Sunday, November 4, 2012

Externalizing Depression and Anxiety


It’s depressing enough that we may have an issue with depression or anxiety, but such a state is made worse simply because we begin to believe these conditions are to be forever part of us.
Internalising the nature of our mental and emotional health problems is central to the problem. It’s as if the depression or anxiety becomes part of our identity, and it quickly attaches itself such that we cannot let it go easily. Externalising these problems, for they need not be intrinsically part of us, is of great benefit.
Our opportunity, then, is to focus on seeing any of the mental health issues we may have as being more a response-of-resistance to the issues we are dealing with.
Perhaps we can see that the conditions we struggle with are not necessarily part of us at all—that they are simply the circumstances of mind, body, and soul that emanate from our environmental climate.
Gaining Space through Externalisation
It’s a relatively simple task to begin to see ourselves apart from the condition—the feelings of depression or anxiety. This may not ease our felt complaints, but it sure does allow for the recognition of identity that sits apart from these dilemmas of the mind.
Gaining space through externalisation, which is seeing ourselves as people who are potentially depression-free or anxiety-free, in this case, is managed through seeing ourselves as identified in bigger terms than the problematic state of mind itself.
Coveting a Sure Sense of Identity
It’s a very good thing for anyone to covet a sure sense of identity. By doing so, in externalising ourselves from our problems, so that we might not label or categorise ourselves unnecessarily, we open up the terrain of our identities. We conceive a bigger place for our identities on the map of life.
When we refuse to be limited by the small matters of category that the world often wants to pigeonhole us into, we enlarge the reality of our self-esteem. When we do this we are coveting a sure sense of identity. This is a very healthy thing to do.
By not internalising the depression or anxiety, because they are not truly part of us, we are free to nurture this sure sense of identity. Of course, the surest sense of identity is that found in God.
***
We are not defined by our depressions and anxieties. Our identities are broader than that. Because we can overcome many of our mental ills, these self-same mental ills do not limit or define us. And whilst they stay for a while, or come intermittently, we have great hope when we can externalise from our depression and anxiety.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.

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