It’s a beast guys. It’s debilitating. I have been diagnosed with chronic depression w/ bouts of major depression. It is a medical illness, and here are some of the symptoms:
-sadness or depressed mood, almost every day.
-loss of pleasure in things you once enjoyed.
-Major change in weight or appetite (for me this was an increase)
-Physically restless or rundown
-Fatigue/loss of energy, almost every day
-Feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, or excessive guilt almost every day
-Problems with concentration or making decisions almost every day
-Recurring thoughts of death/suicide (I haven’t considered suicide, but this manifests in anxiety/panic attacks and other thoughts of death).
I suffer from every single one of these symptoms on a daily basis. The frustrating thing is that because a lot of these are based on “feelings,” people tend to think it’s not a real medical problem and is, instead, a heart problem. A sin problem.
I recently had an online discussion with a fellow Christian blogger. She had shared this quote on her facebook:
Years of counseling with people who are chronically unhappy, depressed, frustrated, and emotionally unstable have convinced me that these “disorders” often stem from an unthankful heart, regardless of any external circumstances that may appear to provide an explanation. Nancy Leigh DeMoss
Sadly, this sums up what most of Christians think about the matter. That depression and other “supposed disorders” are simply caused by a bad attitude, an ungrateful heart, a sin problem. Despite medical evidence to the contrary, there is still a tendency to say that a person with depression is at fault.
It deeply saddens me to see this attitude expressed.
If you know someone who is suffering from depression, please give them a little support. A word of encouragement, a word of kindness.
I remember a couple years ago when I was going through a bad spell. I have a friend who doesn’t necessarily understand this depression stuff, but she has enough compassion to care anyway. She and another friend showed up at my door with a pizza for lunch and a bag of Dove chocolates. I was so touched by her thoughtfulness, and it truly helped me. Even if it was just a short reprieve, it showed me that someone cared.
According to the CDC website, in the year 2010, there were more than 38,000 suicide deaths in the US. There were more than 630,000 emergency department visits for self-inflicted injury (many of which were probably suicide attempts).
Depression is a serious problem. It is a real thing. People suffering from it need your prayers, your kindness, your support. Not your judgments.