Do You Feel
-Christians shouldn’t be depressed?
-Robin Williams shouldn’t be depressed?
-People who seemingly have wonderful things going for them shouldn’t be depressed?
Have you ever heard that Christians shouldn’t be depressed. In wake of the death of Robin Williams, I decided that I’d like to address depression. I didn’t know Robin Williams had been battling with severe depression and even some addiction challenges, which do go hand in hand frequently. 19 Million adults, just in the United States, deal with depression at some point each year. Some on a chronic basis, just like any chronic illness. Many people who you might think shouldn’t be depressed. After all, they have this going for them or that, yet no one is exempt to suffering this debilitating disease.
I truly believe that laughter can help ward off depression to some degree. There are studies that demonstrate actual positive chemical changes in the body that help improve health in people who laugh and smile. Yet Robin Williams touched so many people with his laughter, but obviously internally he suffered with this terrible illness.
It does make you wonder how many others out there suffer with depression, but maybe nobody knows. Maybe even people you know and love right now. Sometimes we do know, but are limited in our ability to “make everything better.” To top it all off, there is still a stigma about having depression, anxiety or other mental disorders, yet it is as much an illness as anything we perceive to be a physical illness. Partly due to this stigma, nearly half the people suffering from depression don’t seek any professional help.
Some People May Seek Relief From A Bottle, Pain Pills, Drugs Or Other Destructive Habit
People may still seek help, but not from a mental health professional, rather from alcohol or drugs. What is so disheartening from a Christian point of view or even other religious viewpoints, is that some people think that just because someone believes in God, they shouldn’t ever be depressed. That baffles me. It’s like, look around people! The statistics of dysfunctional childhoods, the violence and general challenges that people face in life are more than enough for anyone to feel depressed, at the very least, now and then throughout their life. Being a believer doesn’t change the fact we live in a fallen world.
There are not just the life challenges, but there are also tendencies for depression in some peoples’ genetic makeup. There are also factors that children can face while they are still developing their thought processes and coping skills of life. In addition, what is modeled to them in these years can contribute to how someone might deal with the life’s challenges as an adult. There are many variables that can contribute to the development of depression.
Many of us simply face depression due to situations we face. Some might be short term, some long term. If you throw in the wrong variables, it could mean a very serious depressive illness. It is so hard for some people who may not have experienced severe depression, just how someone can take that final step to a seemingly short term problem. Depression can lead to suicide when people no longer see any hope of relief. This can be thought out over time or sadly, happen on impulse in a moment of despair.
General warning signs a person might be suicidal include:
-Giving away things that mean a great deal to them
-Withdrawing from friends and family
-Drinking alcohol excessively or taking drugs.
-Even sudden calmness
If you see these changes in yourself or someone you love and don’t know where to turn, call the suicide prevention hotline. They can point you in the right direction. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
There are things that can help with depression. Below are some suggestions
- Prayer (even though Christians and other people of faith have depression, turning to the Father who loves them can help keep a more healthier perspective).
- Having someone to talk to that you trust. Even though they can’t “fix” everything, they can listen and this can help decrease the feelings of isolation.
- If you don’t have anyone you feel you can talk to, try one of the many hotlines available. Arrange to speak with a licensed Christian counselor at no cost by calling 1-855-771-HELP (4357) Monday through Friday between 6:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. Mountain time. –Due to high call volumes, it may be necessary for you to leave your name and number for a counselor to return your call.
- If you feel more comfortable by email, phone or even a life chat, CBN has caring people who will listen and pray with you.
- Be sure you are doing all you can to keep your overall health up, such as eating a nutrition diet, getting adequate sleep, keeping stress down as much as possible and exercising. Even getting out and taking a little walk can help lower depression sometimes.
- There are natural supplements on the market that might help such as SAM-e, St. John’s Wort, 5-HTP, the spice Saffron and if poor sleep is contributing, there is Melatonin and Valerian that may help with that.
- Trying to focus on the positive in life.
- Putting laughter in your day. They say that even faking a smile or faking laughter can still release the good chemicals in your body, which can elevate mood. Maybe you can’t do this all day, but it regular doses of laughter throughout your day can help change your emotional state when you feel sadness or depression increasing.
These things can help people cope, but if you are battling severe depression, you may need help from your doctor. I am not a big fan of medications unless absolutely necessary, but if you have severe depression, the things above may seem impossible to do or just aren’t that helpful. This is definitely a reason to seek a doctor’s advice. The doctor can suggest different options, one of them may be an antidepressant. There are many on the market and can be taken in low doses to help take the edge off things and provide some relief. Of course, you still have to deal with the things of life, but it may help you feel more capable to do so.
And for those out there that feel people of faith or Christians shouldn’t be depressed, I think there is a lack of understanding of the complexity of depression. In my opinion, seeing what people have to deal with as a whole in this life, I think it would be more odd for people not to suffer depression to one extent or another in the course of their lives. And God knows this. For whatever reason, we have not been raptured yet out of this messy world, so until that happens, pay attention to your feelings. Be proactive in trying to change your state of mind if you sense depression coming on.
If depression already has a good hold on you and you are a person of faith, I would certainly increase your prayer (just talking with God), maybe find a book on depression at your Christian bookstore and talk with your doctor. I read a statistic that at least 80% or more who seek treatment are helped significantly. No matter who you are or what you believe, if you feel past the point of being able to help yourself, please call The National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255 or visit their website at http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ for help.