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Jen Pollock Michel

( author + writer + speaker )

When you’re depressed and anxious

Ben Goshow

We drove ten hours back to Toronto on Saturday, and midday, Ryan asked me to drive. Imagine that. He actually needed a bit of a break. I took the wheel and felt it. The anxiety. I didn’t admit to Ryan how I felt, how I was scared to drive.

I realized then how anxious I’m becoming.

I’m becoming. Normally, I love the idea of becoming. To think that I am becoming something. To think that I’m becoming a better version of myself, the self God has created me to be. I’m becoming. It’s usually a thought carried up on grace, but on this day, I see myself shrinking, shriveling, made diminutive by the fears that tangle, twist, contort. I’m becoming – anxious. 

The worry rarely takes real shape. It’s usually an indistinct form, lurking and growling from the shadows. And there are even days I’m not anxious at all. Still, there are others that I wake early, 4 am, and reaching out of the pre-dawn darkness with prayer. It, the prayer, is nearly as shapeless as the fear itself.

On Saturday, when I take the wheel through the Pennsylvania, I see at every curvature of the road sudden death. I see how easily any of us can be ended, our children with us. For the better part of two hours, I imagine myself falling asleep, the car jerking, rolling, violently ending us.

Why are these the thoughts to keep my company? Why am I so anxious and afraid?

I don’t know. Now we’re home, and I’m recalibrated by the familiarity. It would be a memory I would and could forget – but I don’t. I’m becoming. But who?

I’ve been immensely consoled by a recording done at a student event at our church recently. Two of our pastors shared their experiences of depression and anxiety, and to simply to hear them bravely tell their stories was life. Yes, Jesus people can feel low, afraid, fearful. Yes, Jesus people can sink, feel the sinking and wonder where the rescue is going to come from. Yes, the gospel is a rescue – but we are waiting. We are the people, not nearly so much of Lent, as of Advent.

The Jesus people – yes, they, too, need a Savior.

You’ll find the conversation here.