«Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘Son of man, eat your bread with quaking [shaking], and drink your water with trembling and anxiety’ (Ezekiel 12: 17, 18).
The fifth symptom of depression is psychomotor agitation or the repetitive purposeless and nervous motions. In some cases, slowness of motion, thoughts and speech can be noticed.
Ezekiel, like many other prophets, had to deal with the unpleasant task of sending messages of rebuke to the people. The Israelites had established alliances with the surrounding people to the point that they lost their own identity. God had already warned them that the consequences would not be pleasant. They had to eat with shaking and drink with trembling and anxiety. In other words, they were restless even during activities that caused joy and satisfaction such as eating and drinking. But why shaking, trembling and anxiety when food transmits joy? It was because the people knew that «the cities . . . shall be laid waste, and the land shall become desolate» (v. 20). Knowing the there is an upcoming disaster is sufficient enough to spoil the joy of food and drink.
Unrest, agitation and anxiety usually go with depression. Frequently, these symptoms denote fear or nervousness in the face of bad omens that are often unfounded. Other times, they come about due to the burden of unfounded guilt. Psalm 32 reveals two spiritual strategies to address these situations. The first one is to look ahead with hope in the Lord because «Many sorrows shall be to the wicked; but he who trusts in the Lord, mercy shall surround him» (v. 10). Having a peaceful spirit is not possible unless we look to the future with hope that God will be there as the most reliable support. And the second one is to talk about it as Ezekiel expresses, «When I kept silent, my bones grew old through my groaning all the day long» (v. 3). Psychotherapeutic sessions are mostly about talking to unburden the mind and express the emotions that burden the soul. Usually, this is done with a friend, a sibling or another close person who can understand and listen to us. Besides the human being, there is a God who understands us best. David talked to God because of the burden of his guilt and the Lord forgave him (v. 5).
You may go through painful experiences because of the consequences of your own transgressions or mainly because we live in an unjust world where we all suffer because of widespread evil. Either way, come before the Lord, as this Psalm 32 promises you gladness, joy and rejoicing (v. 11).