Friday, February 21, 2014

2 Key Things to Know About Anxiety and Depression

“Severe depression is often beyond description.”
— Dan Blazer
We are somewhat easily discouraged by things we cannot explain, but there is a paradox in a mystery. Paradoxes appear as contradictions, and much mental illness presents as a contradiction. Many people appear to be happy and to ‘have it all together’ when in fact they can feel emptier by the day. That is a paradox. Another paradox is how the healing opportunity presents. Whenever we confess the mystery that we are overwhelmed by grief or sadness or worry and we don’t know what to do, there in full view at times is the healing opportunity.
At the end is the beginning.
Opposites are sometimes very close to each other.
(These are examples of paradoxes.)
But a hardening of our hearts, because we need things in ways that make sense to us, doesn’t do us any favours. We can’t just ‘snap out’ of anxiety or depression. They are too true to life and our experience for that. Many paradoxes are mysteries that cannot be explained and need only to be accepted.
Such things as anxiety and depression demand an effective response. And one of those effective responses is to come to an acceptance of the mystery before us: this illness may be beyond description. That doesn’t mean we have to give up.
Much Mental Illness Can Be a Mystery
We don’t need to be able to explain everything to understand that things are what they are. Could it be that there is a paradox in the mode of mental illness? That it is surrender and release, and not holding onto our strength, that is the key?
When we accept the mystery, and that takes us into surrender and release, our hearts and minds suddenly open to the options for help. Our shame is overcome, and we may even understand that there is nothing to be ashamed about – it’s not God’s will that we feel inadequate at all. It is actually God’s will that we surrender before him in the presence of knowledge we cannot know.
When we give up trying to understand what may be incomprehensible we are open to God’s leading and the help he can provide through various clinical means. We should trust those who have a backable credibility for helping.
Acceptance of the Mystery Opens the Door of Hope
One of the main keys of life is that of acceptance, and, better still, the acceptance of those mysteries we simply cannot explain.
But acceptance, as an outcome, is a journey. The more we can accept these mysteries that can’t be explained, the more we have matured. And maturity, as the goal, and growth, as the process; these are truly the real goals of life.
When we are stuck within a hole that is depression, or we are continually beside ourselves in an anxious flurry of chaotic head-and-heart-space, aspects of growth and maturity seem beyond us.
As we accept the mystery we open the door to hope, and it is hope we need to gird our way into the future; into a manner of being that is safe and reliable and trustworthy. Such hope begets peace.
Accepting that sometimes anxiety and depression are mysteries helps a great deal. In fact, it can open the door to hope. And though acceptance may be a difficult place to reach, hope is what gets us all the way there along the journey.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.


  1. Interesting thoughts Steve, and what you have written is so very true. For many it is the shame that keeps them from accepting what is happening or speaking to with my husband ....and Im sure many men in particular. I love what you said about 'hope is what gets us all the way there along the journey'. At our church, there are three of us who have started up a grief/depression/support group. We had the first one a couple of nights ago and we had an amazing response to people coming along and needing something like this where they feel they can talk about there grief and depression to others who have been down that road and who understand.

  2. The starting of your group is great initiative, Karen - so needed. All the best with it. God bless you, Steve.


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