OFTEN in life, sad becomes mad and mad becomes sad.
In other words, our depression may come about because of deep inexpressible anger, and our angry responses to life’s challenges may ensue because we’re simply and palpably sad. Anger and depression mirror each other. Both exemplify responses to life that reveal a lack of agency.
It’s horrible to feel we’re not in control of our own lives. For Christians this is even more complicated; we expect that dependence on God will ‘cost us’ control. But it’s false to look at discipleship in that sort of way.
I believe God wants us to wrest control for our lives notwithstanding the lack of control we’ll all feel at not being able to control life’s circumstances.
Being Real About Anger in Depression
When we open our minds up to the anger laden in our depression we see that not only is inappropriately expressed (or non-expressed) anger a cause, we see that anger is merely codifying a more primal emotion that needs to be identified and explored.
Anger often hides such a primal sorrow that we’d be floored for weeks if we opened those floodgates — or at least that’s the way it feels. The truth is we could bear that pain — the pain of sorrow — if only we had the courage to go there in the first place.
Being Real About Sorrow in Anger
The primal emotion in a codified anger is deeper, inexpressible sorrow; perhaps so deep that if we thought we went there we could not have hope of return.
Well, the truth is we would return. We’d return better human persons for having faced the dilemmas of our own existence. The depth of emotion in sorrow is not the end; it’s a new as-until-now unconsidered source of reflection.
As we ponder the reality of sorrow hidden underneath our anger we’re able to question its validity in the present day. We may still be sorrowful in a situation where the source of that sorrow is long gone. It’s time for therapy! — For the work to begin to reconcile what has no use damaging us anymore.
The mirror reflections of anger and depression are often each other’s opposite; therefore, if we’ll deal with our true sadness we’ll realise that anger was merely a cover for it.
I cannot change life’s events,
Nor can I affect how others feel,
But help me Lord when I’m tense,
To be courageous enough to be real.
Tension is the great clue. Stress is the expression of a hidden cause. But we don’t need to know every unknowable thing about ourselves. We only need to be courageous enough to be real.
The reality of life’s stresses is they’re solved when we’re honest about our reality.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.