One of the challenges I give to those who are working through depression is to seek counsel with a therapist and their friends. So maybe you are a friend of someone who is working through depression. I’m here to help.
More than 350 million people around the world suffer from depression, according to the World Health Organization. Loving someone who's dealing with depression can be difficult.
Someone dealing with depression needs Jesus’s hope and our friendship more than ever. It's not about what we say or what we do but rather how we love them.
Here are three ways you can love someone who's depressed.
1. Be Strong
Someone who’s depressed often feels alone, unloved and doubtful. As followers of Christ, we are called to strengthen and encourage each other. (1 Thessalonians 5:11; Hebrews 3:13). When David feared for his life, his friend Jonathan helped David refocus by reminding him of God’s strength and faithfulness (1 Samuel 23:15-18; Psalm 40:12). Like David, our friends dealing with depression could be doubting God’s faithfulness. Let’s encourage each other with the reminder that God is a promise maker and a promise keeper.
2. Be Patient
Depression often is not healed overnight. Be persistent in prayer and patient in person. To someone who’s depressed, questions like “Are you better?” and “Do you feel good today?” can sound like “Why aren’t you better yet?” In Psalm 40:1, we see that David waited patiently and expectantly for the Lord, while crying out to Him in prayer. Be patient while believing and expecting that the Lord will work all things for the good of those who love Him, including our friends (Romans 8:28).
3. Reach Out
A depressed person needs relationships with Christians who aren’t afraid to have uncomfortable conversations, pray with them or just hang out without any expectations. When we’re isolated from other Christians, it’s easier to doubt and feel unloved. But when we’re consistently reminded of God’s faithfulness and promises, it gives us hope that we can make it through whatever we’re facing.
It becomes difficult to love and support those who're dealing with depression when we don't see people like Jesus sees people. Jesus sees someone who needs His healing love. When we see people like Jesus sees people, we will be able to love and support our friends at all times (John 15:12-13; Proverbs 17:17).