This is the second in a nine part series entitled “Overcoming Depression-Anxiety: A Responsibility Paradigm.” For the various counseling options available from this material visit www.summitrdu.com/counseling.
The complementing studies are also available in a video and podcast formats at the links below:
- “Overcoming Depression-Anxiety: A Responsibility Paradigm”// video and podcast
- “Overcoming Depression-Anxiety: A Suffering Paradigm” // video and podcast
- “Towards a Christian Perspective of Mental Illness” // video and podcast
“It Gets Worse Before It Gets Better”
ACKNOWLEDGE the breadth and impact of my sin.
“I am beginning to see the extent and impact of my lack of faith-trust in God. It is bigger than I wanted to admit [describe] and still may be bigger than I realize. Apart from God’s grace, I am a fearful-depressive person. I acknowledge that there is no safety and no freedom in excusing my lack of faith-trust [describe]. Before I can truly rest in the greatness of Jesus I must acknowledge the magnitude of what His death and resurrection has conquered on my behalf and in my life.”
Memorize: II Corinthians 1:8-9 (ESV), “For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.” As you memorize this passage reflect upon these key points:
- “To be unaware” – The Bible believes there is value in our awareness of how hard life can be even for believers.
- “Affliction” – While not described in detail, these experiences surely manifested depression-anxiety symptoms.
- “Beyond Our Strength” – Paul was not ashamed to admit, or to write, that these experiences were overwhelming.
- “Despaired of Life” – Paul was willing to acknowledge the full extent to which his despairing thoughts reached.
- “But… God” – We get to hear what God taught Paul through his depressive-anxious crisis. What God teaches or does in the midst of our depression-anxiety experience may be different, but God is no less faithful.
“Anxiety recruits additional anxiety. Persons with pathological anxiety (e.g., those with an anxiety disorder) typically scan the environment and are hyper vigilant for stimuli that might evoke anxiety and monitor themselves for symptoms of anxiety (such as rapid pulse or difficulty breathing). Such scanning and monitoring represents a state of anticipatory anxiety (p. 37).” Robert Albers, William Meller, and Steven Thurber in Ministry with Persons with Mental Illness and Their Families
“Strong emotions cause significant blind spots (p. 88)… We need to see chronic busyness as a warning bell that we’ve gotten out of tune with God and reduced ourselves into human doings instead of human beings (p. 180).” Leslie Vernick in Lord, I Just Want to Be Happy
“Mania can be fun at first, but if it goes too high or too fast, the fun ends and the nightmare begins (p. 51).” Kathryn Greene-McCreight in Darkness Is My Only Companion
“Anxiety about finances can give rise to coveting and greed and hoarding and stealing. Anxiety about succeeding at some task can make you irritable and abrupt and surly. Anxiety about relationships can make you withdrawn and indifferent and uncaring about other people. Anxiety about how someone will respond to you can make you cover the truth and lie about many things. So if anxiety could be conquered, a mortal blow would be struck to many other sins (p. 53).” John Piper in Future Grace
“When people struggle with a depressed mood, they do hurt emotionally, and the pain they feel spreads to every corner of their lives, touching all who know and love them (p. 22)… If you want to take the measure of someone’s character, the most direct route I can think of is to tell him no (p. 137).” Charles Hodges, M.D. in Good Mood Bad Mood
“Why does this happen? Because of the plasticity or mutability of the brain. Over time, new neural pathways can be created by habit of thought so that even the slightest suggestion of a frightening imagination can instantaneously produce a rapid heartbeat or upset stomach (p. 125).” Elyse Fitzpatrick and Laura Hendrickson in Will Medicine Stop the Pain?
Other podcasts on emotions are available at: