Helplessness. Hopelessness. Darkness. Lethargy. Racing thoughts. Why am I feeling this way?
My good friend Jenny Price joins me again this week for a very honest and helpful talk on anxiety and depression. Jenny is 26 years into her marriage and is raising 5 children with her husband, Pastor Matt Price. She gives a very open, honest account of her personal struggle with anxiety and depression over the years.
It’s almost an absolute certainty that you either struggle with anxiety & depression or someone you love does. This talk was incredibly helpful to me, and I know it will be to you as well.
I can’t possibly cover all that we talked about. Listen to the podcast.
Highlights of the show include
- Jenny tracing her battle with anxiety and depression from childhood through the teenage years, issues of abuse that exacerbated the situation, physical symptoms that revealed her inner struggles.
- The interaction between mental and spiritual health as well as the stigma around the term mental illness.
- Why is it acceptable for Christians to get medicine for physical ailments but not mental battles?
- Circumstantial vs. chemical anxiety and depression as well as the differences between feelings of anxiety and depression
- How mental illness is a sign of spiritual brokenness, but why praying, reading ones bible, and thinking about Jesus might not be enough to fix the problem.
- Jenny’s story of realizing she needs help and the path she has walked to wellness.
If you are struggling with anxiety or depression
- Get help, because help can’t hurt. If medical help is what they give you, do what they actually say. Sometimes it might be a daily humbling of opening the pill container.
- By the way,
- A pastor can help you address spiritual issues, help you identify and own sin, give you help and plans for strengthening the spiritual part of your life. But MOST pastors are not counseling experts and aren’t in a position to council through long term needs.
- A counselor is there to listen to all of the thoughts going on in your head. You have time and space to talk things out, work through things, feel the release of sharing.
- A psychologist will step that up a notch, help give you tools of cognitive behavioral therapy.
- A psychiatrist will help you address the issues medically. But you might even start with your internal medicine doctor.
- By the way,
- Have people in your life that you talk with honestly
- Share your story
If you perceive these symptoms in your spouse
- The first battle to get over is denial.
- Make note of specific symptoms, help point out to them “these are the things I see” without trying to diagnose all of the root causes. Encourage them that they will feel helped if they go talk to someone.
- Don’t overwhelm them with an exhaustive list, that could be crushing.
- Go with your spouse to the appointment if they will go.
If you have a friend who lives with anxiety and depression
- If they’re not dealing with it, ask questions. Show compassion. Give love and grace. Give them time to let it sink in that there may be a more serious problem.
- If they’re managing it, talk to them, ask questions, give grace.
Resources whether it’s you or a loved one
- Defeating Depression: Real Hope for Life Changing Wellness
- The Body Keeps the Score I have personally read this book and can highly recommend it!
- Change Your Brain, Change Your Life
- Check out this online depression test
Sadly, this is often a taboo subject, especially in Christian circles. We’ve bought into some kind of lie that says I should be able to change our mental and emotional state if we are just spiritual enough. To counter that, I present to you the following:
- The Bible is full of lament. There’s even a book called Lamentations. About one third of the Psalms are songs of disorientation. Elijah the prophet wanted to die after his victory on Mt. Carmel. Sometimes life is so very hard. Sometimes it’s hard because of external circumstances. But sometimes those forces are internal.qI have a family tendency towards high blood pressure.
- I have a family history of high blood pressure. Knowing this, I want to do everything I can to eat well, exercise, and have healthy outlets for my stress. But if I do all of these things and still find myself with high blood pressure, I want to CONTINUE to do all of these things, and humbly thank the Lord that there is medicine that will potentially give me more years with my kids and grandkids. The same analogy should govern our mental health.
You’re not alone. It won’t always be like this. One day Jesus will make all things new. In the meantime, get help.