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I was out much further than you thought and not waving but drowning. (Stevie Smith, Selected Poems, 1964, in Trauma and Addiction, Tian Dayton, Ph.D) (https://amzn.to/3o1acc8)
Following is the voice of David in Psalm 142. At the time, he was running from King Saul to save his life. Depression and fear had plunged him into despair. David experienced what some call a dark night of the soul.
142 I cry out to the Lord with my voice;
With my voice to the Lord I make my supplication.
2 I pour out my complaint before Him;
I declare before Him my trouble.
3 When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then You knew my path. In the way in which I walk they have secretly set a snare for me.
4 Look on my right hand and see,
For there is no one who acknowledges me;
Refuge has failed me;
No one cares for my soul.
Depression is both a brain disorder and a state of mind. It is the only organ whose function we consciously experience because the brain is the organ of the mind. The term depression includes Depressive Disorder and its related disorders. Seasonal Affective Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, postpartum depression, and suicide also fall under the Depressive Disorder, (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders V).
- Major Depressive Disorder is the leading cause of disability in America.
- In early 2020, 27.8% of American adults claimed to be struggling with the symptoms of depression during the pandemic.
- Between August 2020 and February 2021, the percentage of adults who reported symptoms of recent anxiety or depression rose to 41%.
- The increase was largest among the ages 18-29.
- Treatment for depression has proven effective in up to 80% of the cases within 4–6 weeks.
- Despite the above fact, 35% of adults with depression receive no treatment at all.
- Persistent Depressive Disorder is a type of depression that lasts two or more years. It effects over 3 million Americans, yet only about 40% are receiving treatment.
- Women are twice as likely to have depression as men.
- Depression is the primary reason why someone dies by suicide every 11 minutes.
- The suicide rate is four times higher for males than females. In the United States, male deaths make up almost 80% of all suicide deaths
Why Are We Depressed?
Depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. However, there are usually other factors involved, as well. For instance, it often runs in families. In addition, if a major caregiver was depressed when you were a young child, you are more likely to struggle with depression as an adult, (The Developing Mind, Daniel J. Siegel). (https://amzn.to/3tswRzn)
Life events or some types of illness can also trigger depression.
Symptoms of Depression
Sometimes it’s easier for the people around you to see your depression before you do. Moreover, the descent into inner darkness is often gradual. The following is a list from Johns Hopkins Medicine of the most common symptoms.
Of course, we’re each individuals and can have some different or additional symptoms.
- Lasting sad, anxious, or feeling of emptiness
- Loss of interest in nearly all activities
- Appetite and weight changes
- Changes in sleep patterns, such as inability to sleep or sleeping too much
- Slowing of physical activity, speech, and thinking OR agitation, increased restlessness, and irritability
- Decreased energy, feeling tired or sluggish almost every day
- Ongoing feelings of worthlessness and/or feelings of undue guilt
- Trouble concentrating or making decisions
- Repeating thoughts of death or suicide, wishing to die, or attempting suicide (Note: This needs emergency treatment)
If you have 5 or more of these symptoms for at least 2 weeks, you may be diagnosed with depression. These feelings are a noticeable change from what’s normal for you.
It’s possible that you feel ashamed or weak once you realize you are depressed. This is likely due to our culture’s dishonesty regarding mental health. We talk a lot about helping those with mental health issues. Sadly, however, as a society, (including our governing authorities), there is too much talk with little action to follow.
You may feel like a burden to others, not worth the trouble of asking for help.
That’s the depression talking. It isn’t who YOU are.
More importantly, it isn’t who God says you are, either, (Zechariah 2:1-8; NKJV).
…for he who touches you touches the apple of His eye.
Where to Go For Help- First
My first go-to is God. He is my Rock and my Fortress and my Deliverer. He is my Refuge, (Psalm 18:2). There have been times, however, when the Lord felt distant and His voice was silent for me. With David in Psalm 142, in weak faith I have called:
I cried out to You, O Lord:
I said, “You are my refuge,
My portion in the land of the living.
6 Attend to my cry,
For I am brought very low;
Deliver me from my persecutors,
For they are stronger than I.
7 Bring my soul out of prison,
That I may praise Your name;
The righteous shall surround me,
For You shall deal bountifully with me.”
Depression does feel stronger than us. It brings us low and we feel like we’re in a prison.
During those times, we need a righteous, faithful friend or two to surround us with prayer and encouragement. We want to praise God for His deliverance…even when we can’t see it, yet.
The Two-Step For Help
Most people suffer silently with depression for too long. We sink deeper and deeper into despair, clutching at the falsehood that we will snap out of it.
Unfortunately, the longer it lingers, the less likely you will awaken one morning with the heaviness magically lifted. In clinical terms, that’s called magical thinking.
As a former therapist, I am a firm believer in seeking a professional to walk with you in your healing journey. As a Christ follower, I prefer a fellow believer. For you, I urge you not to attempt to walk this road alone.
It is a treacherous journey without a companion walking alongside you.
Furthermore, please don’t tell yourself you can’t afford therapy! I hear that all the time. Think of the things money is spent on in your household. Your mental health is worth more than some (or most) of those things.
Moreover, there are therapists out there who will work with you, financially. Yes, it may take time to find her, and you don’t think you have the energy now, but YOU ARE WORTH IT.
Believe it. Not because I say you are, and I do. God gave His Son for you. HE says you’re so valuable that you’re worth dying for.
Aren’t you worth living for?
Find a Therapist by Location: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists/christian
1-800-273-8255 Suicide hotline #