January 24, 2018
When in a conversation with someone who feels depressed, I will often ask if they are angry. More often than not, the answer is that they do not think so. Typically, over time the anger issue surfaces as significant – sometimes the main contributor to their depression.
The simplest definition of depression that I know is “anger turned inward.” There are feelings of anger that have not been identified or resolved that we have stuffed inside, where they fester and grow. Depression is the natural result.
The anger can be the result of a recent life event – death of a loved one, a broken relationship, loss of employment, betrayal by a friend, a child in trouble or a hurting marriage. In many of these situations, there is no one with whom we feel we can share our feelings and express our anger, so we keep it all inside. Over time, it builds to affect our emotions much like food poisoning affects our physical body.
These feelings can be so deep within us that we might not even be aware of what is happening. We just know that our outlook is negative and we feel depressed. It takes honest evaluation of what has been taking place in our life to finally admit that we are carrying anger but not dealing with it.
The causes may not be recent. Well into our adult years, we may realize that we are angry about something that happened to us as a child or teenager. We learned how to put it out of our mind, but it never left our inner self. We may not even know it is there. Counselors have ways of helping us face these hurts and do whatever is necessary to deal with the anger for good.
I do not believe God wants any of us to be depressed. There is so much potential enjoyment in life. It takes courage to ask for help, but it is available. We may hurt more for a while before it gets better. Like surgery, the days following are often worse than before, but in time, the healing comes. It is worth taking the risk to get help.
Pastor Bill Ehmann