Depression doesn’t just happen; it is an accumulation of stifled expressions. Depression is simply an expression struggling and crying to be heard and has been called the world’s number one public health problem. The alarming rate of suicide, suicidal attempts, and suicidal tendencies is disturbing. The horrific suicide video of a 12-year old girl has been going viral for some few weeks now. streaming herself live on Facebook on December 30, saying that she had been sexually abused by a family member. Sometimes, I keep pondering what it feels like to reach a point in life when death seems more inviting than life itself!
In my counseling sessions at helping people overcome depression, I have been able to glean timeless and priceless truth that will help us with a deeper understanding of some ‘causes and effects’ that border on depression. There are several things that we do, most times unknowingly, to hinder expression and this singular act has led many into unrecoverable bouts of depression.
GIFTS, TALENTS, AND POTENTIALS: Leo Buscaglia said, “Your talent is God’s gift to you. What you do with it is your gift back to God.” Many times, recurring depression is as a result of latent gifts and potentials that are seriously crying for expression. In my counseling sessions with youths, I normally tell them not to allow their education to hinder the expression of their gifts and talents. In fact, the authentic purpose of education is to give us a platform to express our gifts, potentials and talents.
BEING YOURSELF: Oscar Wilde said, “Be yourself, everyone is already taken.” The greatest form of expression is in ‘being yourself.’ To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment. The hardest battle you will ever have to fight is the battle to be yourself. Wanting to be someone else is a waste of who you are! We must spend more time with people and in places that give us the privilege of being ourselves. He who trims himself to suit everyone will soon whittle away.
OVERPARENTING: Designing the future of a child is beyond parental ‘jurisdiction.’ Parents should avoid the temptation of forcing their children to fit into their own design but rather provide them with a platform to stand out with their uniqueness. It is the greatest gift that parents can ever give to their children. In my time of mentoring the youths, I have discovered that when expression is hindered, the result is absolute depression and rebellion. Parents should respect their ward’s opinion when it comes to academic choice, career choice, marital choice etc. We should guide them toward making informed decisions and not manipulate them!
GIVING AND RECEIVING: I have observed that one aspect of expression that man has neglected with great impunity is that of ‘giving’ and ‘receiving.’ We must strike a healthy balance between how we give and receive. There is no man that lives by breathing-out or breathing-in only. We must breathe-out and breathe-in consecutively and continuously in order to stay alive. This is also true about giving and receiving. Always giving out and not taking time to receive can lead to depression. Likewise, if you are always receiving and don’t look for avenues to give out, you will end up being miserable. The major reason why depression is always prevalent among the rich is simply because some of them are too greedy to give out while some feel too superior to receive from others! We must look out for avenues to give and receive.
ADDICTION: One of the major reasons why people relapse back into addiction is simply because they are unable to find positive expression for their energy. When people are trying to overcome addiction, there is a peculiar energy which I will like to call ‘Addictive Energy,’ this energy won’t die until we find a positive expression for it. Inability to do this can resort into restlessness and depression; the victim will have no other alternative than to yield to the overwhelming weight of the addiction. I have helped people going through pornography addiction to redirect their ‘addictive energy’ to a more productive use and this has made a whole lot of difference. Don’t stop an addiction if you have not designed a more productive way of using the energy because the addiction will come back stronger, more stubborn and destructive than before!
LONG AND SHORT-TERM GOALS: Albert Einstein said, “If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.” People that don’t set goals for the future have set themselves up for depression. There must be a healthy blend of short and long term goals for a happy and productive life. When goals are too long-term, they can also lead to depression as the bible says that “hope deferred makes the heart sick”.
ENVIRONMENT: One of the greatest hindrances to expression is environment. Whether at home, in the office, in school, in relationships or even in marriage, creating a conducive atmosphere for expression is sacrosanct to a healthy relationship. Whether you are a boss, a parent, a partner, a spouse, a supervisor, a counselor, a spiritual leader or a teacher; your first priority must be that of creating a conducive atmosphere for others to be themselves.
GRATITUDE: It is not happy people who are thankful; it is thankful people who are happy. Naomi Williams said, “It is impossible to feel grateful and depressed in the same moment.” We must look for platforms to appreciate people that have contributed immensely to our lives. William Arthur Ward said, “Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with the heart of gratitude.
ABUSE: Abuse can be defined as the interception of expression. Abuse is simply the continual, manipulative and forceful hindrance of expression. Abuse can be subtle or forceful, depending on the gullibility of the victim or the ‘expertise’ of the abuser.
FAMILY: Family is everything! The family is our biggest life supporting system. Any man, woman, job, relationship or engagement that cuts you off from your family is your biggest enemy. I believe the family is the greatest platform of expression that God has given to man. When a man is consistently far from his family, depression will ultimately set in. Design a plan to spend more time with your family this year.
LOSS: Whether people or material things, loss is one of the critical causes of depression. Loss of loved ones, material possessions, jobs, and opportunities can be spring boards to depression. We must give people the opportunity to express themselves. Don’t hinder people from crying, there are some losses and pressure that can only be expressed through tears, after which the victim goes back to equilibrium. We must allow people to grief and mourn losses in a healthy way.
GOD FACTOR: Depression is a spirit! The bible calls ‘Depression’, the “SPIRIT OF HEAVINESS” in Isaiah 61:3. I believe your relationship with God is the supreme weapon against depression. Spend time expressing your worries to God through prayer.
Depression can be treated and recovery is possible. If you know someone who’s depressed, help them to find suitable outlets and expression in the best way you can. To handle your depression, stop taking it out on your loved ones, instead, seek help and productive ways of expressing yourself.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “Depression is the inability to construct a future”-Rollo May
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