A FACEBOOK CONVERSATION

HIM: You are not alone.

ME: That's the real tragedy.

HIM: Yes. So many people (including clergy) suffer from clinical depression (and the church system) yet we feel so alone.

ME: I had one comment yesterday from a woman who told me about a previous priest in her church not admitting to suffering from depression and who, even when he had to seek medical help eventually, insisted that he was suffering from a physical illness not a mental one. Personally, I think he was being very sensible. I would now try to cover it up if at all possible rather than face the inevitable bigotry that honesty leads to. The irony is that the length of time that the priest hid his condition from the church authorities led to pretty much the death of his church. If there was no threat of losing your vocation for ever if you suffer from a mental health problem you would be more inclined to seek help when needed and the church could provide cover immediately and there would be minimal damage to the church in which you minister.

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