Mental Health, Depression, Anxiety and Spirituality

Depression and anxiety.  Two words that unless truly experienced, can not be fully expressed.  And even when experienced, are unique and complex to each one of us.

Depression is not being sad or lazy, having a lack of will or no will at all.  It isn’t about just wanting to stay in bed, getting out of obligations, or feeling sorry for oneself.  Depression is a whole-body, whole-mind, whole-spirit take over of feeling lost, helpless, and paralyzed.

Anxiety is not simply worry, overreacting, or unreasonable avoidance.  Anxiety is an apprehension, fear and certainty that something harmful is happening or will happen again to you or someone you love.  It is a memory of something bad that could or will happen again.  The memory may be clear or unclear.  It could also be a vague feeling or intuition, something your body remembers, but your “mind” does not.

These words are simplified names to complex realities that many of us live or experience at some point.

Depression and anxiety can takes over lives.  It takes over our bodies, mind and spirit.  It make the world fuzzy and scary.  It makes us doubt ourselves, doubt everything.

Depending on the individual and the particular diagnosis, depression and anxiety can be something recovered from through appropriate treatment, or must be dealt with as a long-term issue that goes in and out of remission.  It may be a symptom of how the individual has been created, a coping reflex to deal with a traumatic experience or ongoing situation, or be part of a complex diagnosis.

Either way, it is not your fault.  It is part of you, but not you.

As God is in all things and created all things, I firmly believe God is in depression and anxiety too.  Here are a few of my thoughts:

  • A person with depression or anxiety has been given a gift as it helps an individual cope with trauma by providing a level of self-protection.
  • The journey of dealing with depression and anxiety requires a deep level of self-understanding.  Through understand oneself, we are able to understand others and God better.
  • As a person who knows someone with depression and anxiety, we can be Christ to them.  We can provide them with grace, peace and understanding that their situation is real, the are valued and loved.  We can  provide them with the healing space they need, yet also help them if they cannot help themselves.
  • Most importantly, we need to remember that we are not alone.  Even if we can’t feel the Holy Spirit’s presence, it is there.  And as God provides us with the ultimate grace, we need to do our best to provide grace to ourselves.

Depression and anxiety are real.  They are real issues that we need to deal with, and no matter how hard the journey out of the darkness, we need to go towards the light.

Related links:
Saving Gracie: Author Jan Dunlap on Overcoming Anxiety (class on May 18th in Victoria, MN)
What’s Depression? A Narrative
Why Spring Depression and Anxiety?
Depression is a Mental Illness not a Lifestyle Choice
General Depression Information
General Anxiety Information
Depression – Twisted Cells

May is Mental Health month.  Read my May 2014 posts if you are interested in learning more about the connection between mental health and spirituality.Also, click on an particular category or tag of interest.

Mental Health is a Spiritual Issues – post 1
Mental Health, Sensory Processing Disorder and Spirituality – post 2

About SFriant

I live to walk with others on their journeys - because everyone needs to know that they are loved, that they matter, and that they are doing amazing things. I'm a lot like our two kids: obsessed with learning, and constantly creating.
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