Let's Talk About Depression
Updated: Jul 19, 2020
In recent weeks we’ve heard the sad news of notable people who’ve ended their own lives. Kate Spade, the brilliant fashion designer and businesswoman famous for stylish and affordable handbags, accessories, and clothing. Anthony Bourdain, the urbane chef whose television programs explored the rich variety of the world’s cuisine, culture, and humanity.
Kate and Anthony were hugely accomplished, so their loss has spawned much soul-searching about our culture’s high and climbing suicide rate. As the tenth most common cause of death, it’s a major public health crisis.
Out of every 100,000 people in the United States, thirteen will die by suicide. Due to the stigma surrounding suicide, it’s widely believed many cases go unreported as such.
It would oversimplify things to attribute suicide to any single cause. But most mental health experts point to depression as a major culprit.
I sincerely hope you’ve never suffered depression. We all feel down from time to time, but I’m referring to what’s known as “major depressive disorder.”
It can be ongoing or sporadic. You may feel a lack of energy and motivation, low self-esteem, anxiety, and little interest in others or in activities you’d normally find enjoyable. At its worst, you can feel so bad about life you may believe death is a better option, and you might even consider how to make that happen.
There are many causes. Depression can be triggered by trauma like the loss of a loved one or the experience of combat or other violence. It can be a side effect of physical disease or medical treatment. It can result from a combination of one’s genetic makeup, life events, substance abuse, family history, and a range of psychological issues.
Regardless of the cause, I hope you’ve never felt that way.
Because I have. It was years ago, and thankfully I received professional treatment that helped me arrive at a healthier perspective of myself and my place and purpose in the world.
Today I feel truly great about life, and I’m quite thankful to be here. I’ve been to the dark side, and with the help and support of others - and I believe God’s help - I’m just fine.
Please know if you feel depressed, it’s perfectly okay to talk about it openly. Start with someone you trust. Tell your doctor.
We don’t consider heart disease, cancer, or diabetes as maladies we’re ashamed to admit and seek treatment for, do we? We’re usually willing to discuss those illnesses.
In the same way, we need to understand and regard depression as the treatable condition it is. We must stop thinking of it as a personal weakness, weirdness, disgrace, or moral deficiency.
If you’re ever feeling depressed - especially if you’re depressed in such a way that you feel life is not worth living - please tell someone right away.
Life is worth living. There is hope, no matter how hopeless you may feel. You are inherently worthy and were created to enjoy a life of meaning and purpose. And never doubt that you are surrounded by people who highly value and love you, and who are eager to walk alongside you and help you heal.