The Unlisted Causes of Depression
Categories: Article, Colour of Love, Emotional Health, Health, Inspirational, Lifestyle, Mental Health, Post, Thoughts, Well being, Writing,
People are like pieces of jigsaw puzzles which usually come in six different shapes. Despite their variance from having no tabs and four blanks to having four tabs and no blanks, when people, like jigsaw pieces, are sorted out by their mixture of uniqueness and then assembled, they make a unifying fit resulting in a beautiful whole. Everyone has blanks to be filled and everyone has tabs to fill someone else. This is one way we know we are built for community so no one person can on their own have a fulfilling life without the right support.
It has been said that everyone’s favourite topic is themselves. That in itself isn’t necessarily a bad thing unless it is conceited. Besides, if men and women don’t pay enough attention to understanding themselves and how best to apply their individuality to society’s need for complementary coexistence, how then would we fulfill Scriptures’ helpful guidance of loving others as we love ourselves? Coexistence and completeness are such basic needs that we would cease to thrive if we chose a life of isolation, self-sabotaging comparisons, and an unhealthy sense of self-sufficiency. There are a million and one causes of depression but this article is going to focus on three root causes.
Depression/Suicide Rate in Nigeria:
Under the 2019 global epidemiology of suicide by the World Health Organization, the age-standardized suicide in Nigeria is estimated to be between 5.0 – 9.9 per 100,000 population.
According to Dr. Titilayo Tade, the Deputy Director of Medical Social Services, Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), and training coordinator of the Suicide Research Prevention Initiative (SUPRIN),
suicide rate in Nigeria in 2019 is 6.9/ 100,000, which is higher than 6.5 rate in 2012; but under-reported or miscoded. (Dania, 2021).
The Suicide Research and Prevention Initiative has further reported that over 40% of total calls it has received since its inception in 2017, came from people under age 30. (Akomolafe, 2021).
Some Root Causes & Ways to Curb Them:
“A Life of Isolation”
Many would say happiness is within. I think that’s an incomplete statement. Happiness is both within and mostly around. For example, you’re placed on an island and have everything provided for except for one thing: companionship. It is only going to be a matter of time for such a person to crack and snap for the lack of no one to share with and communicate. Happiness is indeed born out of the intangible experiences around us. But, mind you, that can be tricky too. Tricky in the sense that attaching your happiness to temporary tangible things could set you up for untimely disappointments and depression when the things you’ve attached such happiness to don’t live up to the expectations you had for them. They hardly ever do. Things break. Things get obsolete. Things rot. It is also why the Bible admonishes us to not store our treasures here on earth. However, intangible things like companionship, kindness, generosity and every fruit of the Spirit written in Galatians 5: 22-23 are your best assets. Without those and with isolation, you have one root cause of depression. But with the fruit of the Spirit which is coming out of you and returning back to you, not just within you, you are steps ahead of depression that leads to suicide.
“The Self-Sabotaging Acts of Comparison”
The loss of peace generates depression. To an extent, the reason peace is lost is when we are fixated on things we assume others have that we don’t, causing the self-sabotaging act of comparing oneself with someone else that regular people inflict on themselves—mostly unintentionally.
It is written, “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” Isaiah 26:3 NLT. Setting our eyes on things around to determine our progress can set us up for a letdown, because no one person anywhere possesses everything. The wisdom in the Bible is unrivalled when it teaches us to first seek God’s kingdom, and ultimately enjoy perfect peace when we stay our minds on Him. But covetousness permeates the unguarded heart and it starts to skim around for what would be the death of the person.
Ecclesiastes 9:11 states, “I returned and saw under the sun that— the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to men of understanding, nor favor to men of skill; but time and chance happen to them all.” Like jigsaw puzzles, none can on their own amount to anything, for time and chance happens to us all. This leads to the next point of the dangers of an unchecked reliance on self.
“An Unhealthy Sense of Self-sufficiency”
Until a person’s projection of self-sufficiency depletes a friend’s or a loved one’s sense of service and support towards them, such a person probably wouldn’t realise the hurt being caused, and in time, the companion is inevitably pushed away and the self-reliant person winds up left to go through life on their own, dealing with mounting pressures that never seem to go away. This leads back to the previous point of a life of isolation risking the mental health of the initiator.
The Bible teaches that “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” Proverbs 17:17 NKJV. People don’t always know it when they start to push others away. But people want to know they are valued and wanted. They want to see and experience it first hand like times when we let them share in adversity and assist us in ways they know we know then can.
Depression can stem from the ripple effect of one’s actions (or inactions as the case may be) towards another who wants to be there for them. And because people have limits, the tendency to steer clear takes effect. Quality relationships break. And this is an individualistic prevalent effect of indulging in an unhealthy manner self-sufficiency — part of a root cause of depression.
Prevalent Effects on Economy, Nation, Individual:
When it is done, the effect of suicide takes a toll on the wellbeing of the smallest unit in our society—the family, and on the country at large.
Nigeria is still a developing country and its prevailing loss of the younger population to suicide puts the country at risk of having more of the older population and less of the younger population which in turn affects productivity and development . Germany, Italy, Japan etc with older populations, do not have the challenge of a downturn in productivity because they are not just developed countries but have a working system and a great number in the younger population, hence productivity and sustainability remains intact.
On the part of individuals who have lost their loved ones to suicide, they suffer from extreme guilt for not preventing the suicide, anger and resentments toward the person who had taken their own life, and are at risk of suffering depression. It is a vicious cycle. And even friends as well as the family affected by suicide suffer stigma as people would likely treat a them differently as noted in a Canadian study. Another study shows that anxiety and divorce are very common effects on parents after a child’s suicide. And on the flipside, children whose parents have committed suicide run the risk of committing suicide themselves.
Everyone responds to love, and humans are built for community. But in darkness there is confusion and chaos even when it seems there are people around.
As Christians, it is up to us to be the light of the world and salt to the earth. It is not just a role but a gift vested upon us by the Father to fulfil the purpose of togetherness and thriving, and to do right by God and by extension, others.
People possess different thresholds — the level to which they are impacted by things good or bad and how they respond to it. When one exposes themselves to helpful resources like being vulnerable with friendship and fellowship with the Holy Spirit, one has a chance at knocking off depression and experiencing hope, peace, and love; a light in times of dark and answers to overwhelming questions.
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