Healing from depression is one of those tricky things. When you are going through the midst of this dark storm, everything inside of you wants to just run and hide, especially from people. But the tricky part? One of the important aspects of healing from depression is to be engaged in relationship with people. Healthy people, encouraging people, safe people.
But often those battling depression can have a hard time knowing how to relate to those around them.
Depression can leave your world feeling muted and holding little interest. Depression often causes a shift in personality, energy and enjoyment of life. Hanging out with friends, catching a movie and dinner out no longer hold the same appeal.
When you battle depression it is hard to know who is safe to share with. Often this uncertainty leads to not sharing, causing further withdrawal. Honestly, it can be a vicious circle. As a friend it’s hard to know what to say and do. You don’t want to make things worse, but you want your old friend back. You want to laugh again and enjoy life together.
Through the years, as I have battled my own fears and depression, I have discovered key things that bring life and key things that don’t. This week, we are going to talk about the “don’ts.” – 6 simple things to avoid when loving someone through depression. (We will tackle the first three today and the rest on Wednesday.)
1. “Get Over It Already” – This saying is entirely not helpful in any way. When you are battling depression what you wouldn’t give to “be over it” already. Often these words are a result of a friend or caregiver’s anger and frustration of not being able to fix the depression, but in the end only serves to add to the weight of the battle.
2. “You’re Not Over It Yet?” – This saying is closely connected to the first, but usually follows after a lengthy time of depression. Understandable, if you are supporting someone fighting depression, the season can get weary for you as well. It may feel like plenty of time has passed and they should be over whatever it is that has them in this place. However, every person’s journey is different and you can’t put a time frame on healing from depression. For some, healing comes within months, others it can take years.
3. Bible Verse Band-aids – Don’t get me wrong, God’s Word is important and for those fighting depression scripture can often bring real comfort. However, if our answer to someone’s depression is to throw a few Bible verses at them with the hope that it will “stick,” we fail to truly love. Giving someone random Bible verse band-aids does little to ease the pain of a gaping wound in the soul.
Later this week we will continue this discussion of Loving Someone Through Depression. I will finish with three more key things to avoid.
In the meantime, if you are loving someone through depression right now I encourage you to go to the Lord in prayer. Ask Him how to reach their heart because we must go first to the one who knows them most intimately – the creator of their very being. It is not an easy journey, but as you seek God on the behalf of your friend or loved one, I know He will be faithful to meet you.
Even earthly Kings despair:
My heart pounds, my strength fails me; even the light has gone from my eyes . PSALM 38: 10 My heart is blighted and withered like grass; I forget to eat my food. Because of my loud groaning I am reduced to skin and bones. I am like a desert owl, like an owl among the ruins. I lie awake; I have become like a bird alone on a roof. PSALM 102:4-7I am worn out from groaning; all night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears. PSALM 6:6
But even Kings have Hope:
“I waited patiently for the Lord and He inclined unto me and He heard my cry. He lifted me out of the horrible pit, out of the miry clay,and He has set my feet upon a ROCK and He established my steps, and He has given me a a new song even praise unto our God; many shall see it and fear and shall trust in the Lord…the first 3 lines of an ancient Hebrew song Psalm 40:1-3”