In recent months, a series of public figures have taken their own lives, casting a somber shadow over what should have been celebratory times. I don’t know what these individuals were facing in those moments, but I believe it must have been unbearable pain, something they couldn’t endure. So, I really want to tell everyone that depression isn’t something to fear in this sharing passage. Some have described it as a mental cold, which I find it fitting. Of course, just like a cold, if depression isn’t dealt with properly, it can lead to serious consequences or even damage to your body. But when people have a cold, they usually don’t panic too much; they know to rest well, drink lots of water, and most colds can be cured. However, with depression, we often find it difficult to talk about to other people. According to the World Health Organization, there are over 100 million depression sufferers globally, yet less than 25% seek effective treatment. Why is that? Perhaps many people are still not aware that they are experiencing a mental cold, or maybe there are some misconceptions. I’ve heard Christians say that depression is because of a lack of gratitude. In fact, there are many reasons for depression, just like with a cold. So each of us has the chance to experience depression at some low point in life. WHO predicts that depression will become the second leading global disease.
At some point in life, we all may experience depression. It can range from making us uninterested in things we used to enjoy, having negative thoughts, persistently feeling down, to affecting our normal social lives, or even leading to suicidal thoughts or crises. In fact, depression is treatable. If patients receive appropriate treatment early on, the vast majority can recover and return to normal life.
If you find yourself feeling unhappy for several months, affecting your daily life, don’t be afraid. Let your family or trusted friends know about your emotional state, seek support proactively, and examine whether you’ve taken on too much responsibility or have been pushing yourself too hard. Find ways to relax, perhaps engage in beneficial physical and mental activities, as moderate exercise is beneficial for both body and mind. If necessary, seek help from professionals, just as we would visit a doctor for a cold or physical discomfort; it’s a normal thing.
Brothers and sisters, if you’re someone that others confide in, please appreciate yourself first. You are someone worthy of trust. Please empathize with others more, encourage them to express their feelings and difficulties, and provide appropriate support. Of course, if the situation doesn’t improve, encourage them to seek help from professionals. Paul said, “Rejoice always.” This doesn’t mean that if we’re not joyful, we’re not good Christians. I believe rejoicing always is our goal. If we find ourselves not joyful, with God’s help, we can understand where the problem lies. Is it a problem with our resilience? Or are we carrying too heavy a burden? I hope all brothers and sisters can move towards joy with God’s help. As the saying goes, “Spring is the time for new beginnings.” Perhaps it’s time for us to tidy up our minds, letting go of unhelpful rules or beliefs.
Rev. Li Ping