Depression and Someone You Know

     Chances are, you know someone who is battling depression. Depression doesn’t care how old or young you are, if you are a man or woman, what race you are, or your religion. It may be a friend or family member who is suffering with it, or maybe even be you. It is so common that, according to verywellmind.com, 17.3 million adults in the U.S. “have experienced a major depressive episode in the past year,” with 11 million cases resulting “in severe impairment.” 

     Depression is one of those things that I think you have to experience in order to really understand it. I’ve heard people respond to those with depression by saying things that reflect a lack of understanding, and along with that, a lack of compassion. Please hear me when I say that depression is not something that anyone chooses to have. You cannot “snap out of it,” “get over it,” or “just ignore it,” any more than someone with the flu, running a 104 degree temperature could. Someone with depression is not “just trying to get attention.” And, yes, it can be absolutely debilitating. No, it is not because you do not love the Lord enough or have enough faith. And, please try to be patient and understand that when a spouse or other family member tells someone already hurting and suffering with depression something like, “I can’t deal with you when you’re like this, let me know when you’re done,” it only adds to the pain. It makes that person feel even more isolated and alone, like nobody understands or cares. We all need to be loved, despite our faults (and we ALL have our faults). If you are Christian, may I remind you of the words of the apostle Paul? He said: “Love suffers long and is kind . . . is not provoked . . . bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Cor 13:4–7 NKJV).

     I know there is still this stigma about mental illnesses. We are sometimes afraid to say anything for fear of what people might think or say about us. But, if you are suffering with depression, please don’t let that keep you from seeking help. We wouldn’t think twice about going to the doctor if we were physically ill, why worry about seeing a mental health professional? It can get better. It does get better. There is help. Please say something. If you do, I think the time will come when you’ll be glad you did. 

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