The conversation goes something like this:
"He has been really having a tough time. Things at work have not been going well. And--he's dealing with some depression."
"I keep the curtains closed most of the time. Some days I don't want to get out of bed. I know I'm dealing with some depression."
"My wife has been trying to get me to see the doctor. She thinks I may be dealing with some depression."
"How long does it take for this medicine to make difference? The doctor said it might help with my depression"
Lots of people have or are dealing with some form of depression. For some people, it might be fairly mild (no less frustrating though), perhaps related to a difficult circumstance in life. On the other end of chart might be people who suffer with severe depression. Still others might have long patterns of this in their family. I've had numerous conversations with people whose experience with some form of depression ranges very widely. Some of these people include:
- Business people--both men and women
- Church leaders
- College students
- Young marrieds (both men and women)
- Older people--having been retired for quite sometime
While we still lived in Kansas City, I began to experience something that didn't feel quite right. Most of it was related to my work--my ministry. It was a tough situation and the church was experiencing some severe conflict.
Once, a friend of mine called from another state. At the time, he had a weekly subscription to receive Sunday morning sermons from our church. He was straightforward and to-the-point when he he asked me over the telephone, "What's wrong with you? In some recent messages, you sound so hesitate and unsure." That was jarring at first but it actually helped. It jarred me enough that I realized this hopeless, numb feeling (sort of like not feeling anything at all) was impacting my life. (This had actually gone on for a number of months before I realized it).
So--Charlotte and I visited with a good friend of ours, a physician, about the situation. That was very helpful. Then I saw a Christian counselor for six months, along with taking medication. Seeing him every other week, was one of the best things I've done. There were a number of other things that helped as well. That was very helpful. Nothing happened overnight. But months later, things were better. And--I was handling the stress of the situation I was in much better.
This might be foreign to some reading this. Perhaps you've never experienced anything that could closely relate to any kind of depression. Meanwhile, others have experienced a kind of depression that is more lingering and severe than what I have just described.
The other day, someone asked in a comment about how to best support people who are experiencing some kind of depression. (She was concerned about women in particular who deal with this). I think this is a very good question. Perhaps you have seen or experienced the kind of support that was particularly helpful. Right now I am wondering about the following:
- What kind of support is most helpful at such a time?
- What kind of friendship is most encouraging to a person struggling with this?
- What is the place of the church when a person is wrestling with this?