Not too long ago, I was watching a TV series called “New Amsterdam” starring Ryan Eggold who played the character of “Dr. Max Goodwin”. The show was about Dr. Goodwin’s effort to provide the best care to the patients by breaking the bureaucracy of the old hospital. In one of the episodes, a Chinese student in a university attempted to commit suicide despite being a straight A’s student. She described the feeling of emptiness, hard to wake up in the morning (due to the thoughts that she would fail everything on that day), and worthless; All of which are some of the symptoms of Depression.
According to Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, there are more than 9 million commercially insured Americans who are depressed. The rising number of millennials and adolescents who have depression are scary, which is about 47% increase since 2013 (bcbs.com). As the number keeps increasing, we start to ask ; “What causes depression and how do we overcome it?”
Have you ever stopped for a moment and ponder the kind of information or thoughts that constantly feeding your life? Is it negativity? hatred? jealousy? worry? Philippians 4:8 (NIV) says, "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." The Bible tells us that we, as sons and daughters of the highest God, do not need to be anxious about the things that can make us down. This is common when we are uncertain about the next step of the life journey, which includes university, job, relationship, financial, etc. However, we have to remember the promise that God has spoken to us, which is the “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)
The bible should be our source of information and guidance when making decisions in our lives. In Colossians 3:16 (NLT), the bible says "Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts." When you feed your soul and mind with positive words and the Truth, you will have that strong conviction that God wants you to live in true joy. This Truth can solely be found in God.
Going back to the story of the Chinese student in the New Amsterdam TV series, the show explained that one of the causes of her depression is because her mother expected her daughter to excel in her academics. The story continued and the doctor recommended the student to go through counseling, but her mother disagreed because she did not believe in sharing their stories to strangers. As a result, the Chinese student was hopeless and attempted suicide because she believed no one could help her. The story ended with the realization of her mother that her daughter needed someone that she could talk to, share her struggles, and share her stories, which was the counselor.
From this story, we could learn that life sometimes is not easy, especially if we attempted to do it alone. We all need someone we could count on, someone to share our burden and our thoughts with. That someone could be a friend, family, or even our leader. In Proverbs 27:17, King Solomon said, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” (ESV) You need to find someone who can help you in the season of struggles, who bring positive impact to your life, and the most important is bringing you closer to Jesus. Some of you might ask, “what if I don’t have any accountable person?”
First, let’s start with family. Family is God’s gift. The first institution God has ever established was indeed family (Adam and Eve). Family is made to support one another and love unconditionally. Family normally wants and never meant no harm happened to one another. In my case, I am grateful for my family who can support my education; Without them, I won’t make it to where I am now.
Other than family, I believe everyone also needs a community where they truly belong. The bible tells us, “Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.” (1 Corinthians 15:33 NIV). Our church established a community called Care Group as a community where everyone cares for each other’s needs. What makes it different from other groups and gatherings, is that our main focus is Jesus. Not only we fill the physical needs (foods, friendships) during the meeting, we also fill the spiritual needs as well. Furthermore, when Jesus is the fuel of love in the community where you choose to be invested in, you can be sure that love and growth will naturally be resulted.
Depression is treatable and there are tons of resources online that can help you fight depression. Mental Health America is a tool that can help you determine if you have any symptoms of depression by filling out questions. If you are attending university, there is a Counseling Center where a well-trained counselor is available at no cost for students. If you think you are experiencing some minor to major depression, please do seek for help. Find us, find a healthy community, and/or find a counselor who would help treat your case accordingly.
Major Depression: The Impact on Overall Health. Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, 10 May 2018, www.bcbs.com/the-health-of-america/reports/major-depression-the-impact-overall-health.
Written by: Jason Gautama