Today, I came across this tweet and was inspired to think.
I can’t stop thinking about this.
What makes America so sad? https://t.co/ML1MDomVWJ
— Jesse Kelly (@JesseKellyDC) July 15, 2022
My diagnosis of chronic depression was over fifteen years ago. At the time, I really didn’t know what depression was. I didn’t have any understanding of it. I thought it meant just being sad a lot, or being bi-polar (another thing I didn’t really understand). I’d have shared with you my experience before I was diagnosed that I never had depression. I didn’t know how to identify it, and when I finally did, I felt embarrassed by it. It made me feel weak. It still does.
Therapy was sought, and I found coping skills. I also sought the support of my family members. My husband and I both agreed that medication made us uncomfortable. I did have a short flirtation with it. It was something I committed to do. I was not ashamed. It was not my intention to make others feel embarrassed. I spoke about it freely…for a while. These days, I find myself wondering if we’re just talking about all this way too much. Or maybe we’re talking about it too much in the wrong way, and not enough in the right way.
Depression is so widespread that one has to wonder, as Jesse Kelly did. Looking at the chart my colleague shared, I must ask, “Are we sad…or are we sick?”
When compared to other countries, the rate at which antidepressants are used in this country seems very unusual. There is so much to be thankful for. Why is it that we are so depressed? It is not because we’re sad, but sick. We’re sick with a lot of things.
We’re sick with ease. While the American lifestyle is a blessing in many ways, it can also lead to a loss of purpose in some cases. It is satisfying to build, work, earn, and grow. These responsibilities can be outsourced more often these days. Record numbers of Americans are leaving the workforce. Adults can still be supported by their parents as they age. It is common for grown adults to still receive their food and medicine. Most of us work sedentary jobs, such as this writer, who sits in front of his computer all day. The purpose of work is to make a difference. Without purpose we are doomed to turn inward, and that’s always a losing proposition, because the human spirit is sick and sinful. We are condemned to eat on our own flesh and make ourselves sick.
We’re sick with secularism. Although work gives us purpose and is a source of fulfillment, it’s not the same as being given purpose by God. Statistically speaking, most people in the world believe in a Creator, whether that’s the Christian God, or multiple gods or any other iteration of religion. It is clear that the West has a reputation for being the most skeptical when it comes faith. A common saying is that Christians have a love for God.
Everyone is born with an unfinished business in their heart.
Everybody was given a place in our lives that must be used. It’s not that controversial of a statement. “What’s the meaning of life?” is a very familiar question. That’s because we are all familiar with the drive to find meaning. It’s innate. Space abhors a vacuum, and if we don’t fill that space with outward motivations – God, family, country, etc. – then something has to fill it. The above diagram shows that this space is filled with both misery and medication. Our sickness will only get worse the further we drift from the idea of being blessed with a Creator. There is no outside drive. We are stuck in our own thoughts. I can’t count the number of friends I have with a debilitating fear of being alone. They see being alone as being isolated with their thoughts, and cannot cope. When you feel connected to the concept of creation and Creator, it’s much easier to be alone, because you can lean on the concept that you aren’t truly by yourself. You can find your strength in prayer and in God’s thoughts, instead of in chaotic thought.
Brokenness is a constant companion for us. Families are in crisis. Government intervention, cultural Marxism, as well as our continued decline from corporate religion have all destroyed the notion of a family. It is a sad trend that we are creating generations of children who have no fathers. Children who are raised by their parents will be less susceptible to poverty, mental illness, and behavioral problems. When we hear news of horrific school shootings, we can be certain that the perpetrators – always young men – were on antidepressants or other medications related to mental health, or were fatherless. Often, both. We’re missing fathers in a big way in this country, and it has created a spiritual sickness that manifests itself in many ways – violence, poverty, rage, and, yes, depression. As more fathers leave their children’s lives, so does the grip of the sadness.
This shocking, sad chart isn’t a sign of sad people. It’s a sign that people are struggling, searching for purpose and meaning. I suppose it could be said it’s a sign of emptiness.
Then there’s the doctors and pharmaceutical companies that are eager to prescribe drugs before any other treatment.
Buts that’s a whole other column.