It has been promoted & has pretty much become common knowledge that during the latter holidays of a year on towards the first few days a new calendar year, basically from Thanksgiving to New Year, more people suffer from the mood disorder known as depression than any other segment of the year. The World Health Organization estimates that approximately 350 million people around the world suffer from this dreaded disease. It is also because of this very real disorder that attempted & successful suicides soar during this time of year. Most who encounter it feel like it is a passing season in their life & that they can outrun or handle it on their own. However, it is a very complex psychological state that imposes many physiological effects on the sufferer & prevents them from being able to function properly and/or routinely.
Let me say from the outset that I believe in the miracle-working power of God & His ability to unequivocally heal any individual overwhelmed with the clouds that depression brings. However, it has been my experience that the majority of the people that I have seen endure & overcome depression most have overcome the hopelessness of depressive despair by working & drawing strength through the resources of an outside source. Some of the things that I have found to help are:
- Talking with your pastor, doctor or a licensed counselor
- Attending regular church & worship services
- Releasing grudges & forgiving those who have hurt you
- Building a consistent prayer life
- Maintaining a personal relationship with the Word of God
- Reducing the stress (& drama) in your life
For those of us who have dealt with or know the reality of what it means to suffer with the gloominess of this very real illness, we also know that those who are hurting usually never ask for help or advice. Whether it is out of pride, denial or ‘simply not wanting to bother anyone with their problems’, the seriousness of the outcome can be the same. So the purpose of this article is to help educate & remind everyone to be on the lookout for those around you who may be suffering. Here are ten common warning signs:
- Continual sadness
- An attitude of self-loathing
- Loss of interest in activities
- Irritability & isolationism
- Loss of energy
- Disturbed sleep patterns
- Changes in appetite or body weight
- Uncommon reckless behavior
- Suicidal tendencies
If you’re suffering from depression, please contact any of your ASR Chaplains. We would all be happy to talk to you & help you through the effects of this issue. You are not alone.
For the rest of those reading this article, during this Christmas & holiday season, please listen & pay attention to those around you. Your intervention & gentle words of encouragement may not just save a soul. It may save a life.
Evangelist Robert E. Eades
ASR National Chaplain
(502) 750-2174 (call or text)