Tommy Nelson’s article in this month’s Leadership Journal entitled ‘Anxiety Attack!’, an excerpt from his book Walking on Water When You Feel Like You’re Drowning, is a MUST READ!!!!
A must read for pastors.
A must read for lay leaders.
A must read for all followers of Jesus.
First, his honesty about his journey with anxiety and depression is refreshing. Who doesn’t need to be reminded that they aren’t the only ones struggling with such things???
Consider this quote:
“I began to find out some things. Stress makes the body run on adrenaline, which is okay for a short time but not over a long period, because adrenaline produces cortisol, and cortisol inhibits the proper production and use of serotonin – a neurotransmitter that makes your brain function as it should. What has to be done is to locate the source of the long-term stress and begin to eliminate it.
In my case, it was easy to identify the problem – overwork – and then eliminate it by tossing everything off my schedule. But even when you’ve removed the source, the horrific symptoms of depression and anxiety continue. They must ebb away like flood waters – slowly and steadily – and that can be distressing.
It is terrifying when your mind – your very means of perception – becomes impaired. We sometimes think of the mind as some objective, free mechanism that floats outside of sensory data and informs us about the world we are in. The fact is, our mind operates within an organ – the brain – and is fallen like every part of our being. It can become impaired, and that is scary.”
Second, his honesty about the need for Christians to understand the physical causes/affects of these disorders is CRUCIAL.
“People in general and Christians in particular need to understand something important.Anxiety/depression is a hybrid condition – it is spiritual/mental/emotional in its causes but physical/medical in its symptoms and manifestation. It must be treated with this understanding to be effective.
If all you do is try to get at what caused the depression, then the treatment won’t work. You might as well exhort a diabetic not to be ill. On the other hand, if you merely administer medication and do not deal with what created the problem, then that treatment will also be lacking.
. . . often Christians have a bias against doing anything medical. They feel guilty about taking drugs for a problem that was caused by an emotional or spiritual crisis. They need to realize that the medications are not some sort of ‘happy pills’ but rather necessary tools for bringing one’s body chemistry back to normal. They also need to realize that truly bad results can come from withholding medicine and trying to will oneself back to equilibrium. The symptoms of depression and anxiety will linger, and the inability to live goes right along with it.”
YES. YES. YES. YES. YES.
Suffice it to say here that I could not agree more and am incredibly grateful for his honesty. May his tribe increase!
If you think you are going insane and wondering what in the world is wrong with you and your mind; and/or if you simply cannot turn your mind off – IT IS OKAY. THERE IS HOPE. THERE IS HELP. You aren’t dying or turning into some wicked mass serial killer. Yes, there are spiritual reasons this is happening; but PLEASE ALSO KNOW – there are physical reasons this is happening too that need attention. Our great God has provided all things for mental health. He has provided a spiritual cure and will show His children the way; AND He has provided geniuses who have concocted amazing medical help for the most intricate details of brain chemistry.