Barbara Roberts is giving up writing for the public
I have decided to give up writing for the public. I made this decision about 3 a.m. on Friday 22 April. I had been very depressed and suffering from high anxiety and insomnia for weeks, if not months, before I made the decision. I had also been battling suicide. That night it became really clear to me: either I keep on battling thoughts of suicide, or I give up writing; either I continue feeling suicidal (risking breaking the commandment Thou shalt not kill.) or I give up writing thus breaking the promises have I made to my readers and failing to fulfil my intention to issue a revised edition of Not Under Bondage and write a second book. I decided to give up writing….and immediately felt enormous relief because the suicidal ideation had stopped.
Since then, my counselor has formed the view that I am suffering from burn-out. He told me that recovery from burn-out takes an average of five years. When he had burn-out, it took him seven years to recover!
I do not know whether this decision is for the remainder of my days on this earth, or whether it means I am taking a long “sabbatical”. All I know is that if I even think about continuing to write or picking up writing again at some later stage, the anxiety and tears rise up like a flood and I have to divert my thoughts very quickly.
I appreciate what my assistant, Reaching Out, said when I told her my decision:
The promises you made to ACFJ readers (and potentially to others) to issue a revised edition of Not Under Bondage or write a second book were made under different circumstances — there is no way you could have known when you made those promises what the future would bring. And if trying to keep those promises keeps you away from everything that brings you life, joy, etc., the promises aren’t worth anything, and trying to keep them would imply the books are more valuable than your life.
I will keep both of my blogs online (this one, and Mystery of Iniquity).
I may, if I feel like it, update, simplify and amend the FAQ pages.
If my conscience really compels me, I may amend a few of the existing posts by adding a caveat to Jeff Crippen’s posts where he teaches that Christians are not sinners.
My assistant, Reaching Out, might sometimes write a simple post or do a variation on re-blogging. While considering this possibility, she is not giving any undertakings. If she does publish any new posts, they will not be open to comments. From time to time, she or I may add a link to an existing post.
I will keep comments open at this blog, but I can’t promise to do so indefinitely. I don’t know what will transpire in my life. If a survivor were to pour out her / his story in a comment and I were not able to reply in the way I have done in the past, that would be a dereliction of my duty of care to hurting survivors. Therefore, if I no longer have the will or energy to respond to commenters who pour out their gut-wrenching stories, I may close the blog to comments.
I will be not be shutting down ACFJ’s Facebook page. If I were to shut it down completely, the evidence of Ps Jeff Crippen’s mistreatment of me would be no longer visible. It’s important to keep that evidence online because Sister links to it at her blog, Sister’s Blog. I will keep ACFJ’s Twitter account going for the sole purpose of publicizing any new posts that Reaching Out might publish; very few follow the ACFJ Twitter account anyway.
This blog will likely have to change its appearance and layout, because the support for WordPress’s Classic Editor will be stopping soon. This may affect the ACFJ posts, pages, and comments. My assistant, Reaching Out, will make these changes. Please pray for her. She is a godsend!
The annual amount I receive as an Amazon Associate at this blog (US$90) is less than the cost of keeping the blog online and ad-free (US$138). So it is ethically okay for this blog to keep participating in the Amazon Associates Program.
What has worn me out?
In no particular order: Pandemic fatigue. Being disregarded by so many other advocates. Being scorned and even slandered and bullied by some advocates. Being misunderstood by most church leaders who have read my book or taken a look at my blog. Being lied to by some really eminent men in Christendom who indicated they read my book when they had not. Receiving fewer and fewer comments at this blog. Being ignored, and in some cases blocked, by abuse advocates on Twitter. Feeling too old to learn new techno skills….and annoyed that technology keeps demanding I learn new skills in order to stay in the loop. Having survivors appreciate it when I point out the dynamics of abuse and how churches mishandle it, yet most of those survivors do not appreciate it when I write in-depth posts about Christian maturity and interpreting scripture. Being too tired to do all the hard work that’s required to publish another book, which would entail finding a new book designer (my last book designer gave up his business and became a truck driver!) and learning the ropes of publishing in the digital age. It’s too emotionally risky for me to do all that again only to face more disregard and misunderstanding from the church for any new book I published. Feeling like I’m speaking into the wind.
A word to my few faithful readers
I know I have a few readers who have appreciated the depth and complexity of what I have written. I thank each and every one of those readers, your feedback is one of the things that kept me going for so long. Bless you. May you continue to hold up your candles and spotlights to shine the truth on abuse in the church. Even if that only means telling yourself the truth when no one else will believe you.
We must also build up — by Sarah McDugal. Gives good advice about how to discern a good leader or advocate from a not-so-good leader or advocate. Note: while I think her post sets out some good principles, I not convinced that Sarah McDugal has consistently followed those principles in her own career as an advocate.