Your friend is suffering from chronic depression and you would do anything for him or her, but sometimes, you’re wondering if you’re doing more harm than good.
Besides feeling as if almost everything you say ends up being the wrong thing to say, the longevity of his or her depression is beginning to wear on you.
When my family and a number of my friends read this week’s column, they’ll surely recall memories of the frustration and exhaustion they experienced during my long years of chronic depression. But as difficult as my struggle was, I’m sure I’ll never fully appreciate how difficult it was for them, too.
Since May is Mental Health Awareness Month, I would like to validate the real despair and hopelessness your depressed friend is experiencing. Not to mention the shame for being “such a disappointment,” and the guilt for “not pulling [his or her] weight” and for “needing you so much.”
I would also like to (at least attempt to) validate the real frustration and exhaustion felt by those of you who valiantly try to be there for your friend or loved one. But in your sincere efforts to be available, you, too, are experiencing a sense of despair “for not being able to do enough” and guilt for all the times you’ve screamed, “Why don’t you just snap out of it and try harder!”
Thankfully, your heavenly Father is compassionately watching over you, your friend and every one of us. 1 Peter 5:7 (ESV) says, “[Cast] all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. The Amplified Bible says that God cares about us “with deepest affection.”
God knows we are not equipped to shoulder anxieties, worries and concerns. Whatever is causing us distress, we can cast (or throw) all of it onto His huge shoulders. Whenever we try to do anything (including helping someone in trouble) or bear anything (including depression) in our own strength, we become drained, physically and emotionally. And then, rather than experiencing a breakthrough, we end up discouraged and worse off.
But when we can go to Someone Who loves us “with deepest affection,” and give Him all our concerns, we can begin to feel better, more peaceful – even hopeful, and at least a little less exhausted.
What about you?
You can use a pseudonym (fake name) when commenting.
- What are some of the mistakes you’ve made when trying to help someone struggling with depression?
- For those of you who find themselves constantly needing support due to your chronic depression, what can you do differently to make it easier for those wanting to help you?
- How can we pray for you? (Both, Helpers and those needing help)
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