Sadness and/or depression is a touchy subject. Yet, it’s a topic that is now running wild in everyone’s households. Many people, along with myself, have either encountered symptoms of depression or know someone who is dealing with it. In the past, mentioning that you were seeing a therapist for depression was taboo, so hiding it from others was the norm. Truly, depression, let alone therapy, wasn’t a topic you would freely talk about with others at the dinner table. But over the years, this approach has left many us in the dark. Fortunately today, people are speaking out about depression and other related conditions to highlight the importance of mental health awareness.
Depression in our world today
Today, many people are being treated for conditions such as persistent depression disorder, bipolar disorder, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), psychotic depression, postpartum depression, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PDD). Recently, statistics show that about 350 million people suffer from these depressive disorders, with women being diagnosed more so than men. In fact, approximately 45,000 Americans commit suicide due to depression—which accounts for the “10th leading cause of death.” Surely, there is a major increase in the number of suicides, as substance abuse, acute or chronic illnesses, and bullying have become growing issues in our society.
Particularly, bullying is a major concern within the Millennial and Generation Z groups, which is now seen all over the Internet, known as cyber-bullying. Cyber-bullying is a growing culture that is steadily appearing under the guise of ‘cancelling,’ shunning, doxing, and backing people into a corner because of their beliefs or ideologies.
Naturally, with depression growing amongst the younger generations, mental health professionals, non-profit organizations, and local communities have continued to stress the importance of mental health awareness and intervention.
My personal experience
During my teenage years, I was often sad and depressed because of past childhood traumas, bullying, rejection and abuse. Throughout many stages of my life, I struggled with creating boundaries with others, doing things to fit in, or simply holding onto guilt from saying the word ‘no.’ In other words, I was a ‘people-pleaser.’ This even manifested into my adulthood. What others felt, said or did matter more to me than my own happiness—better yet, sanity. From that, I often held back my true feelings and could not communicate well with others. Eventually, this troubled many of my relationships. It wasn’t until I found myself in a very dark place and thinking of suicide, that I realized I needed help. With the help of cognitive therapy, feelings relating to my past became easier to manage. Likewise, attending therapy sessions helped me to expose the deeper issues that I often pushed aside.
Expanding my walk of Faith
Not only did I seek therapy for combating depression, I also began to build my relationship with God through prayer and thoroughly studying His word. It wasn’t until I fully surrendered, and gave my life and trust over to Christ, that I was able to heal from my depression. My walk in Faith has allowed me to lean on God’s love and mercy, which has strengthened me to the core.
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.”
Proverbs 3:5-6 KJV
“He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.”Psalms 147:3 KJV
Over the years, I had been seeking comfort, love and answers to my problems from everyone else except God, which truly had me lost and confused. But through spiritual growth and understanding, I now trust in God’s love to carry me through any moments of pain, hurt or adversity.
Know the warning signs of depression
It is important to know the signs of depression. The signs can range from very subtle to more severe symptoms, no matter the age or gender. Specifically, some common signs of depression are:
- Feeling sad and hopeless
- Having a short temper
- Lack of energy
- Loss of interest in hobbies or everyday activities
- Decreased appetite
- Anxiety and restlessness; and
- Suicidal thoughts (Please call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1(800) 273-8255 if you or someone you know is experiencing thoughts of suicide)
If you or a loved one are struggling to manage these symptoms, please seek help. To get started, check out some of these helpful online resources:
- Mental Health America http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/resources
- National Institute of Mental Health https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/find-help/index.shtml
- Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) https://www.samhsa.gov/
- Psychology Today https://www.psychologytoday.com/us
- Talkspace https://www.talkspace.com/
Overall, without help, depression can become a heavy weight on one’s shoulders. For me, therapy and my faith in God was very effective ways in helping me to heal from depression. Even as a believer in Christ, seeking professional help, such as seeing a therapist, may be necessary in dealing with stressful situations or severe symptoms of depression.
Final note: The most important thing to remember is that there is no shame in getting the help you need when dealing with mental health issues. Get the help you need so that your mind and your heart can be FREE.
- Bullying and Suicide. Retrieved from http://www.bullyingstatistics.org/content/bullying-and-suicide.html
- Depression (major depressive disorder). Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/symptoms-causes/syc-20356007
- Depression and Mental Health by the Numbers: Facts, Statistics, and You. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/facts-statistics-infographic#8
- Suicide Statistics. Retrieved from https://afsp.org/about-suicide/suicide-statistics
- Types of Depression. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/depression-types#1