Is depression “normal?” That’s a tough question to answer.
If you define “normal” as “typical or expected,” than I suppose it’s not, for the majority of the population.
This being said, check out these stats:
“The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that in the United States, 16 million adults had at least one major depressive episode in 2012. That’s 6.9 percent of the population. According to the World Health Organization, 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression. It is a leading cause of disability. (www.healthline.com)”
That’s right, an estimated 350 million people suffer from depression.
Thus, for many of us, depression is normal.
Lest you think you’re a freak or have type of sickness, the following is a short list of the celebrities who have experienced depression, from www.health.com.
Ashley Judd “considered suicide as a sixth-grader, and in 2006 underwent 42 days in a rehab clinic for depression.”
Owen Wilson “attempted suicide at his California home.” He was 38 years old at the time.
Catherine Zeta-Jones “revealed that she has bipolar II disorder, which causes severe depression.”
Princess Diana experienced “postpartum depression as well as an eating disorder.”
At 19, when Winona Ryder’s relationship with Johnny Depp ended, she “began abusing alcohol, experiencing anxiety attacks, and spiraling into depression.”
The most famous celebrity to have dealt with depression the last few years would be actor and comedian Robin Williams, who, on August 11, 2014, took his own life.
I also read about a “biblical hero,” Elijah, who seemed to suffer from it. In 1st Kings 18 he had mocked the prophets of Baal when their god failed to rain fire down from heaven and consume a sacrifice they had offered him.
He boldly stated, “You’ll have to shout louder than that to catch the attention of your god! Perhaps he is talking to someone, or is out sitting on the toilet, or maybe he is away on a trip, or is asleep and needs to be wakened! (verse 27)”
That dude was pretty hardcore, considering he was alone against 450 of them.
Once they had prayed all day to Baal, to no avail, Elijah had a trench built around his sacrifice to God. He then asked the people to fill four barrels of water and pour them on the young bull, until the water not only ran off the sacrifice but filled the trenches surrounding it.
Then he prayed, and “suddenly, fire flashed down from heaven and burned up the young bull, the wood, the stones, the dust, and even evaporated all the water in the ditch! (verse 30)”
You’d think after such a mighty victory, the man would be self-confident and happy, maybe even a little cocky. However, we find in the next chapter (19), “He journeyed into the desert for one day and then decided to rest beneath the limbs of a juniper tree. There he prayed that his life would be over quickly and that he would die there beneath the tree. He said, ‘I’m finished, Lord. Please end my life here and now…I have failed.’
FAILED? How could he say that after such an amazing victory?
But that’s the highs and lows of life, my friend. I’m sure some of you can relate. One day it feels like you’re flying so high you can reach out and touch Heaven, and the next you want to die.
Instead of saying, “Snap out of it, son!” God asked, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
Elijah replied, “I have zealously served the Lord God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed every one of your prophets. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.”
“I’ve done everything right, but I’ve still failed and am all alone. So just kill me, God.”
Yup, been there as well.
God then laid out a plan of action, and added, “…incidentally, there are 7,000 men in Israel who have never bowed to Baal. (1 Kings 19:18)”
He wasn’t alone at all. At least 7,000 others were with him, but all he could see was himself.
Yeah, I can also relate to that.
In case you’re waiting for me to say, “Here are my seven tips to fighting depression!” I’m afraid I feel unqualified. I’m no psychologist, psychiatrist or counselor.
What I am trying to convey to you is this: you’re not alone in your feelings of despair.
You’re not alone in your anxiety.
You’re not alone in your depression.
You’re not alone in your feelings of hopelessness.
I have found my source of strength in Christ. The more I pray, the more I listen to uplifting music, the more I hang out with my family, the more I seek help from pastors and friends when I’m feeling down, the more I watch comedies when I’m really in the mood for a horror flick, the more I take walks when all I really want to do is crawl into a cave and die,the better I feel.
Well, look’ee there, I gave you my seven tips to fighting depression after all.
Funny how that worked out.
If you’re battling the darkness, go deeper, deeper into your faith, seek uplifting and counsel from those closest to you, and don’t be afraid to tell somebody.
Many blessings. Prayin’ for ya, as always!