Understanding how anxiety and depression affect my Christianity
For many of us, daily life is a secret struggle. Some of us go through the motions of our daily routines while inwardly carrying overwhelming fear and anxiety. We don’t want to share what we feel as it is not only embarrassing, it is impossible to describe. For others of us, even our daily routines at times are themselves overwhelming. We feel as though we are thoroughly alone and relegated to a place of gloom and darkness. There seems to be no answer. Often it feels like there is no hope. I am describing anxiety and depression.
While these challenges are incredibly common, they are also incredibly misunderstood. As Christians, we face these kinds of issues just like everyone else. The question is, what do we expect? Do we expect our faith to be like a magic pill that can make things better? Do we expect ourselves to be diminished in God’s eyes because we can’t “feel” our faith? What does God expect? What is possible for us to expect?
The first step in trying to manage anxiety and depression is to try and understand what we are dealing with. To best do this, we turned to professionals and interviewed two sisters (identical twins, no less) who are APRN’s in psychiatry. Jane and Joan Landino were with us throughout this episode and plainly explained many aspects of anxiety and depression the average person just doesn’t know about. Their input and insight are enlightening and refreshing.
What's the difference between anxiety and depression?
Both anxiety and depression can be debilitating. In my own words, anxiety can be like a creeping fear that finds you and latches on to your everyday. You don’t really know why its there. You can’t really explain it logically. You go through your days and this unwelcome intruder follows you around, even as you engage and accomplish things. To me, anxiety is a little bit like termites - present but unseen. It is basically non-descript as it eats away at your heart and mind.
Depression is very different. Again, in my own words, depression deflates you. It takes the air out of your tires. It makes it feel as though moving forward requires far more effort than you can muster. The fears of anxiety are now in overdrive, and it feels like there is an ever-growing weight to any and all aspects of life. While anxiety plagues you as you push your way through life, depression derails you and makes you want to check out of normal activities.
What does all this mean for a Christian? Plenty. Check out our May 4, 2020 episode, “Does My Anxiety or Depression Invalidate My Christianity?” for more. The good news is, these things are more common than you think and more treatable than you might imagine. As a Christian, your faithfulness to God and following Jesus is not judged on whether you have anxiety or depression. On the contrary, God’s mercy is available to help us walk through whatever our trials and circumstances may be. Listen in, find hope and then head to Part II for more!
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