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