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I've been depressed three times, each lasting three to six months. Two of my sisters coped with post-partum depression. My dad sought counsel in the past year for depression. Now our son who is 22 years old is trying to cope with it. My son’s depression hurts the most.

Depression is a negative and unforgiving illness. It makes everything in life hard. You do not recognize yourself anymore nor your reactions to things. You're confused. Coping with life is an everyday struggle.

Since you don't understand yourself, it's even harder to explain to someone else what’s going on. You pull yourself back from social gatherings. Even being with friends seems threatening. There seems to be no room for depressed people in the world.

Voices in my head put me down all the time and make me so unsure of myself. It feels like I'm sliding into a dark pit with a heavy lid on it. Sometimes I can see a little light, but mostly my world is black and scary. I'm trying to climb out, but it's uphill. I work so hard only to fall back down. In my head I’m being ridiculed for even trying to climb out of the pit.

I would love to seek a blessing at church but can not face the people or what they will ask me or tell me. What comes to mind when I think back on depression is the feeling like I wanted to shout, “Stop the world and let me off. I'm trapped in this strange body until I learn to accept this condition and learn to cope with it. I can't relax and enjoy life.”

Where is God in all this? Well, I know he's in all of it, even though I didn't see it that way when I was in the middle of it. I remember that I offered short prayers like "Please God, help."

The following are some do's and don't that I have learned along the way.

Please DO:
Let me know you're praying for me.
Just put your hand on my shoulders when you walk by.
Keep conversation light.

Please DON'T:
Ask me personal questions that I do not know the answer to.
Talk behind my back.
Tell me the sun is shining. When I am in the grip of depression, it actually doesn't shine. Saying this makes me feel worse that I cannot enjoy it. 

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