Author: Helen Man
A few years ago, the father of my daughter’s friend committed suicide due to severe depression. The whole family was filled with sorrow and guilt, especially his wife, a professional mental health counsellor. Her husband’s suicide was a shock to her.
Depression is becoming very common but lethal now. Victims may range from the poor and ordinary people to the wealthy and celebrities such as Leslie Cheung from Hong Kong, several movie stars from Korea, Robin Williams, the American comedian, Katherine Spade, the American fashion and handbag designer, etc.
World Health Organization (WHO) reported that the worldwide depression rate has increased by 25% since the outbreak of COVID-19. No wonder depression has become the 2nd killer disease in the world in 2013. More surprisingly, 15% of economically developed countries also suffer from depression.
In 2019, 1 billion people worldwide had depression, while 14% of them were only youths. In the U.S., 9.5% of adults and 4% of preschoolers (i.e. one million young kids) suffered from depression. Older adults were more prone to become depressed than young people: 12% in China and 20% in Taiwan (1 out of 5). Women had a higher rate of depression than men due to pregnancy, labouring, menstruation, and menopause. About twice as many women as men experience depression, but men often don’t disclose their depression publicly.
What Is Depression?
Depression differs from schizophrenia, which causes severe confusion, hallucinations, abnormal self-talk, phobias, suspicion of being attacked, and hurting oneself or others. Therefore, schizophrenia must be treated as soon as possible.
Symptoms of Depression
Symptoms of depression could be sadness, loss of interest, loss of enthusiasm, feeling hopeless, insomnia, having trouble getting up, disability to focus and making decisions, no sense of self-worth, a strong sense of guilt, loss of appetite, self-isolation, crying easily, irritability, and even suicidal thoughts in severe cases. Therefore, patients with severe depression must seek medical treatment.
Worries of Life
Who can live without worries? Today’s world is in turmoil: continuous wars, disasters, and diseases, especially COVID-19, that have ravaged the world for several years and have caused more than 6.9 million deaths by June 2023. The Russia-Ukraine war has caused global food shortages.
The United States is also full of crises: inflation (people living beyond their means), the bankruptcy of morality (gender confusion, expansion of homosexual and transsexual rights), and violence everywhere! The moral foundation of the U.S. is at risk.
Maybe you simply want to keep yourself and your family intact and care less about what’s happening worldwide. However, who can guarantee the long-term security of jobs, family, and health? Who truly holds the future?
Life is so short, and death often takes people by surprise. If that sounds terrible, what comes after death is worse: the Living God’s judgment of wrath, because “Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment,” (Hebrews 9:27)
So, who can live without worries? Life is full of turmoil and sadness, while unavoidable death might come any minute.
Medication, family, and professional counselling might help you solve some problems but cannot bring you complete joy, meaning, and hope. So, who can help? Jesus can!
- Be Our Savior
“Blessed is the people of whom this is true; blessed is the people whose God is the Lord.” (Psalms 144:15). God is the one-and-only-one God, omnipotent and omnipresent. He also loves you dearly. He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to bear our sins. He willingly gave up his life and was resurrected on the third day. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16). As we confess our sins and accept Jesus Christ as our Savior, “…He gave the right to become children of God…” (John 1:12)
So we will not lose faith as we move through life’s temporal cares because “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.” (Isaiah 40:29)
- Be Our Hiding Place
Jesus understands our weaknesses and promises: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28). We can renew our strength by keeping a close relationship with the Lord, reading His Word, and pouring our inner thoughts to Him in prayer. Then, our joy will be restored.
- Be Our Guidepost for the Future
Though our future could be gloomy and adverse, we dare to face tomorrow because we know who is in charge. God promised to take care of us.
Can Christians Experience Depression?
Why would born-again Christians have depression, then? Ever since Adam and Eve began sinning, sin had entered the world. All of us are affected as a result. Some of our heroes throughout history have experienced depression, too: American President Lincoln, British Prime Minister Churchill, Evangelist Spurgeon, and Protestant Martin Luther. However, they have been healed.
Since depression is a disease, Christians are not exempt. Yet, we can be protected when we stay connected to Christ like a branch to a grapevine. Let go of your worries by attending church consistently, reading God’s Word with meditation, and praying anytime and anywhere. Besides medication, prayer support and encouragement from the church pastor and other Christians can help us overcome depression much faster.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)