Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Anxiety & Depression or "God is in the Mess"

On anxiety and depression


We are thrust into this world without being asked if we would like to be born.
What to do now? We are all born into different circumstances. Some might arrive drug-addicted. Some might arrive serenely into a warm embrace. Some may be fairly intact at least to the human eye. Others may have obvious disabilities and may need urgent medical attention. Some are born in Belfast, Beirut, Barbados,  Birmingham. Some are male, some female or some might say it’s not that simple.

In the image of God

“ God created man in the image of himself,
in the image of God he created him,
Male and female he created them. “  (Genesis 1:27)

Can we imagine that? This little baby actually shows the image of God. If that’s the case it must be very special. The Bible goes so far as to say:
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you;
Before you came to birth I consecrated you;
I have appointed you as prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:4-5)

Imagine that! God formed us in the womb. We aren’t accidents. We are chosen by God. All of us.

May they all be one (John 17:21)

What now? The baby is here.

The First Anxiety

This most likely comes when baby can’t find mother. If mother is well and can mirror back to baby all might be well – for a time. Even if all baby’s needs are met, all of us come into the world with different temperaments and propensities for the neuroses or anxieties and depressions.

Some children are naturally more jumpy, more sensitive, more nervous, even as babies. If the childhood goes smoothly, a crisis of some sort as an adult can trigger an anxiety state or other neurosis. A particularly stressful event can trigger a depressive episode.
Can a person have anxiety and depression if they are not temperamentally or biologically disposed to it? It seems more often the case that the “nervous disorders” run in families. For example my own grandmother was a worrier. Can that be passed down genetically through the generations? If so, is it passed down genetically/biologically or is it learned behaviour?

Can a rich person suffer anxiety and depression or is it only poor people? We know that it is no respector of persons- rich, poor, young, old, any race or religion. Simply, it is something anyone might get, given the propensity and circumstances to ignite it.

Igniting Anxiety and Trauma

Wherever possible, it is best to try and arrange one’s life in a calm, stable way.

The situations such as living in war zones or in severe poverty etc require specific assistance from experts.

As the child grows, it is obvious that the more stable and loving the environment, the better it is for the child’s mental and emotional health. Unfortunately, even with the best of intentions, a parent may be ill or absent. Another family member may be in crisis or the physical environment may be less than ideal. There may be a bereavement. Addictions may be present. 

These difficulties might lead one to ask where is God?

The Example of Job

Reading the book of Job can be instructive.

“And now the life in me trickles away, days of grief have gripped me.
At night-time, sickness saps my bones,
I am gnawed by wounds that never sleep.
With immense power it has caught me by the clothes,
Clutching at the collar of my coat.
It has thrown me into the mud
Where I am no better than dust and ashes.” (Job 30: 16-20)

Those of us who have suffered depression can surely relate.

However, I urge you – don’t give up before the miracle. It may take many years but it will surely come.

“Yahweh restored Job’s fortunes, because he had prayed for his friends. More than that, Yahweh gave him double what he had before. “ (Job 42:10)

To do:

Support – medical and spiritual.
Time – is a great healer.

The Panic Attack

Thoughts of death, dying, suffering and illness are common with the anxiety/depressive state. If you have never experienced this type of thinking before, you can get basically “freaked out!” 

This can lead to the panic attack which can feel as though you are having a major heart attack. Pains in the chest, down your arms, tight chest, gasping for breath, problems swallowing, lump in one’s throat, blurred vision, depersonalisation – am I real, hyperventilating and basically nervous collapse. These all seem to be physical symptoms.

Remember or learn if you don’t know:





Then, if you do calm down tell yourself you have been under stress and this is a normal physical reaction to that. You are normal.



Remember if you were actually dying, chances are that might be a peaceful and calm occurrence.



For those of us with severe depression or our situation has become unbearable, it is not uncommon to suffer suicidal ideation. When this first occurs to a person it can come as a very great shock. It can be very distressing for the person suffering and those around the illness especially when they hear loved ones threatening or wishing to take their own life. It can demand great patience and effort to remain calm yourself in order to reassure the sufferer that they are not going mad but have an illness either brought about organically or as a result of stresses and strains in their life.

We know that people throw themselves in lakes or rivers, under trains, overdose, hang themselves. The list goes on. Most probably we all know someone that this has happened to.  I believe sometimes the pain and the hurt is unbearable and people just want it to stop. It seems to be the only way out. The person does not see it as a selfish act because sure wouldn’t it make life a whole lot better for my friends, family and doctors if I just made an exit now. It can be very hard to challenge this belief, as it is in the mind that the problem lies, so it’s difficult to argue rationally at this stage.

Parents, family and friends are advised to take reasonable precautions in locking up medications etc as suicide can often be an impulsive act.
Things to do:

Be open.
Ask for help.

Be open.
Ask for help.

Be open.
Ask for help.

God is in the mess

The Heavenly Jerusalem:

“You see this city/ Here God lives among men. He will make his home among them; they shall be his people, and he will be their God; his name is God-with them. He will wipe away all tears from their eyes, there will be no more death, and no more mourning or sadness. The world of the past has gone. “ (Revelation 21: 3-4)

Don't give up before the miracle!

Copyright @ Jackie Parkes

All bible quotes from The Jerusalem Bible. 1968  Darton, Longmann & Todd Ltd.

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