By Nancy Virden (c)2021
I have both experienced depression and lived with people who were experiencing depression. At a conference, a woman asked me, “How do you pull someone out of depression? What can I say to make my husband feel better?” My answer was of the bad-news-good news type.
First, the bad news.
Naturally you want your loved one to return to normal. When there has been a job loss, or your relationship is strained, or your children are suffering because the parent with depression does not play with them, it is difficult. Perhaps a friend has depression and you miss the way your friendship used to be.
Complaining and frustration will never snap anyone out of depression. As deep is your longing to fix all this, you do not have the power to change someone’s depression and make them healthy.
Now for the good news!
From dozens of people I have met who struggle with depression, one common thread emerges; All I want is to know someone cares. This is good news because it is simple for you to do and makes a meaningful difference. Here are a few possible ideas from people in need of that care.
- Stay with me and be silent.
- Send me texts, emails, IMs, snail mail, voicemails -anything! Let me know my life matters to you. Keep in touch even if it takes a week, month, or several months for me to reply.
- If you say you will visit, do it. Do not break promises.
- Mention you miss me. Remember who we were and remind me you believe we can be that again.
- Acknowledge I am doing what I know to do. Applaud my efforts – any effort.
- Ask me outright, “Are you thinking of killing yourself?” Call 911 if I express any plans or intent to do so. If I’m angry at you for calling, at least I will be alive. Eventually I will understand that you care.
- If you tell me in anger to “take a pill,” you are being a jerk. If you remind me to take my medications, you are kind.
- I may not be able to believe it when you tell me you love me or care. Tell me anyway.
Today’s Helpful Word
“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you…” -Jesus
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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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