Satan personifies evil, but he is no dummy when it comes to knowing what makes you tick. He can’t read your mind, but he diligently studies your behavior to identify your triggers – those things that stealthily pull you toward his way of thinking rather than God’s way. He’s relentless, but patient. If needed, he will spend months packing ammo into the barrel of his gun before taking aim and pulling the big trigger.
It’s been a few years now since depression reared its ugly head and looked me squarely in both eyes. I’ve never talked about it or labeled it quite so boldly, but thanks to Jesus I am not who I used to be.
Depression didn’t just come knocking last Saturday, it busted through my door and plopped down as a most unwelcomed guest. I’m writing about it in hopes of not only helping those who might be going through it, but to also help friends and family know how to help. Please understand that I am no expert. I can only share what I know from my own experiences. Your triggers, the way it causes you to feel, and your strategies to deal with it may be different, but I’ll bet you see some similarities. Satan might be cunning, but he is not very creative.
Depression hits me like a tsunami. It knocks my feet out from under me in one giant swoop and sends me tumbling end over end until I am totally disoriented. I’ve finally learned to recognize it quickly and, even though I hate it with a passion, I give in for a few days and go with the flow of the current hoping not to be taken too far out to sea or pulled under. It’s not a pretty site, but it’s necessary to keep from drowning.
This time Satan used a double-barrel shotgun loaded with fatigue and fear. 2018 had me worn and weary which caused me to doubt my abilities in just about every area. I became so fearful that even lunch with a small group of sweet friends scared the living daylights out of me. So, what are your triggers? Do you know them yet? Sometimes, it’s good to take inventory and identify the things Satan will use against you before he pulls the trigger.
I’m learning to simply be still and lean on Jesus. If you have a loved one who is depressed let them be still and give them some space. I know you don’t like seeing them depressed, but believe me they dislike it even more. It’s frustrating to have to become so self-centered in order to heal, especially for those whose goal is to love others.
Be understanding when they choose to limit their communication with you. By all means, go ahead and send that text or leave that voicemail. Reassure them of their worth and value to you and the world, but don’t be offended when they don’t respond.
Keep reminding them of your love. Just listen whenever they get ready to talk. Resist giving advice. Trying to change the behavior of a depressed person or telling them they have no reason to be depressed DOES NOT HELP. Telling a depressed person to snap out of it is like asking a toddler to carry a heavy suitcase up a flight of stairs. It is physically (and emotionally) impossible.
For me, hugs are huge. I live on them. I believe that being held minimizes the length of my depression. However, some people just want to be left alone. It doesn’t take long to figure out who’s who. Honor their need.
If the depression persists, get help. Go to a counselor or doctor who can administer the appropriate emotional or physical support that’s needed.
I guess you know now why this post didn’t come out on Tuesday, like all the others. 🙂 I’m running a little long today, so on Tuesday I’ll finish up with a great story about how I let Jesus step into my scene of depression. He comforted me in a way only He can, and the Holy Spirit sent just what I needed to begin the healing process. Until Tuesday … Happy Saturday!