This was written by Alex, our new Ark worker. I am posting it as I have not figured out how to add more administrators to this account, I am indeed a technophobe! I am sure that there is another blog in just that thought. Anyway, here are Alex's thoughts!
On Friday, my home had no water. A main had burst after being damaged by construction and we went 7 hours with no water, until the pipe was repaired. Water is fundamental to the way we live in our society; it makes the toilets flush, it is our drinking supply, allows us to wash and cleanse.
Although inconvenient, the main issue was not that the water was off, it was that I didn’t know when it would return. I have anxiety and part of my issues are around cleanliness, so not knowing when I would be able to wash my hands or have a shower was panic inducing. My mental health is mostly regulated by medications and talking therapy, and I am pretty high functioning a vast majority of the time. This not knowing was affecting me physically, making my heart race and my body shake, unable to calm myself down. Because of this response, I couldn’t go to work the next day; needing to take a day to feel better.
This is the reality of my mental health and stress, it can stop me from going to work, university and social events. I become unable to express fully why I need the time off and am incredibly lucky to have understanding management in both of my jobs and my university lectures. Although most of the time I am great at acting okay, there are times I need a day or two off to recover. I am not ashamed of this, as not only is mental health just as important as physical health but my mental
health affects my physical health. My illness is likely to continue through my entire life and taking days off when I need is going to sustain me further in the long run.
My relationship God is not dissimilar to the water in this situation, sometimes it feels like the main has been damaged and without knowing when it will be repaired, I can start to panic. There are times when I need a day off from institutionalised religion, taking time to look after myself and in doing so, helping to strengthen my relationship with God. I think all of us can at times act as if our
relationship to God, the church and one another is completely okay, but the reality is that we all struggle at different times for different reasons and talking about that will help all of us. We can all put on a façade of perfection, but if we never admit the faults in ourselves, our relationships and our faith, it may not be sustainable in the long term.
So, this is my confession to you that my relationship to God is not perfect. My relationship to others is not perfect, and neither is my relationship to myself. But I am working on all of them, and although I can’t take a medication to help that, by talking to others, listening to as many people as I can and my own worship will all continue to make the small steps forward to making my relationships better. Take my hand on this journey, and maybe we can find strength in one another.