Christians with Anxiety & Depression: Part One

 

I went through a horrible experience with anxiety to the point that my heart would race… Experiencing these physical side effects made me realize that it was time I fully dealt with this all-consuming emotion. My usual coping mechanisms of distractions and repression were only making matters worse.

I once sat around my Bible study group of several strong, seemingly unshakable women and shared about my past issues with worry and anxiety. To my dismay, over half the women in the group admitted to having major struggles with anxiety and more of those had experienced anxiety attacks.

You often do not hear Christians proclaim they have anxiety or depression and they do it sometimes so that others do not question their faith or spiritual abilities. Sometimes it is hard for someone to come out and talk about it. Christians are humans. They feel and have issues just like a lot of others. Anxiety and depression are a part of the most common struggles of Christians today. If you struggle with anxiety or depression, know that you are NOT alone in this. We often all look at worry as something that we all just do. Like it is normalized in everyday matters. However, the Holy Bible has mentioned many times to NOT worry. This means we are not supposed to worry. We are supposed to trust in God and give all of our problems to Him. Unfortunately, it is not always that easy when we go through the struggle ourselves.
 
Worry can sometimes overcome us and it can get out of control. We can often think it is a part of us, when it should not be. We all struggle with stress, but when you do not properly deal with the stress it can develop into an anxiety disorder or depression. These symptoms include prolonged feelings of fear, sore muscles, insomnia, headaches, lack of sleep or ability to sleep longer than usual, lack of motivation, racing heartbeat, stomach issues, inability to be as social as normal, pulling yourself out of situations or events, and much more. Anxiety and depression both will take you away from God little by little and it will take you away from your blessings that God wants you to enjoy. It will also steal your reasonable or steady mindset that often allows you to be open to the God-given opportunities around you.
 
When you allow stress and worry to go unchecked, it will eventually develop into something much worse. When we think about the same situation over and over, the feelings we have towards it get deeper and deeper and it becomes anxiety or we begin to get more and more depressed. With the repetition of the same thought, more problems arise when the thought is associated with fear, anxiety, or depression. Before we know it, that one small repetitive thought becomes more consuming and it gets worse. This is why worry can be so difficult to overcome and why a very small thought can result into a full blown panic attack. Small worries can quickly become overwhelming if it is not properly dealt with and stopped.
 
To fix this, when you think of those thoughts, simply think of a positive one instead and continue to do it every time it comes up. It will take some time, but with having a positive thought for every negative thought it can help reverse the anxiety and depression over your situation. It may become cliché to say do not worry too hard about having anxiety and depression, but we are offering you some ways to help.

Here are the few steps to take in order to achieve biblical anxiety relief.

1. Tell someone. Telling someone can help you get it out of your system and it can help you feel better about talking about it. Talking to someone about your situation can free you from yourself and it can help with telling someone who is able to provide you with Godly input and advice. You must be careful who you tell because just telling anyone can come with its own problems. Try finding someone who is strong in their faith and Biblical knowledge who can provide you with inspirational insight and grant you an understanding you may have overlooked. A pastor, deacon, teacher, bible study leader, close friend or family member, etc. are just a few people to think about talking to. We are not saying only these type of people are capable to talk to you, but think of the type of person they portray themselves to be and analyze what they would do with that information.

Women in Bible studies is how some people do it or men in their own Bible studies. We strongly suggest you find someone who can give you inspiration and honesty throughout your conversation and not someone who may gossip or tell you hurtful advice. Even if your story is vague and watered down when you tell someone, you can easily help others in your story because they will see someone else experiencing the same thing. This can help them as much as it helps you. You may even know or find someone who is dealing with similar situations that can help you with how they got through it. You could form a buddy system too.
 
Having someone who has been through the same situation can help you get past what you are going through now. So in conclusion, tell someone you have anxiety and/or depression and try to figure out what is the cause of it all, but make sure to find the right person that can help you through this.
 
2. Tell an expert. Now we are not going to tell you to go to your nearest psychiatrist and spend hours there explaining everything. We are also not condoning it either. If you have a well-known, Godly psychiatrist, then by all means go to them when you are ready. It is often hard to find our own mental or spiritual state, so it may help having a professional’s help. A counselor or pastor can help as well. Pastors are experienced and are Biblically trained to help you. They are not there you judge or pour their opinions all over you. They are there to help in the best ways. There is not shame to see a doctor, counselor, or pastor.
 

3. Find things to cheer you up or provide you with inspiration. This may sound vague, but this is a very important step. This can include doing your favorite things, watching your favorite movies, reading your Bible, attending Bible studies, and much more. What is best to do is to be around those who love and care about you. To tell them you need prayer and help to get through this. Keep in mind that you do not have to be alone in this. Many people suffer from anxiety and depression and they could be there with you and you both can find help easily together. It is important to remember that “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword. It penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12) and “Do not worry about anything. Instead, pray about everything.” (Philippians 4:6). These are two amazing scriptures that can help you. I have included many other scriptures down below, so make sure you check those out.

4. Confront your fearful and sad thoughts. Find the source and confront it. When we confront fearful and sad thoughts with God’s Word on a regular basis, it can help more quickly and completely than just thinking positively. You need the positive thinking with God’s word to help you overcome your obstacles. Before you know it, your negative thoughts are completely filled with the truth of God’s Word making room for His peace. You will begin to feel much better when God’s Word takes captive of every anxious and depressed thought.
 
If you let go of your worries and let God completely transform your thoughts into thoughts that honor Him. Seek God and He will fight for you. He can ultimately help and He will be the biggest part. You have to remember that the battle is not yours to fight. It may be within you, but God can take it all from you over time. God WANTS to take this from you, all you have to do is ask and find ways to help yourself.
 

5. Read your Bible and pray more. Now, we are not saying this one step can solve all of your anxiety and depression. This step is just as important as all of the other steps and it should be used just as much as them. Reading your Bible and praying more helps you through your healing process. It is as necessary as the rest of these on this list.   Scripture that Helps: Joshua 1:9 Psalm 34:4 2 Timothy 1:7 Phil. 4:6-7 Jeremiah 29:11 Isaiah 40:31 1 Thes. 5:18 Exodus 14:14   Remember, just because you have anxiety and depression, does not mean that you are a bad person. It just makes you normal.     A helpful article to check out to see what these mean in depth:

  1. Depression is not what the church sometimes makes it out to be.
  2.  Mental illness is not a sin.
  3. The Bible does not provide “easy answers”.
  4. Anxiety and depression do not look how we often think.
  5. Strong churches do not just “fix” depression

https://www.crosswalk.com/blogs/christian-trends/5-things-christians-need-to-know-about-depression-and-anxiety.html

 

   

Christians with Anxiety & Depression: Part Two

This is an article from Calm Clinic

Acceptance starts by understanding your anxiety further and really recognizing causes and solutions for your anxiety symptoms. One of the reasons that people find Christianity helps them overcome anxiety is because at the core of anxiety is fear. Fear over the unknown and the belief that specific things in your life are important. Christianity teaches values that promote less anxiety, specifically because the beliefs in Christianity runs directly counter to the issues that cause anxiety.   For example:

Fear of the Unknown

The bible teaches that fear of the unknown shows a lack of faith in God. Everything is supposed to be the result of God’s plan. If you’re allowing yourself to be overcome by anxiety and fear, then you’re showing that you don’t have trust in God. The more trust you have, the more confident you are in change and what happens in the future.

Fear of Death

Christianity also teaches that death isn’t something to fear at all. In fact, a life lived in God’s path is designed to help you get to heaven, which is the ultimate goal of Christianity. This is seen in many Christians that adopt the religion after experiencing profound stress. Jesus gives their life purpose, which helps them overcome this belief that passing is something they need to fear.

Personal Fears

Many people also have personal fears that affect them. For example, someone may fear embarrassment, or they may fear spiders, or they may fear socializing. All of these personal fears go against the belief in God, which is that your fears are selfish, when God has a plan for you. Personal fears can be hard to control, but a strong belief system can help people overcome that anxiety. The core of believing in God is about trust over every uncertainty and fear in life and so this belief can be used to allow people to stop anxiety.
 
 
How the Christian Relationship Can Be Used to Overcome Anxiety
 
1. Do More Than Pray For Relief
2. Attend Church More
3. Take Care of Your Body
4. Volunteer
5. Focus on Your Beliefs
 

If you believe in Christianity but still have anxiety, you may be asking what more you can do. That indicates that your relationship isn’t as strong as you would like it to be. Consider the following tips to help use your belief to overcome anxiety:

Do More Than Pray For Relief

Praying for relief of anxiety isn’t truly living with God’s plan. Belief is what helps you overcome anxiety, and strength of that trust is what allows you to feel less fear. Praying that God simply relieves your anxiety may actually make it worse, because God does believe in personal effort, and anxiety isn’t something He is going to simply wash away.

Attend Church More

Church represents a constant reminder of your relationship with God. It’s not just about making sure that you do what you need to do to get into Heaven and show God you love Him. It’s also about making sure that you are reminded of your belief as often as possible, so that you are able to keep that relationship strong with each passing day.

Take Care of Your Body

“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own – you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20. Exercising and taking care of your body is actually ordered by God, and exercise is something that is known to cure anxiety. It is not a coincidence that God requires it. Try making more of an effort into taking care of yourself.

Volunteer

Living for someone other than yourself is also a part of showing glory to God. Volunteering is a constant reminder of the values of humanity, which will bring you closer to your beliefs and build the Christian relationship inside of you. Find something you’re passionate about and volunteer to it and see a real different in the way you find happiness in the world.

Focus on Your Beliefs

Finally, learn to get more in touch with the beliefs that you already have. The truth is that your beliefs can always be nurtured. Write down the beliefs that are important for showing faith in your Christianity, and continue to work towards them often so that you can continue to build on what you need to in order to rid yourself of anxiety.   The Christian relationship is a powerful one, and something that you can nurture in such a way that your anxiety is more likely to be countered as a result. Learn to address the beliefs that Christianity harbors and you may find that your anxiety is reduced as a result.  

Also, don’t forget to take advantage of what’s available on this earth. Remember that God blessed the world with psychologists, medicines, research – these are not something that need to be looked at as an enemy to belief. Rather, they’re something that God has offered as a way to improve upon one’s life. You’re not insulting God by looking to others for help. You’re showing God that you’re thankful for the help that He’s made available to the world.  
 
 
       

More helpful articles:

https://www.christianpost.com/news/5-myths-about-anxiety-and-depression-119068/

https://www.calmclinic.com/anxiety/christian-relationship-in-overcoming-anxiety