Has depression almost made the main news this week?
This week we learned that Zayn Malik had left One Direction (famous boy band) with stress. We also discovered that Andreas Lubitz, a co-pilot who had died with 149 other people in the plane crash in the French Alps, had a past history of depression. We may never really know what exactly happened but how has depression affected the life course of these individuals? If they had been more able to talk about their feelings earlier or receive support around their key relationships then maybe their life paths would have changed. How can someone be so unhappy and not take the right steps to feeling better? What can we do to help each other with this issue?
Depression affects the course of our lives if we do not recognize it and get help. Depression in youth can go unrecognized for years and most people will not actually receive help. Depression can separate us from our families and friends and lead us towards lonely lives in which we are contained by our fears and assumptions of the world. Depression can 'cast the long shadow' which can damage a young person's prospects in education and training and employment. It is good that in our modern society we promote understanding of mental health issues or 'mental health literacy.' However depression is common and we need to go further in taking on the issue. Depression must be named. Young people should be supported and encouraged to fight depression and defeat it with their capacity for positive feelings. There is something here about how a young person shifts from passively receiving depression towards the fight to recover, reclaim life and love and to survive, learn and grow. We have to be prepared to fight the hopelessness and nothingness that depression brings eventually. If we cannot hold hope for ourselves then someone else can in our network. This person may be a friend or family member or professional. In depression if we have the courage to reach out for help then we can find it.
Escape. Zayn has escaped from One Direction and Andreas Rubitz may have been looking for his escape. When people are depressed the idea of suicide may provide an escape form suffering. However many who contemplate suicide are caught in two minds. The want to escape suffering but they may not want to die. They hope to live, to survive and to find new solutions to their problems. This will often involve the help of other people.
The word depression almost made the bold print in the press this week. Depression feels like the silent force that must be recognized and overcome by us at any stage in our lives.
I wish Zayn and Perrie all the best with their future. I pray for all 150 who died in the plane crash, as well as for their families around the world.