Just because it’s invisible doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
Just because it’s invisible doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt.
Just because it’s invisible doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter.
Just because it’s invisible doesn’t mean it should be ignored.
Yes, I’m talking about depression.
There, I said it.
Don’t worry, you can’t catch it just by talking about it.
But you can make a difference, and you can help tear down the stigma by joining the conversation and admitting it is a problem.
Some don’t realize it is a problem. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t.
Even the Bible says “My people perish for lack of knowledge.” And people are dying every day because of lack of knowledge, lack of compassion, and lack of appropriate help.
It’s my desire to be part of the solution, because each day people are dying and families’ lives are being torn apart. So I wrote a book entitled “Hope Prevails: Insights from a Doctor’s Journey Through Depression” which will be released by Revell publishers summer, 2016, to provide help and hope for those who suffer in the valley of depression.
Just recently someone told me that the “market” for my book was “too small.” You know, not as big as say, the weight loss market. REALLY?? I didn’t write a book for a “market.” I wrote the book for the person who is suffering in the valley of depression and has lost their hope, because I know where my hope comes from and I want them to know that source of hope.
If you have not ever suffered with depression, may I say, count yourself fortunate. But may I also say, I can guarantee you know someone who has, and you know someone who is.
It is estimated that by 2020, depression is going to be our greatest epidemic worldwide. That’s greater than ADHD and learning disabilities. Greater than cancer. Greater than heart disease.
At some point in their lives 1 in 4 people will suffer depression, and that doesn’t include lesser cases of prolonged blues, sadness, or grief. Bringing it closer to home and just specific to women, every year, we know that 17.5 million women in the U.S. suffer from this devastating condition, and that doesn’t include those who don’t seek help.
When someone is depressed gets desperate enough that they don’t think there is any way out of their despair, it’s not uncommon for them to consider suicide. Recently a post circulated around social media about the selfishness of suicide, suggesting that suicide is the most self-centered thing a person can do or that the one who attempts suicide doesn’t care about the people they leave behind.
What such statements really suggest is that when someone attempts suicide, they are ultimately thinking about ending their own pain (even if they truly think others would be better off if they weren’t there). What they aren’t capable, in their pain, of seeing is how much pain others will experience when they are gone. Regardless, I detest comments like this, however, because it also shows a lack of understanding and compassion for the depth of despair someone who is suicidal is experiencing.
I believe that as part of the body of Christ, for the church to be a hospital to the hurting, we must do what we can to tear down the stigma associated with certain taboo subjects, mental health-specifically depression, being one of them.
That’s the reason I’ve written my book “Hope Prevails.” Depression is a devastating condition. No one asks to be depressed. No one wants to be depressed.
I’ve been there. I didn’t ask for this to be my ministry field, but it’s a territory God has given me, and as long as I have breath and He has me there, I will do what I can to help the hurting, and share the hope that prevails.
Stigma is perpetuated by a lack of understanding, a lack of compassion, and a lack of willingness to step in and be part of the solution.
No one would choose to be depressed. But often, they get to the point they don’t know what else to do. That’s why I wrote my book, and how I hope it will help. Instead of turning away because you can’t relate or don’t understand, how about you take that first step toward tearing down the stigma and step TOWARD the suffering and just offer a compassionate embrace?
Somehow I think that’s what Jesus would have done.
“Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.” (Romans 12:15)
#HopePrevails #EndStigma #Hope4MH
Because of Him, #HopePrevails!
(If you have a question you’d like Dr. B to answer, contact her here now. Your name and identity will be kept confidential.)
Thank you for taking a bold stand to speak up for the hurting. I trust our God that because of your courage, He will deliver the hurting from the oppression breaking those chains setting them free, by His grace & mercy in Christ our Lord. May the Lord bless the work of your hands. Love you my friend!
Shonda, we both know that we don’t often get to choose our area of ministry, but that it’s an honor and privilege to be chosen by the Lord to serve Him. I pray that He blesses the work for His glory, and that as a result, others will feel less alone, and not listen to the lies of the enemy who delights in telling us in our valleys that we are alone and that no one understands. I’m here to share that they are not alone, and I do understand those depths of despair. But more than that, because of Him, #HopePrevails!
Well said, Michelle!
Thanks Mitch! Glad to see you stopping by! Blessings to you.
Strong advocates are in short supply. Those who need your voice are grateful for your passionate support.
Thank you Lisa. I have no intention of quitting. I’m just getting warmed up!
The scariest part for me about depression is the hopelessness the person feels. May God continue to work through you and teach others how to help those who feel so alone and empty.
Carrie, that is my goal: both to encourage the one who is feeling hopeless and to equip those who are walking along side. Thanks for your encouragement. Because of Him, #HopePrevails!
I love your passion for this! My husband has bipolar 2 disorder and educating people about mental illness is vital. Thank you for your work! Visiting from Mommy Moments.
Angela, in all honesty, I’m not sure any of us truly ever chooses our ministry, but are called and placed by God. But when we are obedient to His call, it is there that we find our greatest joy. My heart’s desire is to follow closely after His leading and to help those He tells me to help to the best of my ability. Because of Him, #HopePrevails!
I am one of the fortunate ones who doesn’t suffer with depression. (The two times I’ve experienced depression, of course, was after the death of a loved one, but it passed quickly. Even in that brief time I hated it!) I often think about people who live with this day in and day out. Thank you so much for writing a book that gives Hope to those who are suffering. What a blessing that will be!
I have two friends that suffer with it terribly. One who has accepted it and times he has spent in a psychiatric ward, God has used and he has witnessed to other patients. The other friend who does not accept her diagnosis and is always trying to find every other reason for her symptoms rather than the fact that she has bipolar, and believes the stigma. It is so very sad to watch her suffer.
The Lord will bless you mightily for your work to give hope to those who suffer with depression.
Thank you for your encouragement Karen. I can’t do it alone. So many people suffer, whether they acknowledge it or not. They need friends like you to encourage them, comfort them, and speak truth into their life. Thankfully, God’s truth is of great comfort, help and hope. Because of Him, #HopePrevails!
realizing that people don’t choose to be depressed is certainly a good place for us to start in dealing with friends/family/acquaintances who struggle with depression. but once they are dealing with it, we do need to encourage them to work with someone to help them deal with the causes…whether it is chemical, lifestyle, medical or combinations of the above. simply comforting them and allowing them to stay in their misery doesn’t help.
i have been on both sides of the fence. i had a parent who struggles a lot with depression but didn’t want to make the changes needed to actually deal with the causes. later, when i was dealing with it myself, i realized that the work needed to deal with it, even to admit i was depressed, took courage. dealing with the causes took a lot of work to make changes in some intrenched thinking patterns. it definitely took more than simply starting to take an antidepressant.
It reminds me of something i read a few months ago: Don’t believe everything you think! it definitely applies to depression doesn’t it?
Martha, you are so right. We need to accept that they can’t help it, but then encourage them to do the hard work to change it! They don’t have to stay in that misery, but it IS hard work. And you are so right: “Don’t believe everything you think!” Because of Him, #HopePrevails!
Such a great read. Far too often we hide depression for fear of weakness and the stigma attached to it.
That’s very true Sacha, and it’s my goal to help put an end to such a stigma.
I was diagnosed a year ago with depression and I’ve been very open about it. The conversations help because most people assume no one wants to talk about it, and it relieves the tension when someone takes a stand. I appreciate this post and I look forward to your book.
I’m proud of you for being open about it. The more people are willing to be open, the more others will realize that it’s very real, normal people who struggle…that will help eliminate the stigma and help others understand it better and even learn how to help! Because of Him, #HopePrevails!
I am surprised how little people understand about depression…… until they come face to face with it when a loved one or friend is diagnosed. It is an insidious condition that destroys families and lives and there should be more recognition about how serious it is. The fact that it is a hereditary problem, when low seratonin levels are concerned, makes it even more of a concern.
I agree with you Leanne. Depression is so very common, that you’d think more people would know about it, but there is so much shame attached to it, that open dialogue doesn’t occur very much. There’s also a lot of misconception attached to it. I’m hoping posts like this will help. Thanks for stopping by and being part of the conversation! Every little bit helps! Because of Him, #HopePrevails!
thanks so much for facing this and for your courage to write your book. I know too many who suffer with depression (almost as many who need to lose some weight!) (: next to you in CA this morning where it’s finally raining! YEA!
I know this is an older post, but I came across it this morning after reading a recent post. I hate depression. I live with it and struggle with it and have been battling it for years. I have been in counseling, been hospitalized, been (and am now) on medication that just makes other areas of life suck…it has nearly taken my life more than once. People avoid me…I’m not “happy enough in my faith” for them. I have had some reprieve at times, but mostly it is a constant companion…and the only one I have it seems. You say it is hard work to rise above it. Yes, it is, and hard work while in the grip of depression is damn near impossible. Do I believe God is near? Sometimes. Do I wonder why he allows this? All the time. Do I trust him? Completely. I just wish I had someone who didn’t give up on me after realizing how deep depression can run.
I’m so, so very sorry that you have walked this valley of depression. I KNOW how hard it is. I’ve been there. That’s why I’ve written the book “Hope Prevails: Insights From a Doctor’s Personal Journey Through Depression.” I tried all the things that I had suggested to my patients, and surprisingly, they didn’t help. It wasn’t until I addressed the spiritual root of the problem. It is hard work, and at times it did feel impossible. Like you, I had times when I struggled to believe God was near. And I had times that I wondered why He allowed it. And I had times when I didn’t trust Him completely. But LOOKING BACK, I can tell you that He IS faithful. And while people will let us down, HE won’t give up on you. Because of Him, #HopePrevails!