Depression is real, but a lot of people do not understand it.
When I was depressed, I felt like my heart had a black hole in it sucking the life out of me. Most days I felt hollow, numb, and hopeless. And whenever I feel happy, it was temporary because it was just a matter of time that the black hole would suck it all in.
I tried to tell people about it, but no one cared enough, because maybe they didn’t understand. So I kept quiet about it, I resorted to writing about my illness, and dealt depression alone. Until I was reminded about God, and ever since then, I never ceased praying to God about my depression. Three years later, I can say that I am no longer depressed.
Not all people are like me.
No one deserves to deal with depression alone. But because a lot of people do not understand, and many do not know how to deal with people dealing with depression, numerous people who are concerned are having a hard time to reach out to them.
I am writing this with the hope that more people would effectively reach out to those who have depression. I am praying for people who would have the heart and compassion to let those who suffer understand the value of life.
How NOT to reach out to those who are depressed?
I have seen a number of Facebook posts about raising awareness for depression. It also includes a hotline for when a person is feeling suicidal. And at the end of every post, there would be a message like, “If you’re feeling depressed, message me.”
I understand that the motive is good. It intends to let those who feel depressed to be more open to people. But reality does not work that way. I cannot prove whether those kinds of posts are effective or not.
But I know that those who feel depressed would not open up easily about what they are going through, at least most of the time.
Reaching Out Effectively
“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry…” -James 1:19
If you happen to know a person who has depression, and you feel like you want to reach out and help that person, make sure that you have a healthy relationship with him/her. Establish a relationship wherein the person would be comfortable enough to open up about it. Do not urge the person to tell you about it. Be patient.
Be Committed, Be Intentional
The last thing a person suffering from depression needs is a person who cannot be there for them. When you decide to help, be intentional. Try to make yourself available as much as possible to that person you reached out, and make sure you make yourself clear whenever you can’t.
Be Quick to Listen
Reaching out to them is not much lending a hand, but more of lending an ear. Most of the time, people who suffers depression just needs someone to listen to them. That someone is aware of what they are going through, and that someone is intentional of letting them feel they are not alone in the fight.
Be Slow to Speak
Give encouragements and exhortations but be careful giving advises. People dealing with depression do not need passive advises like, “just have a good rest” or “you’re just tired, just wind down a little”.
Depression is not just some dust that you can shrug off your shoulders. Do not give invalidations like, “some people have it much worse.”
Be practical when giving an advice.
When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, But he who restrains his lips is wise. -Proverbs 10:19
There are also those who would say, “just pray about it.” Yes, prayer is effective. But there are people who do not understand the power of prayer.
So instead of saying “just pray about it”, pray for the person intentionally instead. This way, you are truly showing how powerful God is.
Along the way, seize the opportunity to share the love of God to them. No one can ever satisfy our needs but God. He is the only one able to fill the void we have inside.
P.S. I never used “depressed people” as a term. Depression is not an identity. Depression is an illness. You can get out of it. You will get out of it.
Related Article: I Went Through Depression And So Did Jesus
WRITTEN BY: YEV MONARQUIA