Depression is a beast. Sometimes you can spot it coming. But often, it sneaks up and grabs you from behind. At these times, the normal weaponry – self-care, support from friends/GP, comfort TV, maintenance meds – feel like sword-fighting with a plastic spoon. Or it would if you were up for a fight. Which, (along with other tasks like getting washed, cleaning your teeth and breathing), you’re not.
A friend comes to you and says that they’re struggling.
‘Tell me this will end.’
‘I can’t believe anyone else can feel like this.’
‘Why can’t I just pull myself together?’
and there are answers – of a kind.
‘It will end – but maybe not for a while – and even then, more slowly than you’d like.’
‘You’re not on your own – I promise. Other people can help – but yes, there are times when you feel unutterably alone.’
‘You can’t pull yourself together any more than you unravelled yourself to start with. That’s what sucks.’
You could say this. But what’s harder than solutions, is sharing in the sadness. Not offering suggestions or trying to fix. Not running from the force of a loved one’s despair.
Admitting – I don’t have answers. Acknowledging what’s separate as well as what’s shared. Allowing the silence to speak – even when it fills the room. Even when it’s deafening.
Taking yourself out of the solution. And recognising that there might not be one – at least, not in the way you want. Not in the way you find comfortable.
Most of all, remembering that the Lord often speaks – when we stop talking.