Sleep deprivation contributed more to my one and only complete mental breakdown than anything else. But without the catalyst of a failed marriage, a wife who no longer wanted me, the sleep deprivation would have been easy to deal with. So there I was, barely able to move, a watery mess, and so disconsolate I was unable to communicate. It was 8 October, 2003. And as it worked out, this was only one of several rock bottom experiences during this season in my life.
The above experience is not the only time I have succumbed to the brokenness of breakdown. Many times since I suffered burnout in 2005 I have had periods of hours, and up to a day or two, where spiritual attack or mental overload have rendered incapable of reliable cognition. Significantly, I have not suffered any significant breakdown since I confronted my minor social phobia in the recent years.
There is hope in the brokenness of breakdown if we can invent the space we need.
We need to find safety, where we are not so vulnerable. And whilst it’s easy to be vulnerable when we have all our faculties, the absence of faculties means we not only have nothing to give, but we also have plenty more to lose.
If we can find a safe refuge – one of practical means – and, importantly, we have someone to share with, someone who will listen – then we have hope of recovery.
There is great solace in getting away from the pressure points of life when we are particularly weak. It’s not as if we are running away when we need to get away. And getting away is about taking stock and finding rest.
When Hope Is Rest
There is not much sense in pushing ourselves to breaking point and continuing on through the brokenness of breakdown. We are so vulnerable in this sort of place we do ourselves no favours to continue to do what has clearly not worked.
Hope is rest. When we have succumbed to the strains of life and we literally have nothing left, God is imploring us to stop as we grind to a halt.
When we are sick and tired and at the end of our hope, our hope is rest to recover for a new day to come when we are well and refreshed.
God can do a lot with us and for us from the position of our brokenness; to give us rest whilst restoring our hope.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.