Life is not a journey free of sadness, ups and downs, disappointments or setbacks. Feeling low from time to time happens; it’s a normal part of life. However, when ‘the blues’ have turned to feelings of emptiness or despair that simply will not go away, it could be that depression has set in.
Depression goes deeper than sadness. Some people describe it as feeling lifeless, apathetic, worthless and hopeless. Like living in a black hole.
‘Experts believe that depression is caused by a combination of biological, psychological, and social factors. In other words, your lifestyle choices, relationships, and coping skills matter just as much—if not more so—than genetics.’ 1 These factors could include loneliness, recent stressful life events, financial strain, unemployment, lack of social support, a history of depression in the family, substance abuse, health concerns or childhood trauma’s.
While depression is more prevalent in women than in men, (due to hormonal factors), teenagers, the elderly, and even children can experience times of depression. And just to set the record straight, being a Christian, doesn’t mean you will never face this intense and unrelenting obstacle! (Although your faith will be a tremendous asset to your recovery.)
How do you know if you’re depressed? The following symptoms are often present when struggling with depression.
- inability to sleep or sleeping too much
- feelings of hopelessness, low-self worth or inadequacy
- guilt and shame
- change in eating habits
- inability to cope
- lack of motivation
- withdrawal from friends and family
- irritability, frustration, aggression
- thoughts of suicide
Although developing a plan for coping and recovering from depression is unique to every individual, in most cases, best practices include lifestyle changes, support from friends, family and often professionals as well as building new emotional skills. To start the pursuit of happiness, be honest with yourself. By asking yourself , ‘How am I really doing?’ the door to getting help and making the changes necessary for recovery opens.
For further help on this topic, I am presenting at North Park Community Church www.northpark.ca , Wed., November 23rd, 9:15am. This event is free. Please register by Nov 20th (by Nov 13th if you require childcare) to firstname.lastname@example.org