Depression afflicts all ages but especially those at later stages of their lives. Many of those are afflicted by depression in their younger years because of chemical imbalance can be helped by antidepressants. Tragically some, who struggle despite medication, lose the battle and end their own lives. Those who experience depression later in life do so because of their social situations and their emotional suffering.
A primary symptom of depression is sadness caused by loss. The book of Job is the handbook on this kind of depression when Job loses his wealth, his family and his health. If we place all of our happiness in material prosperity good health and we lose them we can descend into an experience of emptiness, meaninglessness, isolation, inadequacy and even loss of faith.
How do we deal with increasing bouts of sadness, depression and sense of worthlessness as we age? We have been so used to being active, in charge of our own schedule, that we have neglected the resources of prayer, meditation and the life of the mind. Rather than putting our hope in our own ability to maintain our happiness, Jesus gives us the example of withdrawing from the activities of the world in order to renew his relationship with the Father. This leads to a different way of living, a prayerful way which leads to growth in the life of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. If we want to grow in the Spirit we will follow the admonition of 1 Peter 1:5-11.
“Make every effort to add to your faith, goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective, and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins. Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
Meditation on these things will counteract the feeling of sadness, despondence, self-criticism, low-esteem, self-hate, failure, and melancholia. Seniors need to look forward with hope and joyful anticipation to the future promises of the Gospel rather than being drawn backwards and downwards to their losses in this life.