors (with a Christian background) in San Francisco, please message me privately.

Pray for me as I pray for all of you.

Amen.

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Sweet Baby Jesus, I am Cray Cray! Sweet Baby Jesus, I am Cray Cray! Reviewed by Christ贸pher Abreu Rosario on 10:14 Rating: 5

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