Session 2 – The Parable of the Support Worker and the Service-User
Two men were in a church. One of them, a Mental Health Support Worker, looked up to heaven and said, “Thanks Lord that I am not like this poor Service-User here. I help many people in my job, give to charity and enjoy good health.” The Service-User, however, would not even lift his head. He looked down at his clenched fists and mumbled a prayer, “I’m sorry Lord that I am not the person I want to be. I try to cope with life but struggle with depression and often feel that I am of no use to anybody, certainly not you Lord. I hope that you can accept this prayer from me.”
Which of these men went away justified in the eyes of God, do you think?
Okay, slightly tongue in cheek, I admit. I would hate to work alongside such an arrogant Support Worker, for a start! (Thankfully I have only met very few with that kind of outlook.) However, the attitude of the service-user (current label for clients who use a mental health service, for e.g.) actually brings him closer to the Lord than the self-satisfied attitude of the man who thinks he has it ‘sorted’. This is something that I would love to be able to say to the people who attend the depression management course which I run.
Sometimes I think that becoming depresesed is probably the most sane reaction to the world we live in and the broken state of our own lives! However, managing the condition outside the context of a Christian worldview can still leave the core problem unaddressed. Yes, there are things a person can do to improve their mood and their ability to cope but, to me, the best place for the road of depression to lead is to the foot of the cross. Where else could a sense of guilt, inadequacy and brokenness truly be dealth with?