I haven’t blogged all summer because, well, I’ve been depressed.
I won’t go into details, but my family and I have slogged through some serious health and employment issues this year. These crises have spiked my anxiety levels and put the monkey of depression on my back once again.
An Endless Grey Mist
I have struggled with bouts of depression since middle school. It’s not a temporary case of the blues. Depression is a grey mist that seemingly has no end. It dampens your energy and freezes out hope. If you suffer from depression, you know how much it sucks.
It’s no use to tell a depressed person to “snap out of it” or “have more faith” or any of the other platitudes I’ve heard along the way. We need compassion, not condemnation; support instead of suggestions on “how to make it better.” What depressed people need more than anything else is a friend – someone who will listen, shed a tear, and gently offer help.
The One Thing I Did Right
One thing I did right this time around was to reach out to people I trusted. Depression cuts you off from the herd, making you feel like you’re on a deserted island. If you suffer from chronic depression or anxiety, don’t go it alone. Please. I was blessed to have a wife, family members, a doctor, and pastoral colleagues who were there for me, and still are. Without their support, I shudder to think where I would be now.
Suicide Prevention Month
September is National Suicide Prevention Month. With the recent suicides of Kate Spade, Anthony Bourdain and a well-loved pastor in California, we all need to be aware of the seriousness of depression and be ready to throw out a lifeline if a loved one appears to be suffering. As Christians, it is our joyful duty to “carry each other’s burdens and thus fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal 6:2).
Photo courtesy of trisofficial via morguefile.com