Depression doesn’t garner empathy. Why?

Depression isn’t one of those high-profile illnesses. It isn’t one of those illnesses that draws much support and attention from others, unless, of course, it’s negatively impacting them. Most people wouldn’t even know if the person standing next to them in the elevator is depressed. And even if we did, we probably wouldn’t know what to say.

And yet, the Bible is full of depressed people and depressed prayers.

It is also true that no one gives a high-five to someone who has suffered depression for years and finally breaks free of the illness. Truly, like high blood pressure, it is a silent killer. It may not take one’s physical life but it takes everything thing that qualifies as “living”.

The reasons people don’t give much attention to it is because:

  • It’s totally misunderstood.
  • It reeks of self-absorption.
  • People don’t know what to say.
  • People are afraid they’ll “catch” it. (This actually can be somewhat true as evidenced by the fact that we know if we hang around someone who is always “down” they drag us “down” as well.)
  • People just figure you’ll get over it.

Ask anyone who’s suffered any major illness and they will always say the pain of depression was by far the worse. No one who suffers even one episode ever wants to suffer another one. It is a complex illness with various causes, some of them more than one. But while it is complex, it responds well to very simple concepts for healing.

For example, the science behind the way the body metabolizes food is indeed quite complicated sounding. But the best way for a person to lose weight is really very simple. “Eat less than and exercise more.” One doesn’t need to know the science; one only needs to know those two facts.

There is time later when you are thinking clearly to read about the synapses, the neurotransmitters, etc. It is good to have a basic understanding of how depression works but save the heavy research for when your mind isn’t mush.

When I started to paint with watercolors, I sat in front of a big piece of white paper until my art instructor came over and whispered in my ear, “Rebecca, it’s only a $3.00 (now $4.50) piece of paper. That one small step of dipping my brush in the paint and applying it to the paper was all I needed to feel some success. And that tiny bit of success led me to eventually paint a whole picture.

I could’ve studied art techniques all I wanted but until I put paint to paper, it would’ve been only an exercise in accumulating information.

Paint a least one brushstroke on your life today by doing just one good thing that makes you feel better. It can be anything. You would be amazed at how the simplest thing can improve your mood. I can’t wait to share with you all my tips and techniques over the following weeks. And I’m eager to hear your own unique ways to take a bite out of depression.

God bless and have a good day.

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