A Head-On Look at Depression and Suicidal Thoughts in Persons with Visual Impairments

Older man looking depressed

September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day.

Addressing depression and suicide is painful and messy, yet far too important to intentionally ignore or absentmindedly dismiss.

Though not an expert on mental health, I am one who has lived through a season of depression. If there’s anything my experience taught me, it’s that we must look toward the inner beast (even the inclination towards depression) and fight it before it has the chance to take hold and choke the life right out us.

You see, according to a JAMA Ophthalmology study in May 2013, there is an increase in depression in adults with functional vision loss.

I don’t state the increased risk to instill fear but to remind us to pay attention to our thought life. Emotions wax and wane and circumstances will affect our moods, but chronic symptoms of depression should be identified and a plan of healing must be undertaken.

According to the Mayo Clinic, depression symptoms may include feelings of emptiness, anger outbursts, changes in appetite, anxiety, feelings of worthlessness, slowed thinking, lack of energy, or recurrent thoughts of death. The Mayo clinic explains symptoms will be severe enough to disrupt daily life.

If you recognize these symptoms in yourself or a loved one, I urge you to pick up your boxing gloves and FIGHT!

To do so:

If you knew your body was throbbing from an open wound, you’d act. If your mind and spirit are throbbing, act just as swiftly.

If you are in crisis, talk to someone you trust. Free confidential help is available any time at 800-273-8255. If you suspect someone you know is in crisis, ask them about it. Ask with genuine concern. Do not be judgmental. Be supportive.One of the best resources for facts, figures, and support may be found at Live Through This.