“I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”
If you’ve never suffered from depression, it can be a difficult thing to understand. It is understandable for those who have never experienced depression themselves to grow frustrated and weary with their loved ones who may struggle with the condition.
I have a lot of empathy for both those who are living with depression and their caretakers, because for five years early in my marriage I was the one living with severe depression and my husband was my caretaker. There were many times when my completely hopeless state of mind would rub off on my husband and he would become hopeless for me and for our marriage. After all, depression—for so many years––kept us worlds apart even while sharing the same living space.
I no longer live with depression. Five years ago, from the date of this article’s publication, I experienced miraculous healing for which my husband and I are so grateful to the Lord. In many ways, the years I struggled with depression feel like years wasted, but I’ve come to realize they have provided great empathy and wisdom that I have been able to pass on to both those living with depression and their caretakers.
In this article, I offer five ways to love someone living with depression. Later this week, I will also share five ways to love their caretakers well.
Five Ways to Love Someone Living with Depression
Pray for endurance both for you and the person living with depression.
Living with depression requires endurance to continue day-to-day life and it also requires the endurance necessary to continue searching for and praying for healing. You, the friend of this person, will also need endurance to continue to be available and present to a person who may be unable to give back to the relationship in any substantial way.
Allow for space when requested or needed.
This can be difficult sometimes when there may be concerns of how a person living with depression may react to their own feelings of hopelessness, but being around people can sometimes feel overwhelmingly draining to a person living with depression. Whether or not they are truly an introvert in their healthy state of mind, depression requires more energy and focus in order to interact with society. Alone time does not always mean a person is in danger, sometimes it is needed so that the person can muster the endurance to continue in the normal day-to-day.
Be present, even if silent.
Being a willing and consistent presence in the life of a person living with depression is a wonderful way to love them well. Try to be comfortable with silence when needed and know that the physical presence of a friend who is not demanding of the person’s attention can be a beautiful reminder of God’s constant presence with us.
Encourage therapy with a trusted therapist and offer accountability for therapy, if requested.
Therapy can be very helpful in assisting a person living with depression navigate the source of their condition and begin to heal from the root causes. Although this person should likely not be compelled into therapy, a gentle nudge to consider therapy, as well as an offer to help hold the person accountable for the next step towards beginning therapy, is an act of great love and support if provided at the appropriate time.
Share or remind the person of the gospel.
The gospel is powerful. For one, it’s true. It is also the good news of the greatest act of reconciliation imaginable between us and our Creator God. Taking the time to simply review the good news of Jesus Christ with someone living with depression can provide great hope to help them get through a difficult day or a long season of hopelessness. Many times we often forget this beautiful resource, but there are times when simply sharing the gospel is enough.
For an example on how to share the gospel, read or listen to my recent article The Gospel in Five Minutes.
Thank you for visiting! I’m happy to come to you, next time.
Sign up to receive a monthly newsletter summarizing new content and providing a glimpse into my journey as a writer. I promise this not Avon calling… spam is neither in my diet nor my promotional strategy.