Behind the Smile: Devastating Depression

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I am not one who keeps up with the  Hollywood peeps. However if I were to name one of my all-time favorite actors it would have to be Robin Williams. He made me laugh, he made me cry, and he made me laugh so hard – I cried.

And off the screen he seemed so genuine, always caring and reaching out to others, like when he went to boost morale for our troops when they were far from home. Robin Williams was always trying to make a downcast face uplifted with a smile. He seemed to have an intuitive compassion for fellow human beings.

And now with his death and the great awareness of the funny man’s deep dark sad side we realize that behind the silliness and smiles was a feeling of hopelessness.

where then is my hope– who can see any hope for me? Job 17:15 NIV

Perhaps those of us positively impacted by this man’s life can make a determination to continue his legacy of lifting up the downcast. Perhaps we can learn to look past the smile and look into the eyes of the soul for a gauge of what is really lurking behind the mask of laughter.  And then, we can choose to make a difference in the life of a depressed/anxious/bipolar person.  No, not to be responsible for them, but choose to do at least one thing to make a difference in their life: to be a positive memory, an encouragement or a prod, if necessary. Alert someone in their family, find a counselor or resource at a local church or governmental agency that may offer counseling. Do a little research on behalf of this precious person who may be drowning in a sea of sadness unable to come up for air, let alone have the where-with-all to seek help.

For those of you who have walked this road without a happy ending, my heart and prayers are with you. We cannot change someone else, nor are we responsible for what they do with our loving intentions, but we can do our part to be a part of the solution rather than another mask to hide behind.

Please, let us not ignore the mask. I will do my part and ask you to do yours to reach into the walls of a depressed person’s heart to help break the oppression and lift the burden together.

Depression is not simple.  It is very complicated.  I am not implying that you and I will have a cure for our friend, but we can make an effort to help. Dr. Daniel Amen of Amen Clinics treats depression by first analyzing the physical brain through SPECT scans.  He writes:

Our imaging work has taught us that depression is not a single or simple disorder, but rather like a chest pain with many different causes, each requiring their own treatments. Our scans have taught us that some depressions are manifested by over-activity in the brain, while others show underactivity. Some depressions are caused by physical or emotional trauma, while others can be caused by Lyme disease or brain infections. Still other depressions can be caused by the long term effects of drugs or other toxic substances, such as the chronic exposure to paint fumes. Without looking at the brain, psychiatrists are flying blind, and therefore hurting people by not giving them the most effective treatment as quickly as possible.

If you are battling depression, you are NOT alone.  So many millions of others have had similar thoughts of hopelessness and despair.  King David famously suffered from depression.  It would appear that one way that he battled against this evil is to Praise God.  It will do your heart good to read his testimonies to the goodness and greatness of God in the book of Psalms.  What follows is a tiny sampling of the many pages of poetic words to encourage your heart with hope:

 “I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart, I will tell of all your wonders. I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High…The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.” Psalm 9:1-2, 9 NIV

Please the one thing I do know for sure is that the longing and almost sure need you feel to be alone: is totally the opposite of what is healthy for you! It is the depression wanting to have a stronghold on you, to choke you, alone in the dark where you have no hope of encouragement.  Please make a phone call to a trusted friend or get outside for a walk or go to a public place until you can meet with someone willing to help.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13 NIV

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. kellyp
    Aug 15, 2014 @ 15:19:00

    Love!!! Thank YOU. Xoxoxox

    Reply

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