Day 28 of 31 days of depression.
*Dear Mel is an old column. No longer accepting questions.
My husband often tells me he doesn’t believe in depression. I’ve had other well meaning folks basically say the same thing. They tell me to cheer up. Stop being negative. Get over it. How do you make someone understand depression? It makes me feel even worse when I hear these things.
~ Fighting Unbelief ~
Dear Fighting Unbelief:
I too have heard those same things. It’s very frustrating and degrading. It’s certainly a fast way to make someone feel worse, isn’t it? My advice for your husband is to take him to your doctor appointments. Perhaps the doctor can help him understand it. Place some quick articles on it in the bathroom, the coffee table, the front of the fridge, and anywhere else he might read them. When you’re not upset about it, sit down calmly with him and tell him how it makes you feel when he tells you he doesn’t believe you.
You didn’t mention if your husband is a believer or not but when you are dealing with other believers, point them to the bible. They can’t really argue with God’s word. David is a prime example. Read the Psalms. Abraham was depressed about not having an heir in Genesis 15. Jonah was very unhappy – see Jonah Chapter 4. The Israelites were in the wilderness for 40 years and whined and complained, even when God provided for them continuously. There are ample examples in the bible about depression. These are just a few.
My personal thoughts on folks who give flippant advice like just get over it is that they have never experienced it. So they don’t really know any better. Try not to hold it against them. Most of us will experience some type of depression in our lives as we all move through seasons and times of loss. My response to those who tell you to cheer up etc is to say something along the lines of, “If it were that simple, I would have already done that. I’m doing the best I can right now.” or “Some problems within the body are invisible on the outside. This isn’t one you can just shake off. I’m doing the best I can.” Point them to the bible and how it is addressed in scripture many times over. Try to remember that another person’s opinion about what is going on doesn’t matter. What matters is what God says and thinks. Stay focused on that. ♥
*Do you have advice to share on this subject? Please do so in the comments below! I love the community here and how you all are so willing to help. I certainly do NOT have all the answers!
- Memorize this scripture: He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. Psalm 91:4
- See the doctor.
- Writing Prompt: Memorize some comebacks for those who question your depression. Make sure they aren’t attacking but factual and will leave you feeling like you spoke up for yourself. Don’t forget to write what you are thankful for and act on it. *If you would like a safe and free place to write, try this online journal at Penzu. It is password protected and you can even encrypt the journal if you need to. You can also use a fake name and junk email address for further protection. This way no one at home finds your personal diary entries.
- Pray: Lord, I pray for your wisdom when i deal with people who don’t understand depression. Help me find a kind way to counter their comments and protect my heart as I deal with these people. Help me continue to heal and move beyond this depression. In Jesus Name, Amen.
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* Legal disclaimer: Dear Mel is not professional advice but for entertainment purposes only. Melinda Todd, nor her readers, is not legally liable for actions taken by participating parties. To read the full disclaimer, you can go here: Legal Disclaimer.
Good advice! This is one of my pet peeves. Do not ever dismiss what someone else is going through, even if you don’t understand it or agree with it. Such an unloving and unChristlike thing to do.
Just a quick thought: Jesus was described as ‘afflicted’ and a ‘man of sorrows and acquainted with grief’. If God Himself in human form found this life to be painful, who are we to be different. At the same time, Jesus leaned on His Father during these times and stayed in the game. Because God never leaves us or forsakes us, we can be both in pain and yet effective.
I was thinking about that too! “My God why have you forsaken me” comes to mind too! Thanks for the reminder! It’s so important to know these things to help put things in perspective I think.
Yes! Good point 🙂
If depression is not real, I would like to hear the explanation for suicide.
A depressed person can no more “snap out” of a depression, than a person grieving the loss of a loved one can “get over it.” These are deep issues and take time. Some people cycle through depresssions. I have an adult male friend who, when hit with a depressive episode, cannot leave his house until his depression passes and this normally takes a few weeks. He cannot go to work, to church; he doesn’t talk on the phone; he is extremely withdrawn, and he can do nothing to lift himself out of it. And no medication can help him either. Normally he is a funny guy. A laugh a minute; a real people person. I have often found that people who joke around alot do have issues with varying degrees of depression.
Depression is very real and very much alive and well in our society today. As the pressures build, many more will suffer to varying degrees. Sad.
Judi Splint recently posted..Sometimes, people need to know someone believes in them before they can believe in themselves…..
So agree Judi!
Great advice! I used to be one of “those” people, because I just didn’t understand what depression really was. People use the word “depressed” so flippantly in conversation that it’s easy to miss the fact that there is a real and debilitating illness called depression. When my uncle committed suicide, I was only 8, but I remember the questions. I didn’t understand how someone could be so depressed they would come to that decision. But it wasn’t until I started to struggle with depression myself that I saw it for what it really was. I spent over a year trying to explain it away, treating it with natural remedies, reading my bible and praying and memorizing his word. Well meaning friends and family would tell me to “just get over it” or to “pray more” or “read your bible more”. When NOTHING worked, I felt like a failure. I wondered how I could call myself a Christian and be depressed. I would read His word, but it didn’t change what was hurting inside of me. And, in the Christian church, there is such a stigma against medical depression and medication to treat it. But, I finally came to my darkest place where I was having panic attacks more than once a week that my husband and mom (bless their hearts) finally said “you need to get help”. They knew I wasn’t really “me” anymore – that something was seriously wrong. And I knew it too – but admitting it was the hardest. Once I did though, it was so freeing to hear other women (and men too) tell me how they have struggled to – to hear them start to speak out and remind me I’m not alone in this. And, though my husband doesn’t “get it”, he knows that medication and counseling have made me “me” again and he has seen me in my darkest place. He has been my biggest cheerleader and I am so thankful for him.
Stephanie Hanes recently posted..Five Minutes Friday: Grow
I have just realized that I am cycling in my depression and that it gets worse each time. Just came to that conclusion yesterday, luckily in the Dr’s office. Good place to be when that smacks you in the face.
I want to thank you, Mel for leaving music at the end of each of these posts. I usually have a song on my mind and I look up the words and find it on Youtube. These days I just haven’t been much good at that. I get frustrated before I can locate the song I want to hear. But I can decide to listen to the song you have chosen and lift my spirits a bit with that!
You are welcome Amy 🙂 Music is so important in life but I think even more so when battling depression. It has a way to speak right to the soul and heart. I’m so thankful this series has spoken so much to you! That’s what this writing gig is all about for me 🙂