Saturday, November 7, 2015

What Is It Like To Experience Depression?

Answer me quickly, Lord;
my spirit fails.
Do not hide your face from me
or I will be like those who go down to the pit.
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
for to you I entrust my life.
— Psalm 143:7-8 (NIVUK)
WHAT can be said about the brute, Depression?
The selection above from Psalm 143 describes the situation of an ancient person experiencing great loneliness hinting at depression. The language is desperate, as is depression with anxiety — the double whammy. It’s presumed their relationship with God has been close, but somehow things have changed. Being depressed is reminiscent of being divinely and existentially alone. Hope is vanquished as desperation for an answer is sought “by morning.” Great faith, however, is also on show; to make a fresh pledge of trust.
Let’s consider the following poem as representative of the themes present in depression.
Depression comes on strong,
On the earliest of days,
That horrendous waking moment,
When the mind wakes up in a haze.
Those shallow waking moments,
When sorrowful notes we sing,
When fear takes its hold,
And anxiousness does its thing.
Laying there stony cold,
Feeling’s got no defense,
Thinking thoughts of nothing,
When nothing makes any sense.
We think, “Enough!”
Time to challenge energy’s lack,
Thought of forging another path,
Time to make our journey back!
Hope goes beyond despair,
Forward into the day,
Time, oh time to dare,
Still time to make a way.
Not all days we’re called to this,
Some days we must just rest,
Some days are hard enough,
Those days are not our best.
But if we can forge a path forward,
If we can push past this current test,
That day is a day to step forward into,
Being hopeful is to be heavenly blessed.
Everyone is affected by depression — their own or someone close to them.
Experiencing depression is a variegated phenomenon. One person’s depression is not the same as the next person’s, but there are general indicators to watch for.
Below are seven broad areas that feature common experiences of depression.
EMOTIONS: Feeling Sad, Feeling Guilty, Feeling Empty, Feeling Angry, Feeling Discontented, Lacking Feelings of Pleasure, Psychosomatic Issues, Extremes of Mood.
SELF-ESTEEM: Feel Low Self-Worth, Feelings of Worthlessness, Feeling Unlovable/Unattractive, Feeling Clumsy, Feel Like: a Bad Influence; a Burden on Others; a Failure, Perfectionism, Self-Blame, Lack of Control, Over Sensitivity, Glass Half Empty, Notice Negative Comments About Self More Than Positive, See the World as a “Mean” Place, Worried Others Will Pity Me, I’m Difficult to Love, Self-Consciousness, Act Regarding How Others Will Think of Me.
ENERGY: Lacking Energy, Feeling Tired, Low Motivation, Physically Weak, Waning Motivation, Lacking Ability to Care for Dependent Others, Drop in Libido, Trouble Sleeping.
MORTALITY: Thinking About Death, Suicidality, Not Wanting to Live Anymore.
PURPOSE and GOALS: Lacking Hope, Experiencing Frustration When Goals Are Unmet, Lacking Resilience (Struggle in Getting Over Failures), Inability to Make Change in Life, Denial of Problems, Stuck in a Rut.
COGNITION: Lacking Decisiveness, Analytical Thinking (Cannot Let Go of Problems), Insomnia, Self-Critical, Make Relationship Assumptions, Lacking Clarity of Thought, Lacking Concentration, Inflexible Decision-Making, Imbalanced Perceptions of Justice.
FEAR: Fear of Relationships Ending After Conflict, Fear of Judgment, Fear of Reprisal, Fear of Failure, Fear of Abandonment/Rejection, Worried About Health.
Depression doesn’t discriminate. Sooner or later it will find each one of us; ourselves or someone we love. Make room for compassion, kindness, gentleness, patience and tolerance.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.

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