This time of the year either makes people depressed or encourages them to wallow in depression. For those who don’t struggle with it, it’s a hard thing to understand. So let’s talk about it.
WHAT IS IT?
The absence of emotion. No anger, no happiness, no joy, just emptiness.
WHAT CAUSES IT?
Just about anything can be a contributing factor, but the worst offenders are:
• Creative Blocks
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
• Anxiety or Fear
• Loss of appetite
• Moodiness / irritability
• Loss of interest in things
• Anti-social tendencies
• Problem concentrating
CAN WE FIX IT?
Yes, there is hope! There are two kinds of people (those who struggle with depression and those who know someone who does). Let’s talk to each group individually.
FOR THE DEPRESSED:
Be Humble: confide in someone you trust, and ask for help.
Speak Out: if you feel depression coming on, talk about it. Don’t wait!. Start when those feelings first come over you.
Get out of the House: be sociable, even though you don’t feel like it. Solitude worsens depression. Go out with friends, walk the dog, just break free of the rut!
Make “Happy Albums”: collect everything you love and put it in a scrapbook or photo album, to remind you how much you’re loved.
Pay Attention: keep a journal so you can see what events, people, place, or things make you sad. You may find out you shouldn’t have family photos up on the wall or watch war movies.
Avoid Redundancy: this is very important for “creative” personality types. Boredom with a task you used to enjoy will bring on guilt and confusion (“did I waste my time?”) that can lead to depression. Try new things. Mix up your routine. Have variety in your day.
Change Something: paint a wall. Move a piece of furniture. Something as small as changing your environment can break a habit of melancholy.
Get Help: if depression happens a lot in your life, get help. If you need anti-depressants to stay happy, take them. There’s nothing shameful in it. Some people have bad eyesight, arthritis, hair loss or depression. It’s treatable and nothing to be ashamed of.
FOR FAMILY & FRIENDS:
Don’t Judge: this is real. It’s not imagined. They need you to accept, love, support, and help them, not tell them to simply “get over it.” And don’t EVER shame them.
Pay Attention: know the symptoms. The worst thing you can do is ignore it or not realize what’s happening. If you catch it early, you can ward depression off.
Talk: depression can be caused by “bottled up” emotions. Get them to confide in you until you figure out what’s really wrong. Sometimes just rationalizing a situation can make it less scary or depressing.
Tough Love: force them to socialize, and don’t take no for an answer. Try out new and exciting things that may peak their creativity and/or interest. (Get them to a class where they can learn something new.)
Accept Reality: we can be in denial that anything is wrong. This helps no one. If someone in your home needs medical help, get it for them.
Pray For Them: to see the truth in their situation and themselves. Pray for the love and kindness they’ll need from you at this difficult time in their life. Pray for wisdom for their family and friends. Pray God will show them every day how much He loves them.
Depression is a part of life, but it doesn’t have to BE your life.