By Mike A.
At this time last year, my world had completely fallen apart. I’d moved to a new place, started a new job, and enrolled in a Master’s degree program at a nearby university. Although I’d wanted desperately to succeed in my plans, all the big changes were too much. My dark thoughts and anxiety were so overwhelming, that within weeks, I’d quit my job and withdrawn from the university. I was devastated, and the anxiety soon turned into a deep state of despair.
Fortunately, before I moved, I’d looked for a new church. An internet search led me to Trinity Anglican Church. I read the descriptions of the church’s core beliefs and values, and I liked what I saw. When I discovered that there was a class for people dealing with trauma, I decided to check it out. I have never identified a traumatic event from my childhood, but I’ve experienced many of the symptoms that afflict trauma survivors. I thought I might learn some tools and techniques in this class that would help me manage my own troubling thoughts and difficult feelings.
The Deep Recovery program turned out to be just the right thing at the right time. The weekly class helped me break out of my isolation, introduced me to new ideas and techniques, and gave me hope. I began to develop a sense of community by going to the class and attending Sunday worship services at Trinity Anglican. Through the class and personal counseling, Father Matt provided a framework for exploring my questions about myself and my faith. I also learned meditation techniques and prayers used by Christians since ancient times to address negative thoughts and emotions. I made friends with a couple of guys from the class, and slowly, I started to feel better.
My problems did not miraculously disappear. As I started to feel relief from the worst symptoms, I discovered underlying themes and core beliefs that powered my anxiety and depression. I am still dealing with these issues, and some of them may always be with me. Father Matt explained that there are neurological reasons for the persistence of our thoughts and feelings, even after we adopt new beliefs and better practices. New ideas give us hope, but change does take time. I think it’s hope that makes the time bearable.
It’s been almost a year since my first Deep Recovery class. I continue to attend Trinity Anglican, and spend time with a couple of friends from my Deep Recovery group. I volunteer at a couple of local non-profits, and I have a full-time job, where I recently received a promotion. Things are getting better, and in those moments when they still seem tough, I can lean on God and find hope.
A popular Christian song asks, “Have you come to the end of yourself?” When I found myself in the depths of despair, and I couldn’t put myself back together, I think I began to come to the end of myself. I began to ask myself what I really believe, and whether it works. God does work. Faith works. Community works.
I heartily endorse the Deep Recovery program. You have nothing to lose – and who knows what you might gain?