National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
It’s not that depressed people have not attempted to just cheer up, it’s that they have been constantly thinking in such an anti-cheerful way that the brain is automatically set on sad-drive.
You are What You Think
We’ve all heard that our thoughts affect everything we do: from the way we feel to the actions we take. So imagine what sort of life a person may live who has constantly focused on the hurt of past failures, the hang-ups of missed opportunities and the heartache of betrayals? Depression affects everything a person does, from work to taking care of their children. They feel a heaviness about them, a dread that accompanies them wherever they go. It is unhealthy and can be debilitating, something that needs to be brought up with their physician right away. Perhaps medication may be a temporary aid as well as counseling, while the depressed person learns new ways of living.
Beyond the Blues
The vast reservoir of emotions that is our brain is equipped and ready to send out the appropriate response to a certain event, but it also more readily supplies what it has in abundance. And if a person has been thinking non-stop about the gloom that is their lot, cheerful feelings will feel alien, maybe even forced. It’s common to experience the blues some days, even depression is a shared sentiment when going through a trying time such as loss of a job or death of a loved one. Depressed people, however, are so familiar with this sensation that it’s hard to ever leave it, feeling as if there really is a gray cloud following them around, making them incapable of seeing the silver lining behind that cloud. Depression is a thief that steals the joy out of living, making the depressed feel shackled to this feeling, holding them captive to the past and unable to feel alive in the present.
The fact that they recognize the melancholy within doesn’t immediately make it vanish, but instead it leads them to berate themselves for being such a ‘downer,’ in turn making them feel worse– thus the vicious dreary cycle continues. They may get sick and tired of feeling sick and tired and attempt to self-help themselves to happiness through the countless positive-thinking books or CDs available. Perhaps the impulse-bought coffee mug with the inspirational inscription may seep its optimism through their fifth cup of high-jolt java. Just about every self-help book out there insists that their particular set of ‘rules’ will only work if the reader puts them into practice.
And while that may be true, depressed readers assume the usual defeat because they just don’t have that kind of energy to give, even if to themselves. They already give too much to family and work and have put themselves nowhere near their to-do list and adding to it seems so taxing that they just want to throw that book and mug across the room and scream in frustration, “God, what’s wrong with me?!”
This could be the moment that depressed persons may pause to notice who they posed that question to: God. And this might be the time He was waiting for, to be acknowledged in this person’s life. Our society is spinning with too much to do and not enough time, and God has become the one ‘thing’ no one feels comfortable discussing, ‘so not PC’ to mention. It’s difficult to stop and smell the roses for fear of getting run over by frantic parents rushing kids to practice and recitals, distracted teens texting while plugged into iPods and stressed out business people bent on predicting the end of the world because stocks prices fell again. Just cheer up?! How?! You can find hope after depression!