"Everyday I'm thinking that I'd be just fine if I'd quit. But when I slowed down for a few months this year, there is no indication that I'd feel better. Honestly, I'd not felt worse for a long time than when I stopped working for a couple weeks."
"You were probably going through adrenal withdrawal, which is just another form of addiction withdrawal."
"So you're saying that I was just withdrawing from my drug addiction?"
"Yes, and that is overwork."
"Well, at least I know what it feels like. Like being horribly sick, but there's nothing you can do to reduce the feeling."
But the issue that was most concerning is my longing to die. "Not anything slow and lingering, though. More like a stroke, or perhaps a heart attack that will keep you in the hospital for a while."
"Wait, so you fantasize about having a stroke?"
"All the time."
"You know, that if you think about it, you will probably have one."
"That'll be great, bring it on."
"I don't know. I haven't for a long time and I don't really remember what that feels like."
"Shouldn't you work more on your health than on your work?"
"No. We live in a world where we could help everyone that needs help, if everyone pitched in. As it is, only a handful of people are helping those in need and so we who do this work are worn to the bone, stripped and squeezed out like a rag and tossed aside. If those people didn't exist, then the world would collapse under the weight of it's own selfishness."
"But doesn't God tell you to work on your own health? Doesn't he say, 'God helps those who help themselves.?"
"No, that's Benjamin Franklin, whom I don't take as a model of ethical superiority. Jesus said that if we are to live an ethical life, we are to take up the cross, to lay our lives down for our friends, to give up on ourselves so that others might live. That's my model, a guy who hung on a cross to show us how we should best live."
"So you want to die?"
"Absolutely. Right now, it looks like the only way I can get some rest."
"So the only way you'd abdicate your overwhelming responsibility is by being completely unable to function?"
"Right. I won't stop my work myself. God has to take it away from me."
"What about getting someone to help?"
"That's what I've been working on, especially over the last three months. I've trained more than 80 people, but only one couple volunteered to support, and she ended up having a heart attack and so was unable to continue. That's what happens to everyone, either they become sick or they decide that it isn't work for them."
"But you are heading down that same path right now. You could die at any moment."
"I understand. Anytime God wants to give me a break, I'll take it. In the meantime, I'll keep working, for it is my cross to bear."
"How long have you had thoughts like this?"
"I think about the pleasure of dying every day, and that's been the case for years. Mind you, I don't think about suicide. I never have, not even once. But I do think about God taking me out like Elijah. Elijah was a man whose work from God had been too difficult for a single human being. So he begged for God to take him out, to kill him. God said that he had three more tasks and then he was done. It took a little while for him to do these tasks, but after he was finished, God took him to Himself on a chariot of fire. That seems like a pretty good way to end depression, if you ask me."
"What if you could feel healthy enough to work for twenty more years or forty?"
"So I'd be working when I was 90? I don't know. I'd have to see how I was feeling then."
And then we talked about treatment.