There are some subjects that are difficult to talk about. Depression and suicide are definitely two of those subjects. However, if this editorial can help just one person, we feel it is worth mentioning.

Everyone goes through highs and lows in their life. That's just what life is about. Things are not always going to be good. But, on the flip side, things are not always going to be bad.

Sometimes it's hard to think straight when we feel bad. We look around and see happy people and wonder why we can't be happy, as well. We begin to feel like maybe something is wrong with us or that maybe we don't deserve happiness for some reason. We try to find ways to make ourselves happy, often turning to things like drugs or alcohol to pacify our pain.

If you're reading this and have had symptoms of depression or if you know someone who may be depressed – keep reading, please.

According to Ted Debbs, executive director of ACCESS, which serves Cherokee and Anderson counties, one key situation to be aware of is when someone who has been really depressed is suddenly cheerful, although their life situation hasn't changed.

Debbs said this could mean the person has decided on how they can stop hurting, and that weight has been lifted off of them suddenly. They may be considering suicide.

“People are scared to confront someone (who seems depressed or suicidal), and they often beat around the bush, but they need to hear it. It may be the push that person needs to get help,” Debbs said.

He added that many who are depressed during the holidays make it through the holidays unscathed. But if you or someone you know has suffered the recent death of a loved one or is depressed but with a high energy level, they should be approached about the serious topic of suicide.

Why does depression seem to escalate during the holiday season?

Debbs said sometimes people are held to the standard of feeling joyous during the holidays, and if they don't really feel that way inside, it can become very stressful.

However, there is ALWAYS hope, he said.

As much as you or your loved one feels like there is no way out of a bad situation ... there is always a way. That way does not involve suicide, but in reaching out to people who care.

Maybe you or your loved one think nobody cares. We are here to tell you that SOMEBODY always cares. Your family cares. Your friends care. Your co-workers care. Your pastor and church family cares. Your neighbor cares. Somebody, somewhere cares about you.

And whether you are religious or not, God cares. He sent his Son to die on the cross for each and every one of us. He gave you life. He cares how your life is going. He is there, even if you are ignoring him.

“Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” – Joshua 1:9 (King James Bible).

We are not necessarily trying to preach to you. We are trying to help. We are trying to show you that there is hope. If you are depressed, find someone to talk to about it.

If you don't think your friends or family would understand or sympathize, call the Crisis Hotline for Cherokee and Anderson counties at (800) 621-1693. There is someone available 24/7 to help you at this number. Or you or your loved one may call the ACCESS office during the normal business hours at (903) 589-9000.

Debbs said he and his staff will be there to help. Meanwhile, if it is an emergency and suicide is possibly eminent, call 911 so that your local law enforcement officials can quickly help you get the assistance you need. Or go to the nearest hospital ER and ask for help.

There are many, many people who are willing to help you get through a difficult time. Please, talk to someone if you are experiencing depression and feel that you may cause harm to yourself or others.

If you know of anyone who may be experiencing symptoms of depression, please try to connect with them and help them find some hope.

Jacksonville Progress

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