If you are the family member or friend of someone struggling with depression, you may have had some of these thoughts…
Why don’t they want to get better? It seems like they aren’t even trying.
Are they doing this just to get attention?
Are they an inherently a weak person and that’s why they haven’t overcome this?
Those aren’t horrible thoughts to have, but I can assure you that the answer is no. No one wants to suffer with depression, and there are some very real obstacles to treating this illness.
1 A Refusal to Accept Your Situation or Circumstance: When you find you’re in the middle of depression there is a tendency to deny it. You might think:
Well, it’s just my circumstances and things will get better.
I can’t possibly have depression because my life it’s all that bad.
Dr. Jon Benson describes depression like this: “It’s like waking up every morning and putting on a 50 pound backpack and going throughout your day with all that extra weight.” When we refuse to accept that this is the situation we find ourselves in, it’s that much more difficult to overcome the depression, because we are refusing to acknowledge it. Acceptance is not resignation; it is taking things as they are and moving forward.
2 Minimize the impact of depression. If you find yourself minimizing the impact that depression is having on your life, you are undervaluing who you are as a person. You are created in the image of God. It matters that depression is sidelining your God given purpose in this world. It matters that you are feeling hopeless when God is the author of hope.
3 Distorts the way you think about yourself and others. This is a huge obstacle to treating depression because you can start to believe that you aren’t worth the effort that it would take to get treatment. There could be a sense that you deserve it, or that you have brought this on yourself. Nothing could be further from the truth, but that hopelessness can render you ineffective in the world and cause you to be less likely to seek treatment.
All of the above obstacles are key reasons that we need to avoid isolation at all costs, and reach out for community support—even when it feels counterintuitive. Don’t believe the lie that you are the only one struggling.
I love what the apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians.
…we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead…On him we have set our hope… 2 Corinthians 1:8-10 (ESV)
There is hope for you today!
Question and Action Steps:
What obstacles have you faced in treating depression? Comment below, I’d love to hear from you.
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