Is Anxiety & Depression a Choice?

Is anxiety and depression a choice?

I love to crochet. I’m not very good at it, it takes me about 2.5 years to complete a project (if I complete it at all and don’t start over) but I love how you can take strands of colourful wool and weave it into a blanket or scarf.

I took up crocheting to help with my anxiety. The hand eye coordination and concentration helped keep my mind off of my racing heart and panicked mind, and the hurtful comments of well meaning people telling me that the only way to stop feeling this way was to just stop thinking about it.  “put the crochet hook down Sarah, sloooowly” 

Is anxiety and depression a choice?

The question, ‘is anxiety and depression a choice’ is often a very sensitive subject passionately argued on both sides. I still cringe when I hear a preacher say that we have to “choose to get over it!” but I also cringe when I hear someone fall victim to their minds and say ‘it’s who I am, I can’t help it.’ 

My thoughts are that it’s complicated.

My other thought is that it’s a lot like crocheting.

I believe that we begin our lives as strands of wool and through life circumstances, our DNA, our physical makeup and spiritual health we are often left with a blanket of anxiety and depression that we did not choose to create. 

I believe that it is very abusive to say to a person who has suffered severe trauma, abuse as a child or a head injury that they have a choice, when from a young age their minds have been trained and developed into a default of anxiety and depression. If you were to take a child’s arm and continually assault it or bind it it would cause permanent muscle damage and bone growth. The brain is no different. It is an organ of our body made up of millions of wires that connect thought with emotions, personality, etc. When a child grows in trauma or abuse of any kind they become wired that way and the pattern and stitches of their mind become pre determined. 

Depression and Anxiety in children

When my son suffered a severe concussion last year he went from life of the party, gentle in spirit and joyful to a high dose of anti-depressants and a very urgent call to the psychologist. Many who suffer from brain injuries and head traumas can suffer from anxiety and depression because of the injury to the brain. It would have been foolish and completely irresponsible of me as a mother to tell him to ‘just stop thinking that way’ and ignore the fact that his brain needed healing.

But listen… 

As much as I believe that we cannot control the circumstances, makeup and upbringing that has weaved anxiety and depression into our minds I absolutely believe that we have choice. We choose if we wrap ourselves in that crocheted blanket everyday. We choose if we will allow the painful process of the Holy Spirit untangling the wool to set us free. We decide if we will do whatever it takes to rewire our minds and allow God to renew our minds and heal our souls. We choose wether or not we choose anxiety and depression as our identity and we choose to let it fester and increase because of it’s familiarity and comfort. We choose wether or not depression or anxiety will destroy our lives or motivate us to freedom. 

I feel in the depths of my spirit and through the power of my own testimony that anxiety & depression can be healed. I wouldn’t devote my life, time and resources to share a message of ‘sometimes God heals’ but it begins with you understanding that it’s not your fault and removing shame and guilt and it begins with you making a choice to pick up your blanket and follow Him. 

My prayer… 

Jesus, there are people reading this right now that have been begging for healing from anxiety and depression. I ask you to make yourself known to each and everyone in a powerful way and begin to show them the way out. God I ask that you would heal their trauma, heal their physical mind and heal their soul. In Jesus name, Amen. 

7 thoughts on “Is Anxiety & Depression a Choice?”

  1. Lori says:

    Sarah, hi..My name is Lori and I had a mental breakdown seven months ago. I have been working very hard to rewire my brain and allow God to do whatever he wants in my life.
    I still have anxiety and triggers most days and am wondering if a day will come when the triggers will stop and the anxiety won’t flair up over every little thing? tough question I know but from your experience, will this go away as I continue to surrender it all to God each day?

    1. Sarah E Ball says:

      Hi Lori,I’m proud of you for working so hard to find your freedom. My answer to that is yes, when you can get to a place where you don’t fear the fear and anxiety you will notice it change dramatically.

    2. Suzanne L. says:

      Hi, Lori! I wanted to let you know that you and I are in the same boat. My mental breakdown also occurred about 7 months ago (technically last July). I hope it helps to know that you are not alone. Thank you, Sarah for this GREAT article. I was led to this article from reading “why you can’t just pray anxiety away”. A good friend sent me the article from which then led me to your website. Thank you for the work you are doing. I’m looking forward to reading more of your work. I’ve already shared your article “why you can’t just pray anxiety away” on my Facebook page.

  2. Ilona Lehman says:

    I’m struggling with postpartum depression and anxiety and it’s been a long year. Meds, therapy, doctors. I am trying to get out of this and it’s so disheartening when it comes in waves and knocks me down for weeks. Anxiousness panic anxiety grips me and the depression is so dark. I am ashamed on my thoughts. I battle intrusive thoughts all day long. I’m so tired. I don’t want to keep going like this. I’ve tried everything and I feel so confused on how to make it go away for good.
    I fear I’m not right for God or I’m afraid of judgment or if he truly loves me when the cycle begins I get wrong thoughts about God and it freaks me out I get irrational
    And I just wanna know how God sees me at my worst when I doubt him fear him I feel crazy sometimes

    1. Wendi jones says:

      Have you read The Happiness Trap? It helps you see that a thought is just a thought, nothing else. It doesn’t mean anything . It’s your judgement and response of it that keeps you in a cycle of fear. I hope this helps. It helped me .

  3. Jessica Lamm says:

    I have a question. I am going through heavy anxiety and panic attacks. I know my trigger its when I have health issues like if I get a virus or something happens to my body. I am currently going through Fearless. in 21 days. I have also currently just got done reading Don’t Panic which you mention in your book. I have noticed my panic attacks are not hitting me everyday. They are getting fewer and fewer between. I guess since I know my trigger it has been my whole life im 37 so what do I do about my trigger aka getting sick.

  4. Richard M. Jones says:

    Does your book cover depression? I also deal with the depression, as well as anxiety.

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