Sometimes it's our children and teens. Sometimes it's us. We see it in our friends and neighbors. It seems to be infiltrating our whole world.
Hopelessness is growing. Hopelessness is a by-product of depression. Depression is rooted in anxiety. "About 20 percent of all teens experience depression before they reach adulthood." (1)
Although anxiety and depression often appear together, let's briefly look at them separately. Anxiety Disorders affect over 25 percent of teens between 13 and 18 years old. Anxiety Disorder often co-occurs with other disorders such as depression, eating disorders, and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). (2)
Anxiety Disorder has many faces (see my Blog: June 8, 2018). Anxiety Disorders are the most common mental illness affecting 40 million adults; about 18% of the population. (2) You are not alone!
Depression falls under the "Anxiety" category of disorders. "The leading cause of disability in the U.S. for ages 15 to 44 is Depression. It affects over 16 million Americans. Sadly, almost 75% of people with mental disorders remain untreated in developing countries with almost 1 million people taking their lives each year." (2)
There are a number of causes involving anxiety such as: environmental factors, genetics, brain chemistry, use of illegal drugs and the withdrawal from them. (3) Since I have suffered from anxiety my entire life, I have tried a variety of solutions including counseling, nutritional supplements and exercise. One solution that I found consistently lacking from my research on anxiety was the faith factor. Many times over the years I have experienced peace when I specifically prayed for it. My anxiety would melt away. For the bout of Depression I suffered while raising my two special needs boys, I went on medication for one year. After suffering from negative side effects, I switched to nutritional products that lifted me out of Depression and also continues to keep my anxiety at bay.
One of my guiding Scriptures is, "Hope delayed makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life." (Proverbs 13:12) To me, this means that without hope, you become ill, both mentally and physically. When you are able to live feeling hopeful, you will have health, on all levels! This is why I have dedicated my life to sharing the message about hope. This website is all about how hope balances our Neuro Health (Neurological/Mental) and our Shalom Health (Physical/Emotional/Spiritual). Adding in the spiritual element to the challenges of staying healthy is a solution we can not ignore.
My upcoming book, "The Song of My Hope" is my personal story of finding hope and keeping it alive, despite my adversity. Although I may have lived an extraordinary life, I am truly an ordinary gal. One of my secrets to remaining hopeful through times of adversity is to remain available to hearing God's voice. Through the hard times He loved me, encouraged me, and filled me with wisdom. As a result, I was not overtaken by the hard times.
Visit me next week when I continue this series of Blogs on Mental Illness as the month of May highlights this area. Transparency on this subject will help usher in acceptance. See you next Friday!
"HOPE transforms the impossible into unending possibilities!" - Betsy Kay Ridgway, M.S.
(1) "Why Today's Teens are More Depressed Than Ever." November 9, 2016. www.centerfordiscovery.com.
(2) "Facts and Statistics" by Janelle Haider, MD, Anxiety and Depression Association of America, www.adaa.org. Please see details of this organization on my Resources page.
(3) "What causes Anxiety?" by Adam Felman,, October 25, 2018, Medical News Today, www.medicalnewstoday.com.