Dan Trathen DMin, PhD Clinical Psychologist & Certified Business & Life Coach

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Are You Suffering From Depression?

A man and his wife were traveling west and stopped at a full service gas station to fill up their tank.  After the station attendant had washed their car’s windshield, the driver of the car told the man, “It is still dirty.  Wash it again.”  So the station attendant washed it again only to hear a similar angry reply, “It’s still dirty.  Don’t you know how to wash a windshield?”  Just then the man’s wife reached over and took her husband’s glasses from his head and cleaned the lenses with a tissue.  When she put them back on her husband’s head the windshield was clean!  The moral of the story is that our mental attitude acts as a filter and has a great deal to do with how we look at things.  The whole world can appear depressing if we ourselves have a depressed mental and emotional attitude.

      This may be a humorous example, but the scope and effects of depression are no laughing matter.  An estimated 40 to 60 million or more people suffer from depression in the United States.  Depression has been called the nation’s most widespread and undertreated emotional problem.  Some maintain that every person will suffer from some form of depression some time in their life. Many famous people have suffered from depression.  Abraham Lincoln suffered from bipolar disorder.  Winston Churchill said his depression followed him like a “black dog”. Charles Spurgeon, one of England’s greatest preachers of the 1800s experienced a life long battle with depression. 

             What exactly is this so called emotional epidemic we call depression?  Depression is an emotional and mental state whereby everything in one’s life is seen in a negative light.  A simple definition is a specific alteration of our mood downward.  Therefore, consider depression on a continuum from mild to severe. At one end are people who are discouraged, sad, or suffering from a loss.  As we experience more intense feelings of depression we more toward the other end of the continuum.

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