A year ago yesterday, I lost one of my dearest friends. I've written and spoken publicly a lot about mental illness, suicide, and the need for us to become more open and understanding of those who struggle with mental illness and, in particular, severe depression. Here are several links to some of what I've said in my effort to mainstream an all too common silent struggle that isolates the sufferers and their families, and open the doors for us to live more compassionately in ways that foster healing and hope.
One out of every 10 Americans will experience clinical depression during their lifetime. Dark emotion will become chronic and debilitating, affecting their ability to function, interact with others, and derive pleasure from life. One out of every four women will be clinically depressed at some point in her life. Because of our increasingly complex and interrelated world, clinical depression has become a modern epidemic.
Says Parker Palmer: “People walk around saying, ‘I don’t understand why so-and-so committed suicide.’ Well, I understand perfectly why people take their lives. They need the rest. Depression is absolutely exhausting. It’s why, day by day for months at a time, I wanted to take my life. What I don’t understand is why some people come through on the other side and reclaim life with new vividness and with new intensity. That is the real mystery to me.”
Here is the original post just days after Jamie Evan's death. It contains links to audio sermons.
And here is a link to a written manuscript of the sermon and a post entitled, God and Suicide: A Personal Encounter.
In addition here's one more link to an audio sermon from summer 2010, "When Depression Seizes You."
Depression is real, common, and treatable.
Contrary to the way it makes us fee, and what we may have been taught, it doesn’t disqualify any of us.
Please join me in standing alongside those who suffer in silence and loneliness. Pass these on to friends and family members.