According to the World Health Organization, 350 million people in the world suffer from depression.
And I would venture to say all of us have received well-meaning but misguided “advice” from people trying to help us.
“Just look on the bright side…”
“Things could always be worse…”
“Just don’t think about it…”
And the PETER PAN of all bad advice, “Just think HAPPY thoughts!”
That’s all well and good, but riddle me this: when you see an approaching storm cloud, do you tell those around you, “Just think SUNNY thoughts?”
No. That’d be crazy, right?
Yeah, maybe now you get the idea.
Depression is like those approaching and encroaching storm clouds: we feel it moving into our spirit, but are powerless to stop it. Telling us to “choose happiness” instead of “choosing” depression is as foolish as expecting the whole “rain, rain go away, come again another day” thing to actually WORK.
So how can you help us?
Talk to us. Love us. Encourage and hug us. Ask us what seems to help, because most of us will have a clue.
“It helps to take a walk” or “I go to the movies” or “I need to be by myself for an hour or two, crank my music up and just jam.”
Faith, love, friendship and laughter help chase the clouds away. Eventually. It works, but it takes time, so be patient with us.
You are the bright, full moon in our dark and scary nights.
We need your patience. If we don’t respond right away, back off for an hour or two and then try again. We know you’re trying to help, and it means the world to us, but, even to those of us who are Christians, it takes a while to chase the storm clouds away.
The key is to never let us give up. God, family and friends are the reason we’re still alive.
If we’ve hurt you in the past, we’re profoundly sorry. It’s hard not to complain sometimes when you’re standing in the pouring rain unprotected. It’s hard to be nice and kind and good when the demons are smothering you with a pillow.
But your love gets us through. We are alive because of you, and shall never stop fighting the darkness.
That much we can promise.
And…thanks. For always being there.
We love you.