Decompression | An Insight into Post-Ordination
A deliberate choice, an ultimate freedom…
a lonely path in search of my inner soul,
deeper and deeper, but strangely I felt stronger and stronger…
Thus in silence and solitude,
I discovered inner peace and love that intoxicates.
The week post-ordination was a world apart from everything that had come before, and I found myself grappling with a deluge of complex emotions. To articulate those feelings accurately is a challenge, but I hope to encapsulate the essence through two poignant analogies – ‘decompression’ and the ‘adrenaline comedown’.
When I was ordained, I knew that my life was about to shift monumentally. I was embarking on a spiritual journey, a divine commitment, and a radical change. But what I hadn’t quite anticipated was the profound emotional roller coaster that would follow. The week post-ordination was a world apart from everything that had come before, and I found myself grappling with a deluge of complex emotions. To articulate those feelings accurately is a challenge, but I hope to encapsulate the essence through two poignant analogies – ‘decompression’ and the ‘adrenaline comedown’.
Decompression – A Pause Between Two Realities
Most commonly associated with diving, the term ‘decompression’ describes the critical pause deep-sea divers take during ascent to allow for gradual release of gases (mainly nitrogen) dissolved in their bodies under high pressure. This slow release is vital to avoid decompression sickness, or “the bends”, which occurs when gas bubbles form in the blood, a potentially fatal condition.
During my time as a PADI DiveMaster in Lanzarote, I became intimately familiar with this process. It involved a pause, a moment of suspended animation where we’d maintain neutral buoyancy, eyes glued to the watch, reflecting on the adventure we had just undertaken. Each breath, slow and measured, played its part in this controlled ascent back to reality.
Post-ordination, the term ‘decompression’ surfaced multiple times. It was a surprisingly fitting metaphor for the transitional period I was navigating. An ordained life requires a steady ascent, a mindful negotiation between the depths of spiritual immersion and the world above.
Adrenaline Comedown – The Crash after the High
An ‘adrenaline comedown’, or ‘crash’, refers to the recovery phase following an adrenaline spike induced by highly stressful or thrilling events. Adrenaline, a hormone released in fight-or-flight situations, sharpens our senses and floods us with a surge of energy. Once the triggering event passes, our body resets, leading to an ‘adrenaline crash’.
In the aftermath of my ordination, I experienced typical symptoms of adrenaline comedown: bouts of fatigue, intense emotional highs and lows, and persistent insomnia. The overwhelming excitement had given way to an unanticipated lull, and my body and mind were struggling to adjust.
The Physical and Emotional Toll
Alongside this emotional whiplash, I was grappling with the physical repercussions of recent spinal surgery. My back, still in the early recovery phase, flared up post-ordination. An attempt to avoid dependence on pain medication seemed to exacerbate my discomfort and delayed the healing.
Moreover, the ordination brought a sense of profound relief, a release of a barrage of emotions that had been building up for years, even predating the death of my mother. I felt as though I had been dragging a heavy load, and suddenly, it was unshackled.
Solitude and Healing
The following ten days were characterized by an overwhelming need for isolation. Even with the comforting presence of the Bishop, our Chaplain Fr. David, my spiritual advisor Fr. Tom, my friend Fr. Zach, and countless family and friends, I found solace in silence and solitude. Resting on the couch, away from external stimuli, offered me the space to process my emotions.
A few months have passed since my ordination. My physical immobility, an aftereffect of the back surgery, provided a conducive environment to introspect and reconcile the emotional tidal wave I experienced post-ordination.
Ordination isn’t merely a change; it’s a metamorphosis, a testament to God’s call and commitment. The rites and rituals involved are incredibly humbling, significantly influencing my perception of self. While the journey has been intense and sometimes overwhelming, I remain eternally grateful for this divine calling. I hope this candid account serves as a reminder that a spectrum of emotions comes with great change, and it’s perfectly okay to take time for decompression.
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About Rev Lloyd Hobbard-Mitchell
Rev. Lloyd Hobbard-Mitchell, an Englishman deeply connected to Thailand, was ordained to the Sacred Priesthood on 28th May 2023.
In addition to his religious journey, he has worked as an online English teacher and pursued a career as an artist. He has also operated a tour desk business with his wife within international brand hotels.
Lloyd has extensive experience in the voluntary sector, specifically in addressing homelessness and social welfare.
He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and embraces opportunities to meet new people, see new places, explore cultural similarities, and celebrate differences.