Michael Lichens on Depression

Michael Lichens on Depression September 9, 2014

It does not discriminate.

My own experience of depression is that it is a kind of frozen anger, turned inward at myself.  Anger (the emotion, not the vice) is, like all feelings, morally neutral in itself.  It’s like weather, except with chemicals instead of air.  Feelings do what they do and the emotion of anger is supposed to provide us with the energy to get up and do what needs to be done to right a wrong.  But when we freeze up our anger and turn it toward ourselves, it can crush us with depression.  Of course, depression has physiological causes too.  But above all, *blaming* people for the heavy cross of depression helps nothing.  We can choose what we will do in response to depression, but depression is not a “sign” that God is angry at you or that you have sinned or that you are stubbornly refusing to “snap out of it”.

Most important, depression can be healed.  It crippled me for years.  The burden is much lighter now, thanks be to God.

If you struggle with depression, consider the sacrament of anointing.  Also, counseling, spiritual direction, and the sacrament of penance can be powerful helps, as well as doing the works of mercy for others.  If depression is frozen anger and anger is energy for life, then letting that energy be expended in love for others can be a profoundly healing thing.

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