Depression affects an estimated one in 15 adults (6.7%) in any given year. And one in six people (16.6%) will experience depression at some time in their life. Depression can strike at any time, but on average, first appears during the late teens to mid-20s. Women are more likely than men to experience depression. Some studies show that one-third of women will experience a major depressive episode in their lifetime.
With the rise of mental health awareness, people are able to talk about it more openly and share their struggles and experiences. A part of me rejoices over this, but it also saddens me, because while I don’t want to take away from the pain of what you are experiencing, many others have used this as a trend. What this tells me is that people may not have enough or the right information on this topic.
Today, we use the word ‘depression’ as a slang or synonym for a state of being/feeling sad. Anyone feeling sad about a temporary situation says they are depressed. Do we truly understand what this means? Before we label ourselves or others, let’s look at some important symptoms of this condition. You could be helping someone.
What is Depression?
Depression (major depressive disorder) is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Fortunately, it is also treatable. Depression involves feelings of extraordinary sadness and dejection (mostly without any reason), a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease a person’s ability to function at work and at home.
Here's what you can keep in mind
First, you can have hope in the Lord Jesus Christ. He has promised to, ‘never leave you nor forsake you’ (Duet 31:6b). Draw daily strength from Him. There is no situation God has not faced or he doesn’t know about. He understands exactly what you’re going through.
The Lord is there to rescue all who are discouraged and have given up hope.
Second, remember that you were not meant to do this life alone. You have a family--maybe your real one or a community around which you can find where you belong. Do not walk this path alone, feeling that you will not be accepted or heard.
Third, there is no reason to be ashamed of depression or any form of mental illness. You wouldn’t be ashamed if your thyroid didn’t work. You’d take care of it with medication, talk to people about your condition, etc. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, then talk to someone you trust today. The more you keep it inside, the more it will eat you up.
For those who know someone dealing with depression, allow them to talk to you, don’t give them any advice. The best support you can give through this time is helping them trust you and allowing them to open up about sharing their hurts, hang-ups and habits with someone. And as says Kay Warren, advocate for people living in mental illness,
Your mental illness is not your identity. Your identity is in Christ.