been written on the topic of depression, some worthy of the
press received, others not. Sadly, many of the newsworthy
articles on this issue pose more questions than they answer.
Seems everyone has an expert opinion on the whys and reasons
for suffering from this debilitating problem. While not everyone
would agree on why a person gets depressed, or even how much
of the experience is physically versus emotionally driven,
one aspect of this condition is pretty clear. The one who
is depressed isn't the same person he/she once was...and while
recognizing this fact, the depressed individual frequently
pushes away those closest to them during those times when
their need for support is greatest. This paradox alone can
be frustrating to loved ones and friends of the depressed
person for a variety of reasons.
depressed man or woman doesn't exhibit enthusiasm about anything,
what once drove and inspired now lays dormant and discarded.
There used to be a "give and take" to the relationship
that is now overwhelmingly one-sided. Dr. Welch's observation
that, "...we all shift back and forth between our roles
as physician and patient," is especially telling as caring
people continue to give without getting anything in return.
It is the tenacious soul who preserves despite repeated perceptions
of rejection by their depressed friend.
who seek to support and encourage a depressed loved one, Dr.
Welch cautions these helpers that they will experience resistance
and it will be hard at times to continue pursuing a loving
relationship. "Sometimes you will grow weary in loving.
We all do. You will genuinely love, but it will seem fruitless
or irrelevant. It won't seem to matter to the depressed person.
But know this: your love makes a difference. That doesn't
mean one concerted push to love will snap anyone out of depression.
By itself, your love will not change anyone." For the
depressed, time can stand still, for those observing their
emotionally distraught friend, time doesn't pass quickly enough.
They reason that time in abundance has already been spent
in this "phase" and they become impatient for life
to get back to normal. While no one can predict how long a
depressive season will endure, friends can gently promote
a few healthy patterns.
- Encourage daily structure that includes regular times
- Set up a simple schedule to accomplishing one new specific
task each day.
- Offer accountability, check in daily with the depressed
- Learn to discern the appropriate moments to interrupt
faulty speech or thinking patterns and speak the truth.
- Reassure your suffering friend that you are in it for
Welch encourages continued efforts by saying, "...depressed
people, like all of us, are aware of kindness and
love that is willing to sacrifice. Love always leaves
Howe is a book reviewer for Publishers Weekly, FaithfulReader.com,
Aspiring Retail and has published over 900 articles/reviews.
She works as a manuscript critique editor for the
Christian Communicator and writes on women's health
issues for the Toledo Free Press, Monroe Journal,
CBN.com, SingleMom.com, ParentSuperSite.com, CatholicMom.com,
and Radiant among other publications. Howe has also
published eight books for women including: Going
It Alone: Meeting the Challenges of Being a Single
for Homeschool Moms,
for New and Expecting Moms,
of Comfort and Strength,
to Nourish a Woman's Heart,
Prayers for Single Mothers.