Depression and the Need for a Light at the End of the Tunnel

Depression has been called the mental and emotional common cold. Depression is common. However, many people remain unaware. They also remain unaware that depression affects people from the most successful – such as Terry Bradshaw, National Football League Hall of Fame Quarterback, Charles Spurgeon considered the prince of English-speaking preachers in the 1800s, to people who are unknown.

And although depression is a serious disease, many go untreated. For many years, Terry Bradshaw was such a person. There is a better way than suffering in silence.

Depression Varies

Depression can be psychological, physiological, emotional, situational, spiritual, and more. Depression can be so severe as to render many people “ineffective.” Other people are “high performing depressives” These appear to function well in public but in private, live exhausted meandering lives.

During Christmas, New Year’s and Winter – depression is more severe. In 2020, due to coronavirus and other world issues, the level of depression has drastically increased. China is generally slow to admit the existence of mental and emotional health issues. This week, the Chinese government reported that depression had increased by 33% due to concerns over the coronavirus.

What is depression?

Depression is a mood disorder that causes a feeling of sadness and loss of interest in almost everything (from food to beloved activities). Depression is not a “down day” or two. Depression is stubborn. It stays around for an extended period. It affects how a person feels, thinks and behaves. It can also lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems.

What causes depression?

Some people who are depressed have no known reason to be suffering. This is the case with me. To borrow the name of a Christmas film from many years ago, like quarterback Terry Bradshaw, I have, “a wonderful life.”

Other people have depression that begins with any of several common reasons:

  • Abuse. Past physical, sexual, or emotional abuse increases the vulnerability to clinical depression.
  • Addiction or chemical dependence
  • Medication—many have depression as a possible side effect.
  • Conflict—divorce, family problems, finances, loss of a job
  • Grief
  • Major events—marriages, unexpected babies, medical problems
  • Personal problems—guilt, shame, remorse, low self-esteem, feeling unequal.
  • Serious illnesses

 

Some of what is listed falls into the category of situational depression. Situational depression is connected to life events:  the loss of a job, grief, or medical problems. However, situational depression can transition into a major depressive disorder.

 

Why are so many Christians untreated?

Even when diagnosed, with depression many resist the diagnosis. Depression does not fit in with their idea of Christian identity. Admitting depression can be seen as admitting weakness.

Of course, there has been a lingering stigma and lack of information about what depression is, and the potential responses. This is especially true in other parts of the world, such as China, but it also happens in the USA. It is impossible to accurately estimate the social stigma that still surrounds emotional and mental illness. People often feel embarrassed, ashamed, or believe that it is their own fault they are depressed. 

My own repeated experience with depression, couples with something of a bully pulpit as a writer and speaker with some exposure is what prompted me to write Light in a Dark Place – Encountering Depression.

 

Light in a Dark Place – Encountering Depression.

This year has been truly different for the entire world. The social distancing, job losses and pandemic caused issues have made many of us go into the darkness of depression.

Light in a Dark Place - Encountering Depression is an attempt to bring the experience of depression into the light of day. Those who experience depression need to have their difficulties validated. Family members, friends, leaders, and pastors need to know what depression is.

As a Christmas special, we are offering “Light in a Dark Place – Encountering Depression.” for a special low price.

For more on depression, how to encounter it, and how to deal with it, here are some links to some video content and blogs on the subject.

What I've come to call, Songs for the Dark Place, give me words when I have no words. 

  • The Christian – Unacceptably Depressed Many see depression as something a Christian should not experience. If depression is discussed, it is spoken of in whispers. Because of religious and cultural taboos, many people do not understand that depression is a real disease.
  • Encountering Pandemic Inspired Depression Turn Off the Toxic This is the second in a series of articles regarding enduring depression during the pandemic.
    There are some toxic items we cannot avoid. Some of these may be in our home simply as a result of relationships that are not particularly healthy. It might be a good time to strengthen those relationships.
  • Prevailing Against Coronavirus Based Depression--Your Feelings Match Your Circumstances Our world is in a difficult circumstance. Is this perhaps the greatest sustained panic since World War II? We are living with:
    1. A virus for which no cure is currently known.
    2. Older people dying alone.
    3. Unemployment skyrocketing to levels not seen in our lifetime.
    4. The world-wide economy shrinking at an unparalleled pace.
    5. The news on every side is disappointing.

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