Tuesday, August 12, 2014
A Plea To Those Sending Messages to the Depressed!
I want to clear something up, as I have been reading dozens of articles today regarding depression (due to the loss of Robin Williams through apparent suicide)...
There are many forms of depression. Some of these are temporary (though length of time varies). Postpartum depression; the depression associated with Post traumatic stress; the sorrow associated with the loss of loved one; depression caused by an increase or prolonged exposure to stress.... often these are one time, temporary depressions.
There are also depressions which are constant or recurring. Clinical and chronic depressions are this way, as are depressions associated with other incurable mental disorders. They are often not caused by stress or specific events in one's life, but rather by chemical or wiring issues in the brain. The intensity of the depression often varies, but in some people, it is a constant thing they have to deal with.
All kinds of depression are very serious. All of them can lead to drug and alcohol dependency. All of them can lead to suicide.
None of them are caused by a lack of faith. None of them are caused by a lack of prayer. None are caused by God's punishment or plan. I do believe that some with more mild and temporary depressions may be significantly helped by prayer/faith... and even the more severe/chronic depressions can be managed sometimes with prayer/faith... but in general, none of them can be cured simply by praying harder or having more faith (at least, they won't be cured any more or less than someone with diabetes or an incurable cancer).
Please, please, PLEASE! do not tell depressed people that they just need more faith. Do not tell them they should pray harder. Do not tell them this is just part of God's plan, and that they just need more strength. Doing this can actually cause more harm, and lead to a belief of (for example) "I prayed more...I'm supposed to get better... but I'm not... therefore I'm not praying right, or God just hates me... I'm better off dead..."
Thank you, and have a blessed day!