People who are depressed often feel like they are drowning, and wonder if they’ll ever be able to breathe again. Several
years ago I asked a group of people who were struggling with depression what
advice they would give to someone who has a depressed love one. This post is a
combination of those responses.
I share some practical suggestions on how to show you care, I want to clarify a
few things about depression. Depression can be one of three types:
Circumstantial – Depression can be a
result of difficult circumstances or even grief. When depression is
circumstantial, counseling is often beneficial. Time is also a helpful healer in
circumstantial depression (as circumstances change, the depression lifts).
Sometimes, medication may be needed short-term to help a person get on top of
Result of sin – Sometimes depression is a consequence of specific sin in a
person’s life. When this is the case, confession is the key. A person needs to
confess to God and potentially to others.
Physiological – Depression can be due to physiological factors. This could
be due to a medical condition, genetics, and/or a chemical imbalance. If
depression is physiological, medication is almost always necessary.
struggling with depression often feel alone, even if they have family and
friends in their lives. It is important to show them that they are not alone,
even in their darkest hour. Your presence is important; sometimes a hug and a
listening ear is a great gift. Too often people try to give advice. Your loved
ones don’t need you to tell them what to do. They need to know you care. When
you speak, make sure that your words are encouraging and show your support. Your
love and support shows them that you are willing to walk with them in their
pain. It’s easy for people to say, “Just snap out of it,” but it is much more
helpful if you will listen and show compassion. The depression may not lift
right away, but they will remember you were there for them.
shared that volunteering helped them to get their eyes off of themselves and
focus on others. When the depression is circumstantial, this can help.
member. The Bible tells us that God will never leave us or forsake us; God
doesn’t promise to alleviate the pain of depression, but he does promise his
presence in the midst of it. Ask God to give your loved one peace in the midst
of the pain. Pray that they will draw closer to God during the dark night of
the soul. Pray for deliverance from the depression. Let your friend know you are praying and when possible pray with them either in person or on the phone. Writing your prayers and sending them in a letter so that your depressed family member can revisit it in those dark hours and be reminded that she is not alone.