When I set out to write this my desire was to come up with something that would help people understand a loved one who is going through depression. “I just don’t understand” are words that I’ve heard come from countless individuals who stand by on the sidelines, sometimes drenched in feelings of hopelessness as they watch a loved one muddle through life feeling a sense of hopelessness themselves.
But as I write this I have come to see that my goal isn’t to help you understand. Because unless you have battled depression or mental illness on your own it’s hard to understand what your loved one is going through. It is hard to know how to fight when you’ve never been knee deep in the battle.
But what you can do is empathize.
To show empathy doesn’t necessarily mean that you understand. And it doesn’t even mean that you agree with the journey that they take to receive their healing. If psychotropic medication and therapy sessions have never been your reality you might wonder why the person you love can’t just snap out of it. I imagine if it were that easy they would have by now.
By simply being sensitive to the fact that someone is dealing with a mental illness you are showing empathy. And perhaps you are saying, look, I don’t understand what you are going through, but I am aware that you are indeed going through.’
In thinking of my own struggles with depression I can tell you what has helped me the most – but first I will tell you what hasn’t…
Read more on The Complexities of Depression over at The Conscious Perspective.Tweet