Articles

Depression - it's no walk in the park...

13 August 2014 4 minute read

...but a walk in the park might help.

There's been much talk about depression for the last couple of days, enough to make any of us depressed even if we've been fortunate enough to have never been there before. About how it's like being in the grip of the worst darkness you've ever experienced, trapped in the worst place, with no chinks of light and no possibility of escape. These words from the Bible, from Psalm 18 (The Message version), seem to sum it up well;

The hangman's noose was tight at my throat; devil waters rushed over me. Hell's ropes cinched me tight; death traps barred every exit. A hostile world!

The thing about depression is that when you're in it, the way you used to feel and the responses you used to make don't come easily anymore. It isn't always dramatic either; you can be so slowed up that drama, which involves fast movement and quick thinking, is the last thing on your mind. There's distortion too, making thought processes illogical, making you feel that the world would be brighter without you in it, like somehow you are the custodian of the light switch for the world and as it's stuck at the bottom of the dimmer switch with you in control, it's time you handed over the reigns to someone with a more sunny disposition. Maybe permanently. The darkness emanates from you and only you can dispel it. Hell's ropes indeed. Depression is a dreadful thing, which isn't our fault, and can come when we least expect it.

As we read on through the psalm, though, something starts to shift;

I call to God, I cry to God to help me. From his palace he hears my call; my cry brings me right into his presence a private audience!

A desperate call to God, who is all ears. As a Christian, I know that God is waiting for me to seek him at dark and difficult times. He reminds us that the darkness doesn't come from us, that we're not in charge of it. That in life the trials come in many forms, and depression is one of them. I recommend crying out to God. I also recommend the following if you're depressed right now, or have been before and live in dread of it happening again:

Organisations who can help

The National Christian Helpline

Phone: 0300 111 0101 The service is open from 9am to Midnight 7 days a week and is local rate from both landlines and mobiles and included in most contract packages.

Rethink Mental Illness

Support and advice for people living with mental illness. Phone: 0300 5000 927 (Mon-Fri, 10am-2pm)

Depression Alliance

Charity for sufferers of depression. Has a network of self-help groups.

CALM

CALM is the Campaign Against Living Miserably, for men aged 15-35.

Bipolar UK

A charity helping people living with manic depression or bipolar disorder.

Samaritans

Confidential support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair. Phone: 08457 90 90 90 (24-hour helpline)

Sane

Charity offering support and carrying out research into mental illness. Phone: 0845 767 8000 (daily, 6pm-11pm)

Mind

Promotes the views and needs of people with mental health problems. Phone: 0300 123 3393 (Mon-Fri, 9am-6pm)

The Mental Health Foundation

Provides information and support for anyone with mental health problems or learning disabilities.

YoungMinds

Information on child and adolescent mental health. Services for parents and professionals. Phone: Parents' helpline 0808 802 5544 (Mon-Fri, 9.30am-4pm)

PAPYRUS

Young suicide prevention society. Phone: 0800 068 4141 (Mon-Fri,10am-5pm & 7pm-10pm. Weekends 2pm-5pm)