Depression affects 19 million people each year and the severity ranges from mild to major and one of the most at risk are teens. It’s an unseen wound, when left unchecked can worsen over time to the point of debilitation.
Clinical depression is different than merely being depressed. We all have those moments of sadness, an off day attributed to everyday living: disappointments, cancelled plans, breakups, another Dallas Cowboys' losing season. You'll get down and then back up, life will go on.
I mean depression as in someone can’t eat, sleep or summon the will to get out of bed.
I’ve had several clinically depressed close friends in my lifetime, I'm still dear friends with one. They never knew each other, but eerily, both used the word swimming in describing depression. One described it as “swimming in a murky pool of bad feelings" while another said she continually felt like "swimming in glue with weights tied to your neck". Swimming. Drowning in every negative emotion and insecurity. For the clinically depressed, that overwhelming feeling of sadness is their life and entire world. I can’t imagine being in pain every waking moment; to not be able to at least identify the source of my sorrow. Worse still is the stigma associated with depression; as the person is condemned as ‘crazy’ or dismissed as “being a downer”.
If you know someone who’s showing signs of depression, don’t wait, reach out to them. Don’t assume it will blow over or they will find something else to occupy their time. There is nothing, nothing in this world worse than the feeling of regret for not being there for someone in their hour of need. Believe me.
If you have thoughts of suicide or self harm, please call 1-800-SUICIDE or 1-800-999-9999 from anywhere in the US. There is a person waiting to talk to you twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. If you feel you're suffering from depression, not just a case of the blues, please seek help and don't be afraid. You're not alone. You don't have to suffer in silence.
I’m not sure what made me focus on this topic this week. I had intended to write of autumn with my grandpa, but I don’t think he would’ve minded stepping aside for a moment.
I still remember you, Joshie. I pray you’ve found peace.
Thank you for taking the time to read.