Confronting the "D" Word
We've all heard the suggestions: "Just try to think more positively," "Be grateful for all that you have," "It could be a lot worse." None of these platitudes are helpful if you're faced with depression.
Globally, depression affects more than 350 million people of all ages. Women, more than men, are affected by depression. It's the leading cause of disability worldwide, and at its worst, it can lead to suicide.
Rick and Kay Warren, co-founders of Saddleback Church in California, faced their greatest fear last year when their son, Matthew, ended his life after a nearly lifelong battle with depression. In an interview with Amy Simpson, author of Troubled Minds, Kay talks transparently about her family's tragedy and how Christians can approach depression, whether they're dealing with it themselves or have a loved one suffering from it.
Depression takes many forms, and perfectly healthy people can be blindsided by its sudden appearance in their life. Margaret Hogan writes about the dark period of postpartum depression following her first daughter's birth. In "Not What I Was Expecting," she writes, "Postpartum depression is one of the cruelest battles your body can undergo. It takes what you were expecting and flips it upside down. It steals joy, leaving behind anxiety, contempt, anger, and dread—at least that's what it did to me."
Read her story and learn what nearly one in seven new moms experience, too often silently, achingly on their own.
When someone we know is depressed, it's hard to know what to say. And yet as I mentioned earlier, it's not helpful to dismiss, diminish, or deny a person's experience with depression. Margot Starbuck offers great insight into what not to say to someone who's depressed, and some simple, loving actions you can try instead. Gillian Marchenko gives us a simple but effective way to take captive anxiety-inducing thoughts. It's not a cure for depression, but it is a tool for those trying to move forward even in the midst of depression.
Depression is a serious condition, and yet too often, we fail to give it the attention it deserves. There is no shame in suffering from it. And there is great hope for strength and healing for those who struggle with depression. As Kay Warren reminds us, even though her son, Matthew, took his life, there is always hope. "I don't know what tomorrow will bring. But I hope. There is hope for this life, but there's also hope for the next. I think the most profound offering we give to others is hope."
May you find hope in the stories shared here.
Marian V. Liautaud