Maybe it’s menopause, but I’ve been waking up a lot in the middle of the night. Whenever I wake in the night, I pray. And lately a lot of you have been getting prayed for!
Last night, I prayed for my friends who suffer from depression.
Depression may be one of the worst things I’ve experienced. When you suffer from depression, you understand you should want to live, but you can’t remember what the reasons for wanting to live are.
A dozen years ago I was there. I told a friend how bad I hurt inside and she insisted I call my doctor. The receptionist at my doctor’s office said, “Can you come in on Monday?” I said, “I don’t think I can stay around ’til Monday.” She responded, “Let’s get you right in!”
Within a few weeks, with the help of medication and counseling, I was feeling back to normal. Maybe not perfect, but I was on my way. Nowadays I am filled with joy and zest for life, and I barely remember how bad I felt.
As a counselor I thank God I’ve experienced depression. It gives me great empathy for folks who suffer with depression and anxiety. Without knowing how awful it is, I don’t think I’d feel the compassion and urgency to help others with this mental illness.
And depression is a serious medical illness; it is not something that you have made up in your head.
In 2014, an estimated 15.7 million adults aged 18 or older in the United States had at least one major depressive episode in the past year. This number represented 6.7% of all U.S. adults. For women, the number is higher. It’s more like 8%.
Based mainly on the 4th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), in the NSDUH study a major depressive episode is defined as:
A period of two weeks or longer during which there is either depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure, and at least four other symptoms that reflect a change in functioning, such as problems with sleep, eating, energy, concentration, and self-image.
The good news is depression is very treatable:
Lucille Zimmerman is a Licensed Professional Counselor with a private practice in Littleton, CO and an affiliate faculty teacher at Colorado Christian University.
She is also the author of Renewed: Finding Your Inner Happy in an Overwhelmed World. Through practical ideas and relatable anecdotes, readers can better understand their strengths and their passions—and address some of the underlying struggles or hurts that make them want to keep busy or minister to others to the detriment of themselves. Renewed can help nurture those areas of women’s lives to use them better for work, family, and service. It gives readers permission to examine where they spend their energy and time, and learn to set limits and listen to “that inner voice."