Bible Verse of the Day

Jeremiah 23:24
“Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them?? declares the LORD. ?Do not I fill heaven and earth?? declares the LORD.”

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AYP April 2016

Grace, mercy and peace be with you all. Amen.

I am sitting in my office facing a deadline. A deadline for the newsletter article. I usually can find something to write about. Often it is the liturgical season either coming, or just past. Sometimes it is about something that is going on here at the church. There are even times that I talk about what is going on with me personally.

And this month I am having a difficult time to write this letter. Part of me wants to talk about Easter, another part of me wants to talk about the Spring and the coming summer. And yet there is another part of me that wants to talk about something that is having an impact on me. They are all equally important and I also think that they are interconnected.

So here it goes.... Depression. Just that word conjures images and emotions for a variety of people. What you may not know is that globally 350 Million people suffer from depression. Here in the United States the Center for Disease Control (CDC) says that about 9% of Americans report they are depressed at least occasionally, and 3.4% suffer from major depression.

Clinical depression is more than just the "blues," being "down in the dumps," or experiencing temporary feelings of sadness we all have from time to time in our lives. It is a serious condition that affects a person's mind, body and spirit. It impacts all aspects of everyday life including eating, sleeping, working, relationships, and how a person thinks about himself/herself. People who are clinically depressed cannot simply will them-selves to feel better or just "snap out of it." If they do not receive appropriate treatment their symptoms can continue for weeks, months, or longer.

The good news is that very effective treatments are available to help those who are depressed. However, only about one-third of those who are depressed actually receive treatment. This is unfortunate since upwards of 80-90% of those who do seek treatment can feel better within just a few weeks. Many people do not seek treat-ment for depression for a variety of reasons. Some believe that depression is the result of a personal weak-ness or a character flaw. This is simply not true. Like diabetes, heart disease, or any other medical condition, clinical depression is an illness that should be treated by a mental health professional or physician. Another reason why many people do not seek help for depression is that they simply do not recognize the signs or symptoms that something may be wrong.

Depression affects approximately 19 million Americans, or 9.5% of the population in any given one-year period. At some point in their lives, 10%-25% of women and 5%-12% of men will likely become clinically depressed. In fact, it affects so many people that it is often referred to as the "common cold" of mental illness. It is estimated that depression exacts an economic cost of over $30 billion each year, but the cost of human suffering cannot be measured. Depression not only causes suffering to those who are depressed, but it also causes great difficulty for their family and friends who often do not know how to help.

Some statistics regarding depression:

  • Major depression is the leading cause of disability in the United States
  • Depression affects almost 10% of the population, or 19 million Americans, in a given year
  • During their lifetime, 10%-25% of women and 5%-12% of men will become clinically depressed
  • Women are affected by depression almost twice as often as men
  • The economic cost of depression is estimated to be over $30 billion each year
  • Two-thirds of those who are depressed never seek treatment and suffer needlessly
  • 80%-90% of those who seek treatment for depression can feel better within just a few weeks
  • Research on twins suggests that there is a genetic component to the risk of developing depression
  • Research has also shown that the stress of a loss, especially the death of a loved one, may lead to depression in some people

So now that we know what it is, just what does it look like? The characteristics of depression may include:

  • Sadness, anxiety, or "empty" feelings
  • Decreased energy, fatigue, being "slowed down"
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities that were once enjoyed, including sex
  • Insomnia, oversleeping, or waking much earlier than usual
  • Loss of weight or appetite, or overeating and weight gain
  • Feelings of hopelessness and pessimism
  • Feelings of helplessness, guilt, and worthlessness
  • Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
  • Difficulty concentrating, making decisions, or remembering
  • Restlessness, irritability or excessive crying
  • Chronic aches and pains or physical problems that do not respond to treatment

So why am I telling you this? It is not that I am depressed, but because this is a big part of what I deal with when I am in the Army, and to a smaller extent it is something that I deal with as part of being a pastor. Chaplain or Pastor, I have a variety of individuals that approach me to talk about their depression. I have even had other clergy approach me about being depressed. This is something that does not discriminate who it will affect. Young or old, rich or poor all are equally susceptible to this. There are a variety of individuals that this impacts, whether or not you or someone you know or love is diagnosed.

I just want to make sure that no matter who, or what is bothering you, there are people that are there to whom you can talk. You can talk to me or you can call a counselor; the most important thing is that you speak to someone who is a trained counselor. Personally, my door is always open, and my phone is always on should you or someone you know want to talk. My phone number is 610-207-6252.

Amen.

Peace, Pastor Paul D. Hansen

Last Updated on Monday, 02 April 2018 21:22