Everyone who suffers from depression struggles with anger to some degree. It may be focused or unfocused, or be primarily directed at depression’s symptoms as well as towards our own mind and body for ruining our life by never ceasing to manufacture those symptoms month after month. Focused anger can be towards whatever or whoever caused the depression, towards God for allowing this thing to befall us, or even towards the enemy.
My sister in Christ, Sherry Castellucio, has kindly granted me permission to reprint here an article she wrote called, ‘Fighting Depression.’ She shares her testimony of her life long battle with depression and its accompanying anger.
FIGHTING DEPRESSION, by Sherry Castelluccio
The best way I’ve heard depression described is “anger turned inward”. It can be a real vicious anger, depending on the week. It’s a debilitating, mean-spirited, cruel monster with little regard for the rest of the world. It doesn’t matter if you’re a stay at home mom or if you’re a teenager just trying to survive. You could be an old lady, living at home by yourself with all of your family away in other parts of the country, or you could be a widower who just lost the love of your life. It’s no respecter of persons and doesn’t care about age, race, or religion. If you are human, you are susceptible. If you’ve had it before you’re even more of a target.
Over the years, I’ve found the simplest way to fight it is just to accept it. Yes, I have depression but no, I’m not going to allow it to rule my life. The biggest help I’ve ever given myself was to figure out what parts of it I can control and what parts I need help with. I can’t control the fact that it’s genetic and sometimes appears, regardless of how hard I fight to contain it. After the birth of my child, it buried me. Suddenly I was enmeshed in things I had no control over and my body literally shut down like a computer hard drive. There was simply too much information to process.
I remember feeling so incredibly angry but had not the foggiest idea why. Surrounded by in-laws, an intrusive mother, and a newborn became too much to handle all at once. I had to learn how to function as a person and learn how to keep the voices at bay, and eventually disappear. I had to accept that for a while the only elixir was medication.
The parts I can control are a bit trickier. I know what I have to do to make this better, but I have to decide what I’m going to do about it. I have to choose within myself how I’m going to live today, being bitter and angry or choosing to come out of it, albeit ever so slowly. I have to know what makes me feel good and even if I have no desire to participate in those things, I know I must if I am to make it out alive and able to be the person my family needs me to be. It’s much easier to admit I can’t live this way when there are people at home that need me.
Still, there are those days when I would much rather curl myself up into the foetal position and sleep the day away, forgetting everything and everyone in my life. Shirking my responsibilities and ignoring my needs are tempting, but not realistic. It’s my responsibility to make this home run smoothly and raise my child the best way I know how. It’s impossible to be productive when I’m zonked out in bed.
The Lord has been so faithful in pulling me out. He never fails to reveal himself in those dark times when I feel so empty, so lifeless. He is there reminding me that if I just give a little bit, try just a tiny fraction, He’ll bless me for it. It is work but I give in to Him because I know that He is right. It isn’t worth it to indulge in myself because I get nothing out of it. Giving in to myself is the last great mistake.
What words of comfort can I give to someone who struggles as I do? Remember that the devil is a liar, you are loved and it is possible to go on today. Recognize your anger for what it is and do something constructive about it.
Are you bored at home? Pick up that hobby you put down. Are you lonely? Call that friend you haven’t spoken to in months. You will both be glad you did. Is your body physically sick? Go sit outside in the sun for a few minutes. Find the one thing that makes you smile and drink it up.
Surround yourself with children, rent a comedy, finger paint. You are here because God put you here with a purpose. Find out what it is, make it your ambition to find out what you can do to bless others. I have found that the fastest way to bust Satan in the teeth is to do something for someone else. It puts a stop to the feelings of sadness and makes you feel alive and full of purpose, all at the same time. Make yourself laugh. It’s the simplest, most inexpensive cure there is and the most readily available. It changes your whole outlook.
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well”. (Psalm 139:14) Allow this truth to embrace you and accept you. You are His child and he loves you as if you were the only one on this earth.
I have suffered from depression my whole life but I refuse to allow it to consume me and to dictate how I will live. My master is my Saviour Jesus Christ. I submit to his laws, not the laws of depression. There are some days that I am happy simply because I am alive and loved. There are other days when I must decide that I’m going to be happy, regardless of what my body or mind is telling me. It’s those days, when I have to make the most effort to really choose to smile that I know God is with me. Those are the days when I know I’m winning.
Fighting depression is no easy thing. Half the battle is won when you can stand back and decide that your life is good, even if Satan is trying to convince you otherwise. And in the end, the joke’s on him. He can’t be happy because he can’t be in the presence of the Lord. Now that is a depressing thought.
© 2005 Sherry Castelluccio
Download an ebook on depression, ie, this blog's articles