Feelings of frustration, loneliness and hopelessness are not uncommon all throughout the world. These feelings, commonly diagnosed as depression, can in extreme cases lead to suicidal thoughts. If that wasn’t bad enough, some websites actually “guide” readers through a suicide attempt. In the United States alone, there are over 32,000 deaths by suicide each year, the 4th leading cause of death for adults. Internationally, there are about 1 million suicide deaths each year. These numbers are steadily increasing. Generally, more women than men attempt suicide, but (rather ironically) more men die from suicide.
Why are these numbers so high? What does all this mean? The numbers are not just numbers—they represent valuable lives.
At the lowest point of depression the individual suffers from a distorted view of the self, the world, and life in general. It’s as if they are constantly looking through a dark pair of glasses. Indeed, medical science has shown that the environment, such as the amount of sunlight, diet, exercise, and stress, influences these feelings immensely. Stress can form due to abuse, job loss, broken relationships, and bereavement. However, there are still mysterious causes to depression unknown to medical science. People have reported a sudden urge to end their life, while others claim to have heard voices prompting them even on the specific method of suicide. There are reports of people that swear they felt someone push them to jump. The medical field generalizes these mysterious causes as psychological disorders. However, to diagnose it simply as a mental problem prevents more holistic ways help can be provided for people suffering from depression and in danger of taking their own life.
The Spiritual Aspect of Depression
Religion explains these mysterious causes as the spiritual influence of unseen forces, typically called demons. It is an explanation most quickly rule out, simply because they don’t believe in God. It’s a dangerous assumption because regardless whether you believe in spirituality, its effects are still very real. One might ignore gravity, but one cannot ignore its effect. For the sake of those, spiritual or non-spiritual, suffering through depression, let’s leave the debate of God’s existence to another day, and see what we can learn from spirituality.
The key to surviving depression is you. Yes, you!
The first step is to take responsibility and determine to survive.
Here is a list of further steps you can take to survive depression.
o Count your blessings: Right now, it may not seem like you don’t have much to be thankful for but in actuality, there are so many things we might not have noticed. So go ahead and even the tiniest thing you can find, really, and I mean, really be thankful about it. And I’m sure more will come to mind in due time.
o Exercise: Not only is exercising good for the health but it also circulates blood and delivers oxygen to the brain. This will affect your mood tremendously. Yes, the problems will still be there but how you view the problems will differ. So why not give it a try?
o Watch a movie: Whether it be a funny movie that can help you forget your problems for awhile or a sad movie that will help put your life in perspective, it could prove to be the right thing for you.
o Talk to a friend: Even if your problems or depression is something you want to keep to yourself, just talking to a friend can help you take a load off your chest. And if you can muster up some courage to pour your heart out, all the better!
o Focus on your responsibilities: When we are depressed, we don’t want to do anything and our focus is on how pathetic and hopeless our life is. Try to revert your focus back to your responsibilities…approach life one duty at a time. Not only will this take your mind off yourself, but also it will help you to realize that things are not so bad after all.
o Take a break: Take a short nap, go on a vacation, just take some type of break away from your routine. This will help you think more clearly and start to enjoy life all over again.
o Get out: Just get out of the house. Movies, a nice restaurant, out for a walk, to the park, the gym, a friend’s house, or even a library, wherever you want to go, just get out and have fun. Just don’t put yourself in a situation where you worsen depression. (ex. sad music, dimly lit room, turning down all invites, etc.) Go ahead and indulge yourself with some fun time!
o Make lists: Make a list of the people you love. Make a list of things you achieved. Make a list of things you can improve. Make a list of things you are thankful for. Make a list of things you want to accomplish in life.
o Cry: Yes, just give it a good cry. Depression can also be an accumulation of stress and pressure you may have received from people around you, circumstances, or even your skewed view of yourself.
o Pray: Who else can you talk to but God who knows everything? Just let it all out and you’ll find that you are not alone and that there’s someone who understands not only what you are going through but what you are feeling inside.
Why? Because we care!
Prayer of Someone Hanging by Her Last Thread
I don’t see the point of living anymore. This is the last straw. Just yesterday, I found out that my friends went to the movies without me, planned! And when I came home from school, I just wanted to see my mom and seek her warmth. I longed for her encouragement and even a little comforting. But to my disappointment, she yelled at me for not washing the dishes and made a comment that I was hopeless and that I wouldn’t amount to anything with these bad habits. Maybe she’s right. I can’t even have friends who like me. And even at home, where we all should be accepted and loved, I can’t do anything right. I’m not even wanted in my own home.
God, I really don’t want to live anymore. Another day like this and I feel like it is worse than hell. I learned in Sunday School that committing suicide is one of the worst sins but can receiving punishment be worse than what I’m going through right now? In fact, I think killing myself would benefit everyone else. No one would miss me. And I can’t help but wonder if death is just eternal sleep with no dreams. How beautiful it would be to not feel anything at all. I’m sure it would be better than feeling this misery.
As I’m praying, I can feel that you would be sad if I killed myself. Would you, really? Yeah, I guess you would. I would be sad if my dog, Teddy, died before his time. But God, why am I so pitiful? Why are all these bad things happening to me? You said that if we seek you first, all things will be given to us. When? How?
Okay, okay, I do remember some…no, a lot of the things you gave me. You helped during that one near car accident. My mother did cry by my side when I was sick at the hospital. My friends did throw that one surprise birthday party. And I can’t be all bad. I guess I can just try to be better. What’s just one more day of misery? Who knows? Maybe things will take a brighter turn. Oh, but it is so painful to hope and be disappointed again. Can I be strong enough to handle another disappointment? God, can you really help me?
And how will you help me? Through a friend, my parents, through a wind in the breeze, or a dream? I don’t know what to expect. I just want to give up but praying like this makes me feel I’ll only regret later if I give up. And I surely don’t want people I love to be sad. God, I’ll hold on one more day but please let me feel hope and please make things better. If it’s something I must do, please give me wisdom to know how to make things better. God, I’ll hope in you. Please take care of me.
And God, thank you for loving me and listening to my prayers.
In the name of Jesus Christ,