With the passing of Robin Williams, depression has been a topic on everyone’s mind. It’s a trending topic on Facebook and on Twitter and the subject of many blog posts.
For my family, depression is never far from our thoughts. We deal with it almost daily in some way, shape, or form. When a celebrity takes his own life after battling depression, we all stop and take notice… Then we go back to our daily lives. But depression still lingers. It’s still there and those that battle with it are still fighting.
My husband has depression. It has not been an easy road for him. And let’s be honest, it’s not an easy road for those that love him either. As I write that, I feel guilty. How can I even compare what I’m feeling to what he’s actually going through? But we need to talk about it from both sides. From the side of the person with depression and from the side of those that love them.
I’m a pretty positive, upbeat person for the most part. I don’t let a lot bother me but I do have bad days. However, when I have a bad day, I sulk, drown my feelings in food and then bounce back the next day. I don’t understand not being able to pick yourself up and dust yourself off. I’ve never not been able to get out of bed and go on with my day.
My husband is not able to do that. For the first year or so (maybe even longer) after we realized he had depression, I wanted to fix him…I wanted to fix his hurt, take his pain away. I had a tough time dealing with the fact that he was not able to ‘pick himself up’ and that I was not able to fix him.
I’m a fixer. Why can’t I fix him?
Guess what, folks, we can not ‘fix’ a person with depression any more than we can fix a person with cancer. So then the question is…
How Do You Help a Loved One with Depression?
Wow, I wish I had the perfect answer to that. If I did, it would make things a lot better for everyone affected by depression. I don’t have all the answers but I can give you some insights from our family.
I happened to hear a Christian radio talk show while driving. The topic was depression. This post was just too long so I decided to talk more about that in a separate post…part 2 so to speak.
This talk show really opened my eyes. I have been trying to fix my husband for years. But I can’t fix him. What I can do is support him, love him and let him know that he’s not alone. I need to face his fears and give him answers. When he is at his lowest, he tells me that the thought crosses his mind that our family would be better off without him.
That hits hard.
No, our family would not be better off. We’d be devastated and would not recover.
I’ll be honest, I don’t know the best way to help a loved one with depression other than what I mentioned already. Depression is a beast and all we can do is stand by the person fighting it and support them. Give them some of our strength. No matter what… never give up on them.
You can’t force someone who is going through depression to seek out the professional help that they might need. You can talk about options however and, when they are feeling ready, you can help them find that help, such as depression therapy near you. Go through the details of the treatment with them and, if they are comfortable, you can even go with them for their first meeting with their new therapist.
Continue on to part 2: How Do Christians Deal with Depression