I’m Not Fine (And That’s Fine)

I don’t write funny stuff very much anymore. You may have noticed.

Part of this lack of humor is due to time and distance that have removed me from the halls of fundamentalism and worn smooth the hard places needed for creating cutting satire. These days I curate more than I create and that’s ok. I couldn’t possibly write parody that is crazier than the real life examples we see all around us.

There is another reason, however. It’s rather hard to write humor when you’ve been battling depression for years. And I have been in that fight for longer than I’ve been willing to admit for reasons that are many and deeply personal. I’ll tell you all about it the next time you buy me a cup of coffee or a glass of brew.

There are still flashes. There are moments when the old fire burns bright and the words flow. Those are the good days and they’re often few and far between.

I’m not fine.

But here’s the beautiful thing about not being fine — it puts you in some of the best company in the world. I’ve called and e-mailed and texted and PM’d dozens of people over the last few years who aren’t fine either. They’re people with lost identities. They’re families with financial issues and relationships that seem beyond repair. They have old cars that won’t always start and old anxieties that always seem to. They lose sleep. They lose their jobs. They lose their tempers. Sometimes they’ve all but lost hope.

I’ve learned a lesson in those conversations. Somewhere along in the darkness I found this thought and wrote it in lines:

Beyond the years of pain and bliss
The “Why?” of life is only this:
To love someone and be loved too.
The Why of life is me. It’s you.

Maybe you’re one of the fellowship of unfine souls. Maybe in the words of song you don’t have dream that remains unshattered or a friend who feels at ease. If that’s you then you’re in the right place.

Six years later this is what SFL is to me — it’s where nobody has to be fine. Whether ex-fundy, never-fundy, sort-of-fundy, or just plain confused you can feel free to set down the mask and gently fall to pieces.

Welcome. Grab a plate and find a seat. You’re home.

Here there is love. Let it always be so.

199 thoughts on “I’m Not Fine (And That’s Fine)”

  1. In apparent knee-jerk typical fashion you ignored the gist of of my message and immediately posted what I sent to you in order to bash me. Yet, you lump all (mockingly) “fundies” together, and, so end up mocking God and His people and, again, wonder why you are depressed. As I stated, I have not seen what you claim in almost 30 years of being in 6 different churches and visiting or being aware of dozens of others. I am sorry you are depressed. I also suffer, at times, from this as well, though it was much worse and oppressive before I came to Christ. I find that, as I fully surrender to Him and His grace, I am freed from what leads to my depression, but as I wallow in my own self pity and needs, then I find it rears its ugly head. That is me. I don’t know you. I have compassion for you and anyone suffering. However, my point remains: This site’s purpose is to denigrate an entire group of people, made up of millions around the world, and you lump them into one category, and, in doing so, you are simply wrong. I guess there are churches as you describe, but I’ve not seen them, and ALL that I’ve been in describe themselves as “Fundamental”, meaning, yes, that we promote and believe in the fundamentals of the faith. It’s very simple, actually. Again, please look at my church’s website. Those are all REAL people with families and lives, some broken, hurt, wounded, and they find grace, acceptance, love compassion and lots of fun and joy in our church. My pastor is the funniest, craziest, most joyful person I have ever met. He is actually quite a nut (in a good way) and it is catchy. There is joy here. Again, I am sorry you, and those who follow your site, have not had the same experience I have. Peace.

  2. “And David was greatly distressed………. but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God. ” (Paraphrase from 1 Samuel 30:6)
    After years of depression related to having been on the receiving end of persistent bullying and harsh parenting I got sick and tired of being sick and tired and resolved to stop investing precious energy gazing at my navel. I deserve to be happy—not to have whatever I want when I want it—but to be content and stable. Repeatedly analyzing the past had not nurtured my soul. Renewing my mind by reading and hearing the Word has. Paul had plenty of reasons to be depressed but he chose to “press on toward the mark”. I realized I didn’t have to be encumbered by the popular trends of a declining culture or an oppressive fundy background, otherwise how could I walk in the Light, much less be a light to lead others to Christ. Misery can love company for only so long until it ends in emptiness. Leave your first love, be depressed. What I could not change, God changed when I decided to quit languishing and give up my pet victim status. It cost me some pride and indignation. Once I heard Joyce Meyer say “get your mind off yourself and yourself off your mind”. Otherwise how can one have the mind of Christ? When I see myself drawn toward a relapse I can choose to run to the cross and remind myself that I am under command to “be of good courage”, “be strong in the Lord”, and “cast your care upon Him for He cares for you”. I can tell Him anything and won’t be rejected or judged because I am covered by his blood.

    1. Please be aware I’m not talking about clinical depression, a medical condition, I’m referring to attitude about oneself and the ability to have a happy life based on the gifts of God.

    2. Because we know that once one becomes a totally sold out, on fire, completely surrendered Christian all the cares, problems, troubles and issues found in this broken, sinful world just magically disappear!
      If you are doing Churchanity right then you will not have depression.

      The Reformers Unanimous formula of addiction exchange right?

      “Yet, you lump all (mockingly) โ€œfundiesโ€ together, and, so end up mocking God and His people and, again, wonder why you are depressed.”

      Job’s friends are alive and well living their perfect Christian lives in the IFB bunker cult. (but millions?? not hardly, sure… if you count the Islamic extremists as fundamentalists. Thankfully the IFB cult is a relatively insignificant sub-sect of Christianity) .

      But thanks for stopping by and reminding us what arrogant, self-righteous bastards the IFB cult followers can be.

      ftr: I do not mock God but I will mock the puny, weak, hand wringing, milktoast god the fundies portray. The one that is so inept that he can do nothing without permission from his creation and without the help of a self-anointed MOG. I will also mock the mythological, thunderbolt wielding god who sits around waiting to strike anyone down who dares to step out of line. The one who heaps depression and woe upon those who mock his followers.

      And I’ll certainly mock any empire building self-anointed Mog that lords over his flock. I’ll rail against the IFB system because it has no accountability at all to anyone and thus allows men of lesser character to rise to power and abuse those who sit under the sound of their voice.

      It is a rare thing for me to hammer a guest on here this hard but that self-righteous sanctimony and general air of spiritual elitism just pisses me off. Your middle name isn’t John is it?

  3. I’ve read several responses that said some version of ” if you were close enough to God or prayed more….you wouldn’t be depressed”.
    This does not help those of us who are depressed.
    There was an evangelist that came to my fundy church a long time ago and stated this, “if you are seeing a psychiatrist, you need to get your head examined.” There was one lady who was seeing one sitting in the third row. She got up and walked out. That man was not invited back to our church.
    Feeling sorry for yourself is a far cry from depression. Sometimes, God is really not the answer.

  4. What does the SFL community think is the root cause of this depression. Is it a physical, tangible thing? Or is it a spiritual thing? Can it be traced to abuse? Can it be rebellion at its core, without an outlet to slake it’s ever dehydrating thirst? I would be interested to know what most people think is the root cause of depression.

    1. I think it is important to note the difference between discouragement and depression. Discouragement is situational, and to an extent can be colored by one’s life experiences, support network, and personality makeup. it can be related to abuse in some instances. but I would not say that rebellion has anything to do with it- that’s victim-blaming and is really inappropriate.

      Depression is biochemical. It can me more marked or milder depending on the individual, but the root is brain chemistry.

    2. Depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain.
      It can be set off by life events, but it can also be purely endogenous.

        1. Yeah, I’ve had teh Black Dog with me as long as I can remember. I’m actually bi-polar, type 2, but the hypomanic episodes are few and far between, and I haven’t had a full manic break since grad school. There are times I wish I could have a hypomanic spell, if only so I could get some work done. ๐Ÿ˜›

          Of late, I do have some of the situational stuff overlaying the biochemical; family stresses, relationship stresses, serious money stresses, and my health is in the pits. I just had surgery last week, and while the pathology report came back clean, they still had to clear out a large (size of my fist) mass, a significant amount of adhesions, and some other, smaller masses. There was some resection and reconstruction that went on too. I won’t be on my feet really for weeks, and several months before I’m really back to something akin to normal. This means being more laid up that usual, less time with family and friends, no teaching in the classroom, less activity with my granddaughters. And no nooky for a long time, which is really distressing. This all really has me down.

          On the lighter side though, my older daughter just found out that she’s expecting, and sometime in July I’ll have a new grandchild! I’m really looking forward to that. She and her husband are going to be terrific parents. ๐Ÿ™‚

          Not enough to really overcome what I’m facing now, but there is a glimmer of new life ahead. For now, that will have to do.

    3. The source of my depression is the suicide death of my 18 year old son, Philip. Which, I still am not happy with God about. PTSD is my life now. My soul is empty and I’m still looking for a purpose in life after 5 years.

  5. I’m just going to process here. Excuse my fundy punctuation, I plan to go back to a real school when my hubby finishes his Ph. D. Sadly, I think most ex-fundy’s don’t realize the spiritual (and other) abuse and often lack of nurturing/neglect that they’ve been through…and probably compounded if they were raised by fundy parents. Some things, in general, to keep in mind: 1. Christian counselors can be quite helpful. If you can’t afford a counselor there are many who charge on a sliding scale basis. 2. Your feelings are legitimate and loss is legitimate. You are worth it to take the time and work to process grief and sadness and whatever is at the root. 3. Inner healing ministries can be quite helpful and connect you with great resources, as well. (You have to be open minded going in… it all made sense with what God had already been showing me.) 4. Realize that you are worth receiving love from God and others and ask God to show you blockages to receiving.
    5. Remember (especially, if you’re a woman) your voice is important and what you have to say is worth being heard.
    5. Bible reading can be helpful (if you feel detached from the Bible, maybe not.)
    6. Spirit filled worship music playing at a high or very low volume will help to change the atmosphere
    7. High quality essential oils (simply the blood from plants, think frankincense and myrrh, etc. from Bible times.)
    8. Exercise
    9. Reconnecting with old joys- singing for example
    10. Consistently reminding myself if I’m allowing Jesus to be the “Savior” of whatever situation or if I’m trying to save myself…old habits die hard.
    11. Your heart is worth protecting and if others from your past life don’t value protecting it then move on with life and detach. Find people who value you as a human made in Gods image.
    I’m sure there’s more but just wanted to list a few off the top of my head. I’m sure many won’t understand some/all of these and that’s ok. Whatever you do don’t mistake counselor for the old “pastoral counseling”. There’s wonderful people that can lead you from the wilderness. Whoever is struggling know that all or most of us have been there/are there. It’s a normal part of a healing journey and I pray that the God of hope fill you with all hope and peace in believing. Know that you are loved and prayed for and He holds you tenderly in that place as a kind and gentle Dad. Blessings to your entire being. Mind, body, spirit! (((Hug)))

    1. You are very wise. I went to a fundy church from 5 years old to 26 years old. I NEVER left church feeling good about myself. I was never going to be ‘good enough’. It seemed to me that at my church you had to get yourself together and THEN ‘come forward’. I am 49 now and I still carry those feelings even though I’ve been out of that atmosphere for 23 years. I feel myself being judgmental about things that are not my business. I guess that’s the worse part. I’ve been going to a Methodist church for about 6 years and I feel wonderful when I leave church. I started singing again ( like you said!) at my church. They have a praise team that sings contemporary music. It is so much better than the choirs I was in back in the day.
      Thank you for your advice.

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