Each year, 34,598 people die by suicide, an average of 94 completed suicides every day. More people die by suicide (34,598) than by homicide (18,361) in the United States.

I have no doubt depression is the leading cause for these suicides. Some of you already know, I’m quite an advocate for mental health and substance abuse treatment. Here are some thoughts on depression.

There are many of you who have never dealt with depression. I can tell you that it is very real and it is not just a rearrangement of attitude or a pity-party that someone needs to rearrange. When you are in the midst of this attack, it’s a dark deep pit, that you feel you cannot escape from. Please if you know someone depressed, empathize, listen, and love them sympathetically and with an open-mind.

Historically this has been a struggle since man first existed. It is biblical, also known to the desert fathers, sometimes referred to as “Acedia” or the “Noon-day Devil”. This is just a part of the human condition that some struggle with in different degrees.

For those of you that fight with the crippling darkness that depression brings, please remember that you are a unique and loved individual.

This sickness will speak to you and tell you that you are worthless and that you have no value. That life has no point and we have no purpose. This is a deception, because in severe cases depression wants you to suffer and ultimately wants you to die.

It is truly an awful place to be and sometimes, the hardest part of dealing with the mental anguish is just waiting it out. I assure you, eventually a ray of light will penetrate through the night. In the midst of a struggle, the difficulty lies in believing that the persistent shadow will not cease, it is an unending darkness, a permanent midnight and you pray that in the morning there will be relief. The sick joke is that it is just the same.

This is when your real fight begins and this is when you have to do whatever it takes to persevere because you are truly someone beautiful and special. Someone who deserves a good life, one filled with joy and purpose. No matter how far down you get, remember, you’ll go up again. What goes down, must go up.

You have to rely on others to help you and encourage you. No matter how hard it is to move from the couch, you have to take small steps to progress through the day, even if it is accomplishing something small. If you need a doctor, force yourself to make an appointment. This is the same for a therapist. Sit outside for fifteen minutes. Listen to an uplifting song. Then no matter what, make it until the next day because you’re worth it. You are here for a reason and this spot you’re in will pass. You can survive.

If you ever feel you are in a bind, you can contact me. I will do what I can to help.

Edward Reid