The Intermingling of Depression and Anxiety
It is not uncommon to experience depression and anxiety, even throughout your journey of faith.
Recognizing the experience of depression and anxiety is important, as it helps us better understand our complexities. Below are four practices frequently used in marriage and family therapist sessions to guide Christians, churches and faith communities through anxiety and depression.
1) Invite people into the larger biblical narrative, rather than isolating independent
passages often out of context.
Invite people into the journey that being depressed and anxious is often part of the Christian narrative, and that there are things we can learn on this journey through our experience of depression and anxiety. Anxiety often shows us what we care about, and depression brings about the posture to help get us there.
2) Give people permission to talk about their depression, and make it safe for them
to do so.
This is no easy task, but I recommend leaders communicate from the top down, "I am giving you permission to talk about your depression, and we are going to work on having a community where it is safe to talk about it."
3) Invite people to listen to their depression.
Ask questions like:
"Where is God in the midst of this depression that I am experiencing?"
"What am I possibly to learn about my life right now through this depression?"
"What is going on in my life that makes me depressed right now?"
4) Encourage people to sit in their depression, rather than avoid it.
We only learn from our depression, and work our way through it when we have the courage to face it. And no mistaking, it takes courage to sit in one's depression.
Depression, Anxiety, and the Church
Depression is something millions of Americans, hundreds of millions of people around the world, suffer from. It's not an issue that is going away, and it must be addressed. Together with practicals we can learn to implement within our church communities, biblical text and the wisdom found within it can guide us into what it looks like to navigate the depression in our lives.
For more on this topic, make sure to download our FREE eBook.