On the Outside Looking In
What if I’m reading this and I’ve never had depression? I have no idea what it feels like. I hope over time I will help bridge that gap as well as try my best to explain the affliction that is depression. Watching the heartbreak my husband went through dealing with my own depression and anxiety inspired me to share my perspective as well as his.
First let’s call a spade a spade, some of you reading this aren’t sure, depression is real. It appears someone is just self-involved, sad, negative or insecure. Well while those things might be true, and that’s unfortunately how depression is manifested to the outsider, the reality is there is a war being waged inside their mind. A war that no one sees, hears, or experiences. The individual experiencing this depression is in pain, and their pain is real and present. So how do we explain a battle that no one sees or hears? We’re unable and let’s be honest sometimes unwilling to share our inner most thoughts, even if we could, we wouldn’t want you to know. We know it’s not rational, and it doesn’t make sense. The biggest struggle for someone who is in the throes of depression, is the inability to trust their own thoughts. Their thoughts are skewed, irrational, and not based in truth. Another aspect that is hard for someone on the outside to grasp, is how day to day life seems so hard. Taking your kids to the grocery store, just sounds impossible. For me taking my six-month-old to swimming lessons, was about the only thing I could do in a day. It wore me out. The smallest of tasks has somehow depleted every ounce of energy I have. You feel as though you are carrying a 50lb weight wherever you go.
So, what can you as the friend or loved one, to walk through this trial with them? Listen, and then listen some more. It’s important they feel they have an outlet to be honest and open with. This should not take the place of professional counseling or medication if deemed necessary. (I’ll take more at length about medication). What would you do and how would you respond if this person had cancer, instead of depression? Maybe help with errands, offer to cook a meal, take them to a funny movie, watch their kids for a couple of hours, in short serve them and don’t take no for an answer. Be relentless in loving the individual going through this battle. They want your support, whether that is apparent or not. Listen to what they say and what they are going through. It may not make sense, it may seem unreasonable, but it is very real. They have lost the desire to do so many things, because of depression, day to day life just has no appeal. Remind them of who they were before depression. This is a wonderful gift you can give them, because they have lost sight of who they were before this ugly disease creeped in their life.