Depression can often feel like a living hell. Strong words? Yes. But if you have ever walked that road you know exactly what I mean. The darkness, the hopelessness and the loneliness of that place.
Maybe right now you are walking that road.
And maybe you are the one trying to love someone through that dark place and yet loving them is one of the hardest things to do too. We know that hurting people hurt people, which puts you in a direct line to get hurt, to be rejected, to be fought against.
From experience I can tell you that one of the deadliest symptoms of depression is the urge to hide and pull away. It’s as if our “Fight or Flight” response has gone haywire. We feel this need to protect ourselves from outside pain, real or perceived. Pushing away is easier than hanging on. Relationship takes work, and when you are battling depression, what energy you have is used just to keep breathing.
And yet, that is where the paradox lies, because part of the healing comes through being in relationship. God has wired us that way. Satan divides us that way.
Yet often we often pull away from those suffering through depression. We pull away from what we can not see or understand. Maybe it scares us. Confuses us. We wish they would just “get over it.”
A broken bone we can see, a gaping wound we can see.
A bleeding heart and a dying soul…not so much.
What does loving someone through depression look like?
And this is the picture the Lord showed me…
Imagine someone has a bleeding cut on their arm. We dress the wound, we apply ointment and bandages. We wrap the wound in bandages until it can stand being open to the air. We don’t leave the healing of the wound to chance, because to do so invites infection and does not promote healing. Day in and day out are vigilant to change the dressing until the wound is healed.
In the same way we need to come around those fighting through depression and “wrap” them in relationship. Can you just picture that? Wrapping the one who is hurting in the safety of relationship. Because isn’t that what the body of Christ is supposed to be about? We are called to be in relationship with one another. It’s not always going to be pretty or perfect and their will be a season that you may give more than you get back in relationship.
I admit, it’s hard to do. Our natural human tendency is to give conditional love, conditional grace, conditional mercy, conditional forgiveness. To only give as good as we get. And yet we need Christ to teach us how to love as He does…unconditionally.
That is not to say we don’t have boundaries with those we are loving through depression, but the point is…we keep loving because whether you think so or not…..they need you to show up, to remind them that they are not alone.….to remind them that this season will pass and to remind them to keep breathing.
Next week we will talk more about loving someone through depression.