Pray, seek help if you’re depressed

By Stacey Rodriguez
Imagine feeling sad for days, weeks, months, or even years. Imagine no longer finding joy in things that used to bring you happiness. You avoid people not because you dislike them, but because you lack the energy and motivation to have a conversation with them. Just getting out of bed in the morning can be a monumental task. You either sleep excessively or very little. As this wears on, you begin to lose faith and hope. You might have thoughts of hurting yourself. You are depressed.
Depression has varying degrees. You may feel “down” following the death of a loved one, for example, but most people eventually return to feeling content and happy with their lives. Some people, however, may feel “down” for years. Others may have periods of time when they feel fairly happy, but also experience times when they are incapacitated by the physical and emotional strain of depression. For people who suffer from depression and the people who love them, it can be a daily struggle to maintain faith and hope. They ask “Why do I have to suffer like this?” and “What is the point of this?” Some sufferers may even feel anger towards God. Some may even question the point of living.
It is impossible for us to know why some people suffer when others do not. We do know the Bible is filled with messages of hope and faith, such as Jeremiah 29:11-14 For I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD, plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me; when you seek me with all your heart, I will be found by you, says the LORD. The story of Job tells of a man enduring incredible strife and strain, but remaining faithful to God. There are numerous accounts of the excruciating pain and torture of men, women and children who were granted Sainthood for keeping hope and faith in God.
If you or someone you know is suffering from depression, know that you will be losing the battle if you give up hope and faith. If you are trying to manage it on your own, turn to someone for help. If you know someone who is struggling with depression, lend your support through encouragement and unconditional love. Oftentimes, people who are depressed find relief just in the simple act of speaking to someone who listens without passing judgment.
Remember that help is available to you if you seek it. Above all else, keep your faith or, if you have lost it, search for someone who may help you find it. Depression may be successfully treated through a variety of ways, such as increasing healthy behaviors, therapy and medication. Whatever you or your loved one choose, remind yourself that every journey begins with a single step. It does not matter how long it takes or how many roadblocks you encounter. You will complete it as long as you stay hopeful and faithful.
Rodriguez, is a licensed specialist clinical social worker for Community Counseling Services at Catholic Charities, an agency of the Diocese of Wichita.

Are you depressed?
If your loved one is having thoughts of self-harm or has tried to hurt him or herself, get help immediately.
Community Counseling Services, a program of Catholic Charities, can help when you or your family needs assistance. Evening and Saturday appointments are available. Call (316) 263-6941 to learn more.