Age - 48
Occupation - Baptist Pastor
Favourite Food - Chinese, Chicken Satay and Fried Rice
Pets - A dog
Favourite Musician - Too many to name
Best holiday you have ever been on - Those on which it is hot!
1. When you were growing up what were attitudes like towards mental health?
Attitudes were really poor back in 80’s and 90’s. Sadly the main attitude I can remember is that of
most people making fun of those with mental health issues.
2. Is there anything from your child or teenage years that you feel contributed to your mental
health struggles as an adult?
Possibly the pressure of being successful academically. I was far from being a top grade student (I
failed the 11+ transfer exam) and therefore felt inferior to so many others.
3. When did you first realise that something was amiss with your mental health?
It was towards the end of 2002. For some time I felt overwhelmed with the demands of going into
pastoral work as the pastor of a church. My thinking of the need for being a perfectionist to be
successful wore me down and eventually led to being diagnosed with fibromyalgia and depression.
4. Describe what it feels like to be experiencing depression
Feeling helpless. Feeling an utter failure. Despair. Totally overwhelmed. Terrified. A burden to
everyone. Never ending! Never improving! No way back.
5. How does your faith help you in times of struggle?
My Christian Faith is absolutely crucial. The issue is not, Why does God allow it to happen? The
issue is, How can God use this for His glory and purposes? Looking back on it all there’s no doubt God
has been a refuge and help - Psalm 46:1. A turning point for me was realising God is in control of
all things with a specific plan for my life and that my experiences would not be wasted. The day I
learnt I am not created to be other people was a turning point. Ephesians 2:10 transformed me -
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained
that we should walk in them.
6. Apart from your faith what are some of the coping strategies that you use to maintain a good level of health?
Looking after myself such as taking a day off work each week. By this I mean a day off where I
literally lie around the house, listen to music, watch TV, etc. Also, holidays where I get away from it
all are vital. I normally need at least a weeks holiday (preferably in the sun!) every 4-5 months.
Going any longer than this leaves me mentally and physically drained.
I also have learned the warning signs physically (e.g. restless legs when lying down). When I
experience this I immediately make a point of taking a day off.
7. What are some of the unhelpful comments that have been made to you during periods of struggles.
The most unhelpful comment was regarding me going out for walks in the fresh air. People
questioned as to why I was doing this. Sadly with mental health there are people who think you
should be lying in bed all the time and if you are able to go for a walk then you’re okay again!
Someone with mental health issues can look perfectly healthy on the surface but it’s behind the
layer of skin it’s a different story entirely.
8. What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given in the area of mental health?
“The sun will shine again.” I thought it never would but a man who had been through similar phoned
me to say this to me. It helped me because it came from someone who had once been where I was
and had struggled through it to see the sun shine again in his life.
9. How have your personal struggles helped you become a more caring pastor?
We often make the mistake of thinking we know what it is like for people going through struggles
but until we go through it personally we really don’t have a clue. This has been a huge benefit to
me in caring for others.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 are key verses regarding this - Blessed be God, even the
Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;  Who comforteth us
in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort