By Nancy Virden (c)2021
L.O.V.E. can stand for Listen, Observe, Validate, and Encourage. This is what you want from others when you are in any kind of pain. You want empathy, prayers, and sincere noncritical acceptance. As Jesus said, “Do for others what you want them to do for you.” (Matthew 7:12 see below)
What to say and do or not say and do for a friend who has depression is determined by a few factors.
The six letters of the word STIGMA form a helpful acronym. Today’s blog finishes this series by looking at A.
A = Anger
Impatient demands, threats, and scolding are not only unhelpful but also not representative of Christ. Jesus spoke kindly and gently to suffering crowds. He answered Nicodemus’ questions. In the case of the ten lepers, he sent them to professionals to validate their recoveries.
Let us picture a child who never witnesses love in her home. How is she as an adult to understand, “Quit self-pitying, God loves you”? A man expresses his depression through anger. Since he never saw a man share his feelings in a healthy way, how is he to recognize, “Stop being so irritable. Be kind”?
These are examples of lack of reference, not refusals to cooperate. In fact, faced with reprimand, both may return to hiding their feelings until sadly, depression takes their lives.
If depression or anxiety has someone crying in a closet, ignoring their family, or staying home from work, show patience, not impatience. Encourage instead of criticize. Say, “You are capable” instead of “Why aren’t you?” Keep on believing they can return to health.
Try to honor your friend who has depression each time they progress, no matter how small the progression may seem to you. For example, if a woman has been in her room for days or weeks, and comes out to sit or eat with the family, acknowledge that. Keep your expectations low and hope high.
Depression is accompanied by negative thoughts. Feeling like a burden is common. A sense of worthlessness may be overwhelming. Anger and scolding can build on false beliefs of not deserving love, and not being good enough.
Offer the best medicine by speaking as Christ did, and as you would want from others if you were in the same situation. L.O.V.E. -COMMENTS WELCOME
Today’s Helpful Word
Matthew 7:1-4, 12
“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.
“And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? …
“Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.
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Always the Fight Ministries (ATFM) has been displaying compassion for those fighting mental illness, addiction, or abuse since 2012. Nancy is the founder and voice of ATFM and openly shares her emotional resurrection from despair.
NOTE: I am not a doctor or a mental health professional, and speak only from personal experiences and observations. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.
If you are feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.
If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. or go to your nearest emergency room. In the EU call 112. (For other international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours!
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