Monday, February 5, 2018

Living in a World of Depression

Antidepressant prescribing has risen nearly 400% since 1988, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). More than 1 in 10 Americans over age 12 now take an antidepressant and yet two-thirds of those with severe symptoms of depression do not take antidepressants at all.

Depression is most prevalent in people ages 45-64 and highest among Hispanic and African-American ethnicity. Overall, women have higher rates of depression than men and are twice as likely to have symptoms of depression as men of the same age. 1 in 10 women experience depression in the first few weeks of having a baby.

An estimated 121 million people around the world currently suffer from some form of depression. The US makes up over 30% of the total results.

We are living in a world of unhappiness, which is not a contemporary human condition—in fact, it is a mind disorder as ancient as man.

In ancient times, according to the Bible, King David of Israel was often mentally troubled, and he forever battled against his deep despair. In many of the Psalms, he expresses his anguish, loneliness, fear of the enemy; his heart often cries over sin, and the guilt because of it. Another Biblical example is Elijah, the great prophet, who was often discouraged, weary, and afraid. Even after his great spiritual victories over the prophets of Baal, this mighty man of God feared and ran for his life into the desert, where he prayed. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” (1 Kings 19:4)

In modern age, Sir Winston Churchill, the Prime Minister of Great Britain, underwent serious bouts of depression during his country's national crisis in World War II. The fact of the matter is that depression is no respecter of persons—even for those with very high I.Q., such as the Nobel Prize winning author Ernest Hemingway, who committed suicide, just as his father did, with the comment “I’ll probably go the same way.”

Indeed, many of us are vulnerable to this genetic mental disorder of unhappiness. To many, the word “depression” may be synonymous with the word “unhappiness”; but the reality is that happiness is not the absence of depression. So, even if you are not depressed at all, you may still be unhappy.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

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