By Glyndora Condon MS MFT NCC LPC
Over the past 10 years, with the increase of screens and other factors that confront our youth; our youth have had a major rise in suicides! At least by 50%. The second leading cause of deaths of ages 15-35 is suicide. However, children much younger are now thinking in terms of self-harm and suicide as they are bombarded with negativity. Although depression is not new-it has reached further into our lives than ever before. We simply cannot escape the negativity if we are on screens, and if we continue living in accordance with our emotions. In addition, we are desensitized to aggression, apathy, immorality, and bullying. We allow our emotions instead of wisdom and discernment to govern our actions which is hardly the gauge to govern us. We should not make a permanent decision and take a permanent action to solve a temporary problem, yet many do. Every 12 minutes there is a suicide. 65%-70% of Americans experience some time in their lives, suicidal ideation. And during a weak moment, often can believe that there is no hope.
YOUR LIFE IS WORTH LIVING! This is a message that rings true yet many falter as they are bombarded with unreasonable, distorted, and crippling thoughts of doubt, fear, futility, fatigue, and foolishness. 1 Kings 19 shares a historical rendering of the life of Elijah. This man was used and able to walk with God and work miracles commanding, while watching a flame of fire that came from the heavens which made the foolishness of pagan worship go up in flames, and then was instrumental in the raising of the dead, and also asked for the weather to not rain for a period of time and then to rain. Yet, he feared Jezebel and wanted to die. Regardless of his many triumphs, he caved as he allowed man and circumstance; threats and fear, to take root in his thoughts. He forgot the source of his strength and value.
God sent an angel to minister unto Elijah and asked him what was he doing? He then spoke to Elijah as to his practical needs: Eat and sleep. Elijah had to care for his health. With depression, we often neglect our basic needs, yet; God shares the wisdom of the need to stop and then to care for ourselves. He also warns us to take charge of our thoughts. Counselors know how to help others to take charge of their thoughts and we encourage our clients to return to a healthier lifestyle. They learn to capture the negative, challenge it, and then replace it with a more positive and healthy diet of stimuli and food.
When depressed we isolate, stop activities that bring us pleasure, either eat too much or nothing, and often attempt to self-medicate with more negative with more screen, substances, or other harmful contributors that drive depression deeper. We become irritable, and find it more difficult to concentrate. Duke University states that when people are depressed, then if they went to church during their depression, this lowered the level of depression and it’s symptoms by half. That is interesting.
We need to start talking instead of shutting down. Our friends and family want us to talk when they see us hurting. Prayer is definitely a source for those depressed. We also can speak with professionals when talking and trying to make better choices are not providing the healing that we need. Also, we need to eat a healthy and steady diet of meat, vegetables, and fruit-without sugar, caffeine, gluten, additives, or alcohol, making sure that our energy is fueled and that our chemicals to our brain are balanced. We need to identify thought distortions and gain insight as to how our brains are lying to us. We need to recognize that victory follows us after the darkest season and know that we can take whatever that is confronting us, and make it good for us. We need to stop ingesting garbage and fill our hearts and thoughts with goodness.
Depression can steal from our joy. We are all susceptible to this temporary issue on occasion but when it hits let us seek what is within that is driving that emotion. Is it our diets of screens, foods, lifestyle, fear, or thoughts that are fueling the depression?