A few years ago, our family met Pastor Parato at a retreat in Montreat. It was a blessing for our family in the midst of very difficult ministry. In fact, I was in the throws of my depression when we were there. Every year we looked forward to our time with a loving a supportive community and Pastor Parato was part of that family. She keeps a blog over at Minister's Musings. Drop by and hear her latest sermons or read her thoughts on church and life.
A few years ago, she wrote a post entitled, Helping Someone with Depression. She has graciously agreed to allow me to share it here with you. I hope that you find her recommendations helpful and encouraging.
Helping Someone with Depression
I'm part of a wonderful ministry called "Celebrate Recovery," which is for anyone who wants to deal with a hurt, habit, or hang-up. Even those of us who are leaders are recovering from something. In fact, I've been surprised at how much I'm personally getting out of the group.
My struggle is depression. The bad cycles for me tend to run every three years. I've come along way, but I still consider myself in the recovery process.
For a depressed person in the midst of a depression spell, it can be hard to articulate to those around you what it is that you need. So thinking with a clearer mind, I've come up with a list that I think can help loved ones and care takers help someone who is going through a depressed spell:
1. Keep the house as quiet as possible--Loud music, tv shows, or voices cause agitation in the depressed person and want to make the person withdraw even more.
2. Allow the depressed person some extra sleep and rest, but don't let the person stay in bed constantly.
3. Give the depressed person a specific task to do and give them only one thing at a time.--Make a list or schedule of things the person needs to do, but do not give them the whole schedule, just one task at a time, and if the task is still overwhelming, help them with the task.
The depressed person needs to do something, especially something that can be considered helpful or necessary.
4. Keep as much of a routine as possible. The depressed person will function better there is predictability. Surprises are not good for someone who is depressed.
5. Give the gift of your time. Be ready to listen, but even if the person does not want to talk, just sitting and being with the person lets the person know that they really are not alone.
6. Use words of encouragement, not criticism. Do NOT tell the depressed person to "get over it." This is not helpful and can be harmful.
7. As soon as possible, the depressed person needs to do something for someone else. Anything that can get the person serving and less self-focused is good. Depression and self-centeredness often go together, although which is the cause and which is the effect isn't always so clear. The person needs help becoming outwardly focused.
As always comments are closed on my posts concerning depression, but I would encourage you to email me at HoHaBlog@gmail.com if you have any questions about the posts or my personal journey with depression.