Hi. Here in Denver, it’s been over 40 days since the stay-at-home order went into effect. And these have been anxious, stressful, uncertain days. And when things are anxious and stressful, part of our human body’s response is to raise the levels of adrenaline inside us; and while adrenaline is good for our fight or flight response, long-term exposure to high levels of adrenaline can make us cranky, can disturb our sleep, can leave us exhausted, can affect our mental acuity… and some of us are affected more by the side effects of adrenaline than others. And for those of us who struggle with anxiety or depression in general, these times can push us to our very limits.
I want you to know that it’s okay not to be okay. It has disturbed me when I’ve heard people of faith talk about their struggles with mental illness, with anxiety, or depression in terms of if only they had enough faith or if only they were stronger. Mental health struggles are not about how much or how little faith you have. They’re not about how strong you are or how strong-minded you are. It’s not about how much you love Jesus. It’s about our psyche’s limits. And when things are anxious and when things are uncertain, when our stress levels are high, it can be really, really difficult to find hope to find comfort. It can be really difficult to live in a world when all you feel is this impending sense of doom.
But as your Bishop, I want you to know that it’s okay not to be okay and it’s okay to ask for help. Even in this time of physical distancing and social isolation, we have community and part of our job as church community is to hold one another up, to care for one another, to be one another’s hope. In the times we’re struggling to find that hope.
This time of COVID-19 is far from over. And as one writer said, it’s not like a single peak that we have to summit and then we’re finished. This time is more like navigating a mountain range, much like the ones we live with here in Colorado, where there will be peaks and valleys and more peaks. But we will navigate that range by God’s grace and with God’s help, we will navigate it together and it is my prayer that we will care for one another. That we will not shame each other for our emotional struggles, but that we will hold one another. That we will love one another. That we will keep and comfort one another as we navigate this time. Amen.
Please reach out to Colorado Crisis Services for free, confidential, professional, 24/7 support: call 1-844-493-TALK (8255) or text “Talk” to 38255.