Friday, February 20, 2009

Depression = Anger Turned Inside Out?

Christianity Today just published an interesting article on Anger. It talks about a pervasive 'undercurrent of anger' in the modern workplace. Ranging from bad management to perceived unfair expectations, from the local business to the larger economy, the situation appears to be getting worse. Associated Content published a list of 'Top Ten Causes of Anger at Work.' They are:
  1. Bad Management
  2. Unjust Treatment
  3. Lack of Career Opportunity
  4. Not Being Appreciated
  5. Excess Workload
  6. Computer Irritations
  7. Dishonest Colleagues
  8. Incompetence of Subordinates
  9. Interpersonal Incivility
  10. Asserting Power
Interestingly, all of these ten causes deal with the emotional reactions seen from an ego-centric angle. One can argue that these 'causes' tend to be largely subjective. For example, what do you mean by 'unjust treatment?' For the boss or for the subordinate? What if both are victims of something very much outside their control? Or take 'dishonest colleagues.' Could it be lack of communications in the first place? Another interesting observation is 'computer irritations.' What happened to the computer? It has not changed much. The hardware is still the same as of 3 years ago. Maybe the software needed some refreshing. However, I suspect that the biggest change is not the computer but the user themselves. The user expectations have shifted faster than the computer. So, perhaps it is more accurate to say 'computer-USER irritations' rather than 'computer irritations. All said, I believe that for every external reaction, there is something very intrinsic going on.

It is Something More internal
The author, Mark Galli compares the anger reactions in China and in America and was intrigued to ask why the former tends to be more violent. Galli then warns us about 'unhealthy anger' which exists among Christian people. Surprisingly, it is anger that is considered 'grounded in righteous anger.' Essentially, there is nothing wrong in being angry. However, when initial anger is allowed to linger, turning from anger-->bitterness-->overblown rage, it can harm loved ones around us. There is however something else that is even more sinister. Anger that is turned inside out can lead to serious bouts of depression. Kerry Gene calls it a marriage, with anger and depression going 'hand-in-hand.' However, to equate repressed anger as inward anger leading to depression may again be too simplistic. There is something even more intrinsic. Sin. It is how we respond to the effects of sin that brings about all the negative implications of depression, rage and all kinds of emotional and physical violence.
"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23)
When we come up short, we fail to be who we were meant to be. The entire human race is not exempt. Every person is tainted. Every soul is contaminated by the sinful desires of the soul and tempted by the evil powers and principalities of the world. However, there is hope. The first step is to acknowledge it, that we are sinful. The second step is to seek help. If we fail to acknowledge sin in our lives, or realize our brokenness, there is no need or incentive to accept the extended hand of the Helper. If we delude ourselves into saying sin is nothing much to worry about and repeatedly refuses help, we are digging our own emotional graves. Each denial and every statement of arrogance or complacency only becomes giant heaps of yucky soil piled on top of our hearts as it is gradually lowered into the crypt. Being emotionally buried alive is one thing. By spiritually volunteering our souls to constant self-deception that we can take care of our own sin, our own way and in our own time can be described in one word: Tragic.

In summary, when we repress our anger, and start to hurt ourselves, it could lead to serious depression conditions. It could increase anxiety and store up wrath. It could even lead to violent behaviour that hurts. Yet, inward anger and depression is not simply due to bad emotions. There is something more internal called sin. For people who choose the acknowledge sin, seek help and turn away from their wicked willful ways, there is hope. Immediately after v23,
"and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus." (Rom 3:24)
This is a free gift. What is there to lose? Take it, my friends.



julia said...

i read your above provided information. the way you have told about depression is really awesome. i feel that you have done a deep study and then reached to a conclusion like this. it feels really good to know that we have such good writers. i m seriously moved by your writing style and your delivery of information, about such a serious topic. you have done a great job. good. keep going all the best...

YAPdates said...

Thank you for your kind words.


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