When I was a teenager, my older sister began to experience severe depression. I felt both sad and frustrated around her. I was sad because her sadness permeated everything. And I was frustrated because I didn’t think she had anything to be depressed about. Her life was good. She was married to a kind and faithful husband and had two darling children. What more could she want? To my teenage eyes, she seemed to be living a dream life. I had friends whose circumstances were far worse. Why couldn’t she see that and count her blessings instead of wallow in self-pity? I didn’t understand why she couldn’t “decide” to put her sadness behind and begin moving ahead. But I loved my sister, so I spent much time talking with her and began to understand something about hormone imbalances over which we have no control.
There are so many who battle depression for a myriad of reasons. Whether it is from a chemical imbalance, circumstances, or past experiences, the specter of depression weighs heavily on them. In her article, “Living with Depression,” Christy Lindsay suggests these ideas to help someone who is battling chemical depression:
- Ask God to help you believe your loved one isn’t lazy. He isn’t selfish. She isn’t trying to ruin everyone’s happiness. He’s sick. She can’t just snap out of it.
- Ask God to help you understand that you can’t reason or encourage yourself or anyone else out of chemical depression. Can you reason or encourage someone out of diabetes?
- Cling to the promise that Jesus won’t leave you or your loved one. He promised, “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt. 28:20).
- Get help for your loved one–get them to a psychologist and/or a psychiatrist.
- Don’t blame your loved one for their depression.
- Ask God to open your loved one’s mind to the possibility that he may be taking them through this isolation and misery so that they can help others who suffer as they do.