What does depression look like? Do any of us really know?
If we’re being Frank, depression wears many hats. Sometimes it presents itself with tears and sometimes it takes the form of a smile. Tears are easier to spot and confront, but the latter is far more dangerous. A smile can hold so much that is hidden beneath the surface and it can be a battle to break through the walls people have built to protect the fact that their depression exists.
Depression can hit anybody. It could be yourself, your parent, your friend. What we do about it is important. It’s not enough to sit by. It’s vital we step up and be there. This may mean giving up your time to talk to them for five minutes when you see them in the street or inviting them out when you head out for a walk with friends.
People want to feel wanted, involved and cared about.
When I lost my dad, there were a lot of people that said they would do this or that to help out. But not a lot of them actually did. If you know someone needs some support, depressed or not, get into the habit of being there.
Just be there.
You can . . .
make arrangements to do something,
have all these ideas,
say you will do something specific,
. . . but none of that matters unless you actually carry out the action.
Rachel Scott talked about the idea of a “chain reaction” before she was killed during the Columbine massacre. She believed that if one person did something that would bring light to another person’s day, then it may encourage them to do the same. Eventually, this can become a chain reaction of positive actions strung together to have a great impact on those around us, both near and far.
Imagine what the world would be like if we made a conscious effort like this to make the world better!
Never assume that everything is okay because someone has said so. You may need to prod and probe deeper occasionally, but it’s worth making sure the ones you love and care for are truly okay. Isn’t this what Jesus would do? He would make sure we were fully okay because He loves us. His compassion for us is so profound, and if we are made in His image as Genesis 1:27 tells us, surely we should be striving to act the same way.
But what happens when the grips of depression become too much to bear? What happens if we aren’t there for someone in their darkest time of need?
If you know somebody who fought a battle with depression that eventually became too much, as my friends and I have done recently, you’ll understand the unending questions. The soul-searching that takes place afterwards.
What did I miss?
What could I have done?
When did it get to be too much?
It’s times like these that we need to look to our friends for strength, finding solace in shared grief and disbelief. It may not seem appropriate to meet up with other friends, but we need to be lifting one another up in times of joy and sadness. Too often we overlook the sadness because we don’t understand. But we need to support each other.
This doesn’t mean that time alone isn’t valuable or necessary. It’s just as important to take time away to think things through, and can be done sitting in your bedroom, or on a midnight walk around town.
But ultimately we need to seek Jesus. He is the only one who holds all the answers. We will never understand the torment some people live with, or their actions, but God knows the whole story. He may not share every detail with us but we can find the comfort we need in Him alone, for in Christ alone our hope is found. He is our light, our strength, our song.
Isaiah 25:8: “He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the Lord has spoken it.”