Doing the rounds on Facebook - "Hard to explain to someone who has no clue. Or doesn't believe you. It's a daily struggle being in pain or feeling sick on the inside while you look fine on the outside. Please put this as your status for at least 1 hour if you or someone you know has an invisible mental illness (Anxiety, Bipolar, Depression, Schizophrenia etc ) Never judge what you don't understand."
It's Depression Awareness Week. what is depression? It's not just feeling down -
The word 'depression' is used to describe everyday feelings of low mood which can affect us all from time to time. Feeling sad or fed up is a normal reaction to experiences that are upsetting, stressful or difficult; those feelings will usually pass.
If you are affected by depression, you are not 'just' sad or upset. You have an illness which means that intense feeling of persistent sadness, helplessness and hopelessness are accompanied by physical effects such as sleeplessness, a loss of energy, or physical aches and pains.
Sometimes people may not realise how depressed they are, especially if they have been feeling the same for a long time, if they have been trying to cope with their depression by keeping themselves busy, or if their depressive symptoms are more physical than emotional.
Here is a list of the most common symptoms of depression. As a general rule, if you have experienced four or more of these symptoms, for most of the day nearly every day, for over two weeks, then you should seek help.
◦Tiredness and loss of energy
◦Loss of self-confidence and self-esteem
◦Not being able to enjoy things that are usually pleasurable or interesting
◦Undue feelings of guilt or worthlessness
◦Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness
◦Sleeping problems - difficulties in getting off to sleep or waking up much earlier than usual
◦Avoiding other people, sometimes even your close friends
◦Finding it hard to function at work/college/school
◦Loss of appetite
◦Loss of sex drive and/ or sexual problems
◦Physical aches and pains
◦Thinking about suicide and death
A Resource for Spiritual and Pastoral Care is a superb free online resource with lots of helpful stuff in it - templates for training and awareness at a local level, resources for worship, fact sheets on mental health conditions, list and descriptions of resource organisations etc. Every church should have someone who has read and engaged with this document.
And see this, on questions asked by Christians about mental health.
Update: by the way, just because one 'evangelical Christian' thinks this, doesn't mean we all do.