Dealing with Depression

How Anxiety Robs us of Our Trust in God

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Growing up I thought something was amiss with me because I was not a happy go lucky kind of kid, I perceived the world from a more intellectual context, a more concerned point of view.  At that time, I had no idea there was a clinical name for my condition.  I assumed it was just me being more introspective than my peers.  I had a hard time just living life in the moment.  Thoughts of “what if” regularly ran and still do at times through my head.  Later I would discover I am not alone.  Other poor souls are on this journey with me, it’s called anxiety.    Like many other conditions, there are many various levels of this trust-robbing monster.   Here is how one article describes this situation.

“It’s a normal part of life to experience occasional anxiety. But you may experience anxiety that is persistent, seemingly uncontrollable, and overwhelming. If it’s an excessive, irrational dread of everyday situations, it can be disabling. When anxiety interferes with daily activities, you may have an anxiety disorder.

Anxiety disorders are real, serious medical conditions – just as real and serious as physical disorders such as heart disease or diabetes. Anxiety disorders are the most common and pervasive mental disorders in the United States.”1You may be asking yourself why in the world would you share something so intimate?  I believe that in sharing you will better know me and also maybe it will support how you deal with life if anxiety is your constant bedfellow.

The Triggers:

There are seasons when the anxiety is so modest I don’t detect its existence. However, I have likewise noticed that there are triggers in my life that set the stress in high gear.  One of those triggers is pending changes or uncertainty.  I am at a stage in my adventure with the next four months is entirely up in the air.  So, the anxiety is running at Usain Bolt speed.  During a recent conversation with God, where I let him do the talking, He gave me this phrase to calm my troubled spirit. “Worry gives you the false impression that somehow you are doing something to contribute to the solution of your fears, but what you are doing is getting into my (God’s) business.”  Wow, that hit me like a ton of bricks.  I had allowed my issues to shove God right out of my soul, or at least relegate him to a back seat.  My anxiety was robbing me of allowing God to take control of my life.  Once I acknowledged that I had a sense of peace, I don’t know how long that will last, because Satan also knows my triggers and peace is not what he seeks for the children of God.

The Calming Presence of God:

When anxiety is visiting your heart, seek refuge in the presence of God’s Word.  Here are some verses that over time God uses to remind me He is in control.

“We can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?’” Hebrews 13:6

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

“I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” Psalm 34:4

“Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.” Psalm 42:5

“Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.” Matthew 6:34

“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.” 2 Corinthians 4:8-9

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:5-7

What has worked for me is to calm my heart and mind.

  • Trust in the promises and the power of God.
  • Take time to pray and mediate on His grace and love.
  • And focus your mind on positive things.  As Paul writes, “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Philippians 4:8).  The unfortunate reality of anxiety is that usually 98 percent of the things we are anxious about or worry about never happen. The fear is unrealistic, and the more you focus on it, the more significant the anxiety grows.  Learn to live each day to its fullest.

[1] https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety

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Dealing with Depression, Videos That Will Make you Think

TED Talk: “Don’t Suffer From Depression In Silence”​

Having feelings isn’t a sign of weakness — they mean we’re human, says producer and activist Nikki Webber Allen. Even after being diagnosed with anxiety and depression, Webber Allen felt too ashamed to tell anybody, keeping her condition a secret until a family tragedy revealed how others close to her were also suffering. In this important talk about mental health, she speaks openly about her struggle — and why communities of color must undo the stigma that misreads depression as a weakness and keeps sufferers from getting help.

Dealing with Depression, Depression

How Depression Robs Us of Our True Identity

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Depression is a topic that I want to approach carefully.  Many people I know and care deeply about have and are dealing with depression.  There are many misconceptions about depression.  One of the biggest myths is that depression means you’re sad.

Truth: People may think depression is just a case of the blues, but its symptoms are wide-ranging and can manifest themselves physically. Common ones are feeling sad, empty, or hopelessness, feeling like you can’t get out of bed, completely losing your appetite, and sleeping too much or too little. “Another one is psychomotor agitation, which is feeling like you can’t sit still or psychomotor reduction, which is when it seems like you’re living in slow motion,” says Goldfine. Excessive fatigue and anhedonia, a.k.a when you no longer enjoy things you used to find pleasurable, also make the list.1Depression feeds the mind with an identity entirely contrary to how God sees us and would describe us.  For example, in Psalm 139, the psalmists says, “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”

In Ephesians 2:10, Paul uses the term workmanship to describe our identity, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” The term does not do the Greek word justice.  The word translated workmanship means, “a thing of God’s making”; “handiwork.” Here it refers to the spiritual creation, not the physical.2 Paul is reminding us that we are God’s masterpiece, the crown jewel of His creation.  Depression causes people to devalue what God has created; to force people to see themselves as not important, even irrelevant.  You were designed for a purpose.  You have a higher calling.  Often you are in a place mentally where survival is all you can muster.  The emptiness you feel inside is not what God desires for you.  He wants to fill you with His love and joy, but depression robs you of that ability to feel that joy and to know that love.

Joy can return.

I am not a Polly Anna here when I say that joy can return to a person dealing with depression.  Depression comes in many forms and for many reasons that even the medical profession cannot always get a handle on.  Depression can be brought on by a variety of reasons, death of a loved one, a traumatic event in your life; it could be genetic, ultimately a chemical reaction occurs in the brain so that levels of serotonin and other happy-making brain chemicals are depleted.  Whatever is causing your depression there is hope that things can get better.  It is not an easy path nor a mere one-size-fits-all solution.  May you find comfort in the words of our Savior, Jesus Christ from John

21 When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. 22 So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. 23 In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you.

I would encourage that battling depression to do not do so alone.  Find a support system.  Some people see you as God sees you, as fearfully and wonderfully made.  They would describe you as Paul describes you, as the handiwork of God.  And they would join you in praying that God would help you see your heart once again turn from sorrow to rejoicing.

1 http://www.womenshealthmag.com/health/depression-facts

2 Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, p. 345). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

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