Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Functionally Depressed

I know I usually write very light pieces, but the subject of depression has caught my attention. Each year an estimated nineteen million adults suffer from depression. The following are classic signs of depression: constant sadness, lack of motivation, irritability, trouble concentrating, feelings of isolation (not as involved with family and friends), loss of interest in favorite activities, hopelessness, feeling worthless or guilty for no reason, fatigue, thoughts of death or suicide, low energy, trouble sleeping, and significant weight change. There are times that we all may feel a little depressed. We can feel a little blue or not quite like ourselves. Most of the time these feeling pass, circumstances change, and we move on. Unfortunately that is not the case for everyone.

But what about those people who have some of the above symptoms, but they hide it from others. Functionally depressed people get up everyday, go to work, make dinner, do laundry, go to church, and visit with friends. When they are alone with their thoughts, things change. They try to fight the sadness, yet their energy level may be low or they may not sleep well. Who are these people? They are people you know and love, yet deep inside they lose a little piece of themselves every day. They go along pretending that all is well in their world. They feel if they pretend long enough, it might be true. They function because they have to, not because they want to. They feel they are alone even when they are surrounded by people.

How do we recognize if people we love suffer from functional depression? The signs are very subtle I believe. How are they when no one is looking? Is there a distant sadness in their eyes? Are they overly compensating their good moods? It can be almost impossible to see with our natural eyes who around us suffer from being functionally depressed, but when we use our spiritual eyes, we can see very clearly. Maybe it’s a good idea to take inventory of those close to us every once in while. Pray, ask God if they are in a good state of mind. If they aren’t, then you know what to do – pray, reach out, love and involve them in your lives. People get depressed for reasons too vast to mention, but everyone loves to be loved.

Father in Your mercy show us who these people are in our lives. Let them feel not only our love, but Yours. Heal their sadness and change their hearts. Let them know they are not alone.

© Nadine Z. 2006

photo by Yukirin

8 comments:

skidmarksontheside said...

Na -

I have noticed a huge improvement in your writing since you've been blogging...!! This piece is excellent, very well written, and articulate! Excellent topic - thanks for the reminder. Keep up the good work!
love,
L

Tom Zawacki said...

Wow Babe:

Excellent article, maybe your best yet. Thank you for this powerful reminder.

I love you,
Tom

Anonymous said...

Thank you for writing this. I googled "functionally depressed", because I believe I am. For the first time in my life. Not sure what the next step is. Just glad to know somebody cares and is praying for a stranger. I know the most important thing - God loves me and I trust Him. It will get better. He will make a way.

Anonymous said...

I just found this blog tonight, and have been battling with depression for the last 30 or more years of my life. I have been functional, but lately it seems like it's spilling over. Thank you for for writing this article on a very serious subject. Thankfully I am now actively seeking out help, because some things are out of our control

Anonymous said...

I too googled 'functionally depressed'. I force myself to keep sailing along, even though inside I'm drowning. Thank-you for your prayers,hopefully they will reach me.

k.walker said...

And here I seriously believed it was I who first coined the term 'functionally depressed.' Thank you for writing about this.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your perspective on this. In the past I have slowly slipped from "functional" to "non-functional" because of so much repression and not reaching out for help. I pray that something as beautiful as this blog post can inspire those of us who live with it and encourage those who don't to be aware of the pain those around them could be feeling.

SomberScribbler said...

Thank you for this post. It's a reminder to be kind to people. Just because we smile and appear functional doesn't mean we aren't battling a serious illness on the inside.