Depression

depressionThe big story in the news the past couple days has been the tragic death of Robin Williams. He was a masterful actor, and from what I’ve heard from people who actually met him, a genuinely nice guy. Who knew that behind his always-present smile there was such darkness that he could see no other way out than to take his own life? I bet his family knew, and my heart breaks for them.

I’ve had to deal with depression, both my own and that of a dear loved one. It’s not fun, from either perspective. It’s hard for someone who has not fought depression himself, or watched anxiously while a loved one is suffering from it, to understand how hard it is escape from its grasp.

Depression is complex in that it is both physical and spiritual. Since it has much to do with our moods, thoughts, and feelings, some people (preachers, more often than not) seem to think that it’s purely spiritual, that being depressed is a sin. I think this line of teaching/preaching is actually dangerous. There is abundant proof that depression can originate from a myriad of physical causes. (Chemical imbalance is a prominent cause, and many diseases and other physical conditions can bring it on.) If a person is told that his depression is purely spiritual, he may not get the help he needs, be it medicine or psychotherapy or both.

On the other hand, we can’t treat depression as purely physical, either. It’s not the kind of disease that can kill you outright, such as cancer, heart disease, or diabetes. While depression can make a person want to kill himself, it cannot make him fire a gun, take a handful of pills, or tie a noose. That’s good news! That means there is hope; there is always a way out since you can’t unwillingly die from depression.

I’m not a medical professional or any kind of expert in this area, but it’s a subject that is heavy on my heart these days. I’m just trying to figure it out and maybe help others along the way. I have two messages, one to people suffering from depression and one to their loved ones watching from the sidelines.

To the person suffering from depression:  I don’t know exactly what you’re thinking or feeling right now, so I won’t belittle your pain by acting like I do. I will simply say don’t give up your control. Once you pull the trigger, take the pills, or whatever, your lose your control over your life. Basically…you lose. Where there is life, there is hope. If you are seeing a doctor, be sure to follow their instructions. If you haven’t been to a doctor, consider going to one. They have access to all kinds of solutions. If you want someone to talk to, you can always contact me (either by writing a comment or emailing me at slmulkey@yahoo.com). I will tell you now that I don’t have all the answers, but I am a good listener.

To the person loving the depressed person:  Be there. Let them talk when they’re ready, but don’t push them. If you know of something they really enjoy, like a favorite food, offer it to them; but don’t feel offended if they reject it. They aren’t rejecting you, and when they come back around, they will remember the kind things you did and be grateful. When they are ready to talk, listen and maybe even cry with them. Do NOT criticize or condemn them. If they are suicidal, or you suspect they may be suicidal, enlist professional help! Don’t worry about if it will make them angry, just be glad they are still around to be angry or appreciative or whatever.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Robin Sears on August 12, 2014 at 6:05 pm

    depression is a mean trick that our minds play on us. It can trick our friends and love ones because you can look happy on the inside and want to end it all.

    Reply

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