Saturday, May 14, 2016

Shelter the Depressed with Hope




All of us have had friends in our lives who are depressed. Sometimes they admit it, but too often they try to hide their depression behind a masked smile. 

Those who have never struggled with depression find it easy to flippantly tell them to think positive thoughts. They have never experienced the dark hole, a place where light wouldn't dare to penetrate. 

There are endless tears cried in private, sleepless nights, and the call to give up.  


Here are five ways to help a friend experiencing depression:

1. Acknowledge their depression.
Don't try to ignore the obvious, or pretend it's something else. Urge them to see a professional to get help. Gently ask if they would like you to make an appointment for them. 

2. Don't try to "figure it out."
Yes, their childhood might have been dysfunctional. Yes, they may live with a demanding husband. Yes, they may have three kids under the age of four. Any of these could contribute to their depression, but often it can be a hormonal imbalance or any number of physical or emotional traumas. 

3. Reach out to them.
Often depression comes with self worth issues. They think they aren't worthy to be considered. Use, "I'm so happy you're my friend." "Let's go get a coffee." "I have some free time. Can I come over and work on your laundry?"

4. Give hugs freely.
Studies show that a sincere hug that lasts longer than 20 seconds can release feel-good chemicals in the brain and elevate the mood of the giver and receiver.

5. Brighten their environment. 
Move a cozy chair by a window. Drape a soft throw over the arm of the chair. Place a vase of fresh flowers and a lightly-scented candle on a stand nearby. Fill a basket with a journal and colored pens, light reading material, and a Bible. 

There will be days when you feel like you aren't helping, and others when you feel like your friend is regressing. Keep loving, keep praying, and keep making contact. Remember, "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18).












17 comments:

Kim Ebersole said...

Pam,

Thank you so much for this information. This will be so helpful.

Kim

Kim Ebersole said...

Pam,

Thank you so much for this information. This will be so helpful in helping others and a good reminder there are people who are suffering.

Kim

Lisa Joy Thompson said...

These are such great tips to encourage someone who is depressed! I have often found that texting scripture verses and kind words go a long way as well.

Caroline @ In Due Time said...

Yes! This is so good and so important. I love all the practical steps you give as well. What a great post

Jenna810 said...

I have found that just being quietly present, willing to listen, and offering love does wonders for almost any type of hard thing someone is going through.

Hylaandpeterechols.com said...

I love the tips you put! Light up the environment that is the one that stuck out to me the most. I love the idea of how important it is to surround ourselves some where its happier and lighter.

Marissa D said...

These are great verses for those battling any level of depression - and what great advice to be a good friend to those who are suffering - getting help from depression can be the hardest thing...

Marissa

Sharon said...

I have struggled with depression off and on in my life. Not the out-and-out clinical kind, but the underlying *blah* kind that takes a daily toll. I love the information that you have delineated here. There is nothing worse than feeling that depression is somehow your "fault" - which is how one feels when people tell you to get over it or try to fix it. More often than not, one of the most healing things is just having the company of someone who sticks with you through the wilderness...

GOD BLESS.

Marie said...

Great tips, especially the don't try and figure it out one. Sometimes there just isn't a reason for it.

@spreadingJOY
spreading-joy.org

Kalin said...

Great information, thank you!
www.thedivinepresence.wordpress.com

allysweet9788 said...

Thank you for sharing, these are great tips!

Faith said...

This is very helpful. Sometimes I want to help people move past "it" because I think that will be most helpful for their healing, but it's often ore loving to walk through something with a friend, no matter how long it takes.

De Bolton said...

These are some great suggestions and steps that aren't taught when dealing with your friends and loved ones and depression. I love it encourages opening the dialogue but sets up very clear cut boundaries. Thank you for this. We aren't given the skill set to deal with this type of situation so its nice to have a perspective and some guidance.

Mindy Whipple said...

Helpful tips and I love the sentiment at the top of your page - it applies to those dealing with difficulties in so many areas of life.

GLENDA CHILDERS said...

Such practical and helpful ideas, Pamela.

Fondly,
Glenda

Brianna George said...

Walking through with someone is one of the most amazing gifts we can give of ourselves.:)

ConciergeLibrarian said...

Sigh....unless you have walked a mile in someone's shoes it is best to proceed with caution. It is a shame that we have to hide what we are really feeling from our Christian friends.