Diary Page Sixteen
October 25, 2002 - This is not the original "Diary Page Sixteen". Sadly, that epic was lost. I can only conclude that Geocities ate it. A moment of silence for the one, and only, original "Diary Page Sixteen".

Thankfully, things haven't changed much since I wrote it a week ago. Actually, maybe that isn't something to be thankful for after all. Due to medication, I am having a hard time being depressed. Maybe I should be with the way things are going. I'm not exactly complacent. I don't really know what I am at the moment. I haven't gone to work in two weeks although there is no danger of me losing my job. I anticipate another two weeks off. All in the hopes of getting my spiritual life back on track.

The latter has been quite difficult. But how hard can it be to just go to meetings and out in the field ministry? These tasks seem so simple, yet I can't pull them off. Why is that? It should be as simple as, "just get up and go". Once I've done that, it should be easier. Other people do it all the time. What is wrong with me?

I've speculated that maybe I am a bad Witness. Maybe Jehovah doesn't listen to my prayers anymore. I don't see why he should, but thankfully I am not God. He is much more merciful than I would be. That is the only hope I have left, that Jehovah hasn't given up on me. If He hasn't given up on me then I won't. I'm trying hard not to give up. I'm trying to avoid the sense that I am running out of time to turn things around.

It isn't like I am doing anything. I sit at home all day. It isn't like that makes me happy. I am feeling very "cabin feverish". But nothing changes. I just don't feel like much of anything. The friends in my congregation have been very sweet and understanding. They call me and send cards. I appreciate this a lot, but it feels undeserved. I'm not terminally ill. I haven't had to deal with real suffering.

Yet the very thought of going to a meeting fills me with extreme anxiety. Going to work is making me feel the same way. Recently a psychiatrist diagnosed me as suffering with "Social Anxiety Disorder". He was right. I cannot deal with people at all, or at least, I think I can't. But when forced to do so, I do quite well. I guess that is the nature of anxiety disorders and panic, you always think something is going to be a lot worse than it actually will.  

October 30, 2002 - "Keep on, then, seeking first the kingdom and his righteousness, and all these other things will be added to you." Matthew 6:33 I have to remind myself of that over and over in times like this. I'm still on leave from my job to try to get my spiritual life in order, but I can't financially afford to do this. Since I stopped working and started focusing on getting back to meetings and field service and fellowship with my brothers and sisters, I have certainly felt a lot better mentally and I was able to attend the meetings. I still don't feel strong enough to both work and fulfill my duties to Jehovah. I am confident that I will meet my target date of November 11th and return to work, but by then I could be in a financial gutter.

All of the bills are piling up and it is my responsibility to pay them. I am responsible for most of the household bills, like utilities, phone bills, cable bill, etc. Because my family did not always pay bills on time, we have payment arrangements with all of our utility companies. We generally have to pay between $200-$300 more each month as part of these arrangements. So a $30 gas bill is really $250 for me. Obviously I can't afford to do this without an income.

At the same time, I strongly feel that if I go back to work now I will burn out soon and then I will have to quit my job. The anxiety and stress that I go through makes it impossible for me to even focus enough to prepare for meetings, much less attend them. My social phobia has made it horrible for me to even think about preaching in any form of the field ministry. Last weekend I tried going on a Bible study and I found that I was able to do it. This weekend I'm going to try to share in the field ministry again and I feel good about it. But everything is so fragile right now. I've felt this way before and I know my mind and my body well enough to know what is happening. Jehovah is helping me and I feel that it would be turning my back on Him if I just go back to work with no regard to putting Kingdom interests first.

But I also feel like I am turning my back on my family by not helping them with the bills. I know that none of them can afford to pay these bills. All of my income has been devoted to family bills since I started working, which is fine with me. I can do without a lot of things. I feel so guilty to have taken that away from them.

I guess I have to have faith. If Jehovah takes care of the sparrows he will take care of his faithful servants. I'm just so scared right now. There are no options, nothing we can do to get more money. I guess there is nothing I can do about that.

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