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How to help someone through depression

Depression is hard for everyone involved. Being depressed or taking care of someone who is can be challenging. Let me help you through the struggle.

Depression can happen to anyone of us.

Your crush broke your heart. You thought you were going to make the team only to find out that you were the only one cut. The loss one of your parents in a car accident. You lived through abuse. The person you married wasn’t the person you thought they were.

These and so many issues we face that can lead us down the dark road of depression.

I don’t want to minimize the pain of that in any way. Yet, I want to come at this from a different angle.

I want to share with you what it is like to take care of someone who suffers from depression. I also would like to give you a few tips on what to do when someone is depressed.

Because,

One of the hardest parts of depression is learning to love someone through it.

Depression is hard for everyone involved. Being depressed or taking care of someone who is can be challenging. Let me help you through the struggle.

For years, I have heard my wife talk about the challenges of living with depression. How if feels like the life inside of her is being drained before her very eyes.

She once described her depressions to me. Imagine you are walking down a tunnel. This tunnel is pitch black. As you are walking you realize that you are walking downhill. It feels that the more you walk forward the deeper the darkness gets. As you walk, you realize that you are carrying an impossible weight on your shoulders. Before you know it you feel lost without any hope of finding your way out.

Struggling with depression brings 3 feelings to the surface:

1. Hopelessness

More than any other feeling this one ranks first. Each time she falls into her depression cycle she tells me that she feels hopeless. That the darkness and depths feel so deep that it doesn’t feel as if there is any return.

2. Uselessness

This ranks as the second feeling that emerges. She wants to help around the house, but her depression prevents her. The fight to stay conscious is so strong that it takes all her energy to eat something. Thus she feels useless. Unable to do anything.

3. Failure

This is the most heartbreaking of the feelings. On many occasions, she has mentioned to me that she feels like a failure. Feeling as if she has failed as a wife, mother, and friend.

There have been some people who have criticized her inability to maintain relationships. They do not know the deep failure she feels that she cannot maintain a relationship with people.

She fights and fights to be a good wife and mother. Only to succumb to the darkness that envelops her.

Watching my wife struggle with depression is hard.

Going through depression must be impossible at the time. I cannot image what she must be going through. I can only watch as she struggles through it.

You might be like me. Someone who doesn’t struggle with depression but is a caretaker for someone who is.

Most people focus on the person going through the issue. Rarely is any attention given to the person who takes care of the person.

You see, my wife and I have been together for 17 years. It has been a challenging time. Yet, it has been a fulfilling time. I love my wife more now than when I first met her.

Being a Christian and follower of Jesus has allowed me to Love my wife unconditionally.

Yet, that doesn’t mean that I don’t struggle.

When my wife starts the cycle of depression all over again it puts me in an emotional place.

When I watch her struggle my heart breaks.

Let me share with you the top 3 feelings when she struggles.

1. Powerless

As a caregiver, there is nothing I can do to change her mood. Her condition is medical. Meaning, her depression is a result of her mental illness and a childhood full of trauma.

The feeling of not being able to do anything makes me feel powerless. There is NOTHING I can do to help. I am left vulnerable. So I turn to prayer. Praying that the next mood ends quickly.

2. Angry

One of the strongest feelings I have is anger. Every time she falls into a depression I am angry on the inside. I cannot be angry at genetics. She inherited the mental illness from her family.

Some people get mad at God. I am not. God didn’t do this to her. We live in a fallen world full of sin. Mental illness is a result of that.

Yet, I am angry. At what you ask? I am angry at some of her family members. Every time she falls into a depression I am angry about what certain family members did to her. It infuriates me.

I am have a strong faith. I pray for her and her family often.

My anger doesn’t detract from my faith. I am angry because of what they have done AND because I am powerless to fix it.

3. Pain

Reality time. My heart hurts for her. The hardest thing I have had to endure is watching her live with this challenge. If I cried I would have cried my tear ducts empty.

We try to live the best we can, but many times the condition leads the way.

I know many of you feel that similar pain.

Let me give you 3 ways I help my wife during times of depression. My hope is that they will help you make the depression suck less than it already does.

3 Ways to Care for someone with depression

1. Be a Servant

The best gift you can give is the gift of your service. On days that my wife experiences depression I am there by her side. I may be working on my laptop, watching T.V., or cleaning the house, but I am not far from her.

As she lays on the couch, completely aware but unable to move, I am working on her behalf. Making her meals, checking her blankets, praying for her, or drawing a bath I am serving her.

Before you think I am some super guy let me share this. There are times when I struggle with having to carry this much weight.

Yet, the best way I know how to love her is to take care of her.

Even though she cannot communicate it she appreciates it.

2. Be Patient

I have to remember that she is not operating at 100%. What takes me 5 mins to do may take her an hour.

My first inclination is to become frustrated. I have to remember that she is fighting a battle that I cannot see.

Instead of living in frustration I must live in love. As scripture tells me, Love is patient and is kind. With that in mind, I have to learn to give grace and be kind to my wife.

I tend to want to get things done quickly so that I don’t have to deal with them later. Instead of waiting for people I do it. Then I remember my wife wants to be part of the activity.

Even though she cannot move fast or be very active does not mean she wants to sit out from the activity.

To be patient is to invite the person into the activity and learning to move at their pace.

Remember, you have to be loving. Someone who fights depression is someone that cannot move at your pace.

Patience will help you show love by slowing down for them to keep up.

3. Be Present

Someone once asked me what to say to someone who lost someone. I thought that was a wonderful question.

My answer to them was this,

“They will not remember what you say, but they will remember that you were there.”

That statement applies to this situation as well. There may not be much conversation. You might not have any interaction at all. Yet, when the person comes out of their cycle they will thank you.

Why will they thank you? Because they KNOW that you were there.

You can be on your phone, watch T.V., clean, or whatever you want while you are with them. Matter of fact, you shouldn’t feel guilty for those things. When my wife is cycling we will watch T.V. together.

Being present means you are there with them through it. A simple touch, a warm smile, or a prayer can be huge for them. They will not return it, but they will know you were there for them.

My wife knows that I am not far from her. I need her to know that I am there supporting her as best I know how.

NEXT STEPS

I would love for you to do a few things for me πŸ™‚

#1. Please share your thoughts. I am eager to hear how you have helped someone through this? I am also very curious to hear what your thoughts are if you struggle with depression. Please honor me by commenting below! I look forward to engaging you through them!

#2. Would you consider sharing these retweets as well as sharing the article?

[bctt tweet=”The best gift you can give is the gift of your service. #bethere ” username=”Jim_burgoon”] [bctt tweet=”One of the hardest parts of depression is learning to love someone through it. #lovingthroughdepression #depressed ” username=”Jim_burgoon”] [bctt tweet=”Depressions Sucks. Learn what you can do to help someone through it” username=”Jim_burgoon”]

About the Author Jim

  • WOW Jim…

    Thank you so much for sharing your story here. I have a husband who battles depression and your insights on how to deal with it has been most helpful.

    Thank you!

    Dr. Lisa

    • Jim says:

      I am so blessed to hear that this has helped you! I am doing a blog series on depression in the next few months. I pray it will be a great help to you in your situation.

  • Your wife’s depression cycle sounds a lot like my PTSD cycles. I have complex ptsd as a result of childhood abuse – it gives me hope to know that the kind of husband I hope to someday have actually does exist.

    Your wife may not always be able to offer (or feel) gratitude for your service to her, so as a woman with similar issues, I will offer mine. You’re right – she may not always return what is offered, but I’m willing to bet on the fact that she is thankful to have you there, making a steady and dependable effort to love her anyway.

  • Anonymous says:

    I think that no matter if we have somebody with this problem or not, we all need to know all this type of information

  • Depression takes such a toll on everyone involved. I know so many family members and friends that suffer from depression and this article is spot on with both the emotions the caregiver feels and the tips for helping the sufferer cope.

  • Caroline says:

    Such a strong and helpful article. I think sometimes the hardest bit of depression is realising and accepting you have it. There is also such a stigma involved with it which makes it hard to confront it and then verbalise it.
    Really helpful info regarding something so very hard.

    • Jim says:

      You are so right! There is a very strong stigma happening in this country. That should not be. There should be an open conversation with the purpose of finding healing. I am hoping to be a leader in this discussion. Thank you for sharing.

  • Barb Shelton says:

    Jim, you are a gem!!!!! More specifically, a PEARL that is being conformed more and more into the image of Jesus through this “grain of sand” in your life! And this “grain” is not your wife, but this condition of depression that you both deal with. How BLESSED she is to have you as her lifelong partner! I just teared up reading these words of love, grace, and wisdom from your precious heart toward her!!!!!

  • Just “being there” for a person is awesome advice πŸ™‚ love your work

  • Jillian says:

    What a fantastic blog post. Easy to read, usable information and you somehow lightened up a dark subject. I’d love to come back and check out your other posts. Thanks!

  • Candace says:

    Depression is very difficult. Not just for the person suffering but to those around. It’s hard to help oneself, and equally hard for others to help. I wish it wasn’t something that people have to go through but unfortunately it is the story for a lot of people. Sometimes it feels like you’re drowning and don’t know how to swim to save yourself. There’s opportunity and happiness disguised as a life jacket but it’s too far away and you are unable to swim to it.

    • Jim says:

      I have watched people fall under the weight of depression. There are a few things we need to make it through. #1 a strong support system, #2 a plan when depression hits, #3 steps for your support system to follow in case something goes wrong, and #4 a time frame for when to take the person to see a specialist. I think if we put these things in place we have a better chance of making it through.

  • Excellent post! I once went through a period of depression in being diagnosed with a serious illness. I’m thankful that I didn’t stay in that period, but I try to keep it fresh in my mind in order to help others!

    • Jim says:

      I think helping others gives us purpose to our pain. It brings a legitimacy to what we went trough. Pain is never wasted when we leverage it to walk others through it. Thank you for sharing!

  • Sarah Bailey says:

    You are a very nice person and husband. I am sad that your wife had a childhood full of trauma. It is so hard to endure any kind of hurtful things especially when you are a kid. You will question your life and purpose. I hope that you and your wife will always love each other.

    • Jim says:

      We all have our trauma and hurt that we must process through. Sometimes we are given circumstances that are out of our range of ability to deal with. That is why we need others who can help us walk. My prayer is to always walk by her side as she walks by mine. There are days that I feel like I am the bigger mess. Yet, in our messes, there is a beauty that emerges.

  • I suffer from depression as well and some days are better than others. Thank you for bringing awareness to this

  • Tina Gleisner says:

    What a thoughtful description of what you’re experiencing, looking at what’s happening from several angles. I have a sister with mental illness and it’s hard to understand what she goes through. This certainly helps me gain more insight into what she’s dealing with plus ideas for how to support her.

    • Jim says:

      Thank you for taking the time to check the article out. I will be writting a lot more about Mental Illness. My hope is to help others through what my wife and I go through. We want to mentor people towards health. Let me know how I can serve you!

  • This is worth reading! Thank you for sharing about a glimpse of your life on taking care on someone who is battling with depression. These are very informative and have great tips on how to handle it. Thank you so much!

    • Jim says:

      Thank you for your kind words! My wife and I want to leverage our lives to help others. We are always blessed when we hear that people can find things from our lives to better theirs! Thank you for joining the conversation.

  • Angela Milnes says:

    Be there to listen. Make conversations about what they’re going through easy and open. Choose when to talk. Accept their condition. Get informed. Encourage them to get help. Back down if they aren’t ready. That is always I do when I’m trying to help someone by the depression. This topic is so relevant.

  • Aarika says:

    This is a really thoughtful post! Thank you for sharing. I really appreciate the different “angles” you propose as helping someone with and through depression can seem dauntless; your insight is truly helpful. Thank you!

  • Ewa says:

    A great guide. Each of us knows someone with depression, but sometimes we just do not know it.

    • Jim says:

      So true! Depression is an internal struggle. Sometimes it is visible. At other times it is not as visible. Thank you for sharing that!

  • Otilia says:

    I’ve been struggling with depression for years…even when I was a child unfortunately. It is hard but with strong support and acknowledgement I am now able to survive it better than ever.

    • Jim says:

      Thankyou for sharing! I appreciate your words, because it strengthens the article. With strong support it is managable. Thank you!

  • Alyssa says:

    What a great post with such thoughtful commentary for both sides of the relationship!

  • Jennifer says:

    As someone who has lived with a parent with depression, it can be so painful to see them live it. And you also feel useless because you cant magically fix it. But its important to be there for them and that they’re not alone.

    • Jim says:

      I always wonder how this will change my children. Will it make them stronger or will it make them prone to depression. My prayer is that they become stronger. I am honest with my children about it, but a dad can’t help but pray and wonder.

  • michelle says:

    I honestly can’t afford to go through depression because I don’t have people around me who would be patient so I have to constantly think positive and hope for the best. You are a blessing to your wife, keep up the good work.

    • Jim says:

      Thank you for sharing! I wish that deression was a choice. Sadly, for so many it is not. I am glad to hear you don’t experience it. I generally do not either. However, we all get low sometime.

  • From time to time I do feed depressed as I go through the monotonous routine in my daily life – wake up go to work, come home, feed the kids and put them to sleep and go to be. It can be tough after a while. Thanks for the coaching. I feel much better already.

  • Hmm. I’m glad you’re there for your wife. I know what it’s like to be depressed. My depressive feelings are the result of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I do have to say that people who suffer from clinical depression often feel it for no “reason” at all, which you did get to later in the post, but at the beginning you made it sound like it was the result of something bad happening.
    Anyway you sound like you take great care of your wife. As a society, I think we actually need to place much MORE focus on the people who suffer FROM the depression. I think we actually give a lot of sympathy to those who have to “suffer with us” and it’s a bit dehumanzing.

    • Jim says:

      Thank you for sharing your story! Depression comes in many forms. Some of it is a result of something bad happening, some of it comes with post partum, and then there is the clinical side. In whatever form it shows up it still sucks. My wife has co-occuring mental illness diagnosis. We have been walking through this a long while. Our heart is to share our stories and help people along the way. You mentioned PTSD. Your comments bring up a great question. Can people be born with PTSD or can we only get PTSD from issues in our lives? I would love to hear your point of view on that. I am going to have to disagree with the one point you made. After walking with my wife, in a number of circles, for the last 17 years I can say that the one who suffers gets the lion’s share of the attention. I think people who suffer from are getting way more attention while those what suffer which are assumed ok and thus left alone. I will agree with you on one point. All those who suffer from Mental Illness (in any form) are dehumanized via the stigma that exists. There are some M.I. that seem culturally accepted like OCD. Then there are the one’s like Bi-Polarism or Boderline Personality Disorder. These are instantly stigmatized. People who have them are pushed out of society as dangers to themselves and others. It is heartbreaking. Everyone, no matter what they are struggling with, deserve honor, love, and respect. Thank you for your thoughts.

  • The article was really helpful. Thanks for sharing.

  • Phaytea says:

    This is such as eye-opener…Thanks for sharing this. It should be on our finger tip

  • ELLIOT says:

    Thank you for sharing your story.i have learnt a lot.

  • I have suffered bipolar depression for 17 years… πŸ™ The only way is not to give up…
    http://altealeszczynska.blogspot.com

  • Am so inspired reading your post.wishing you the best

  • This is such a loving post and great example of the struggle of depression and how to help them. I really like the idea of having a servents heart and interceding with prayer of their behalf. It’s hard to take that kind of position when sometimes they cant reciprocate. Hugs and prayer for you and your wife ❀

  • Anna nuttall says:

    This is a great article. Thank you for sharing these tips-bit. xx

  • I appreciate your candor in this article. As someone who suffered from post-partum depression this totally resonates. Your caregiver tips are spot on. My husband learned and applied some of the same tips you mentioned. It really helped me get through a tough time. Awesome post πŸ™‚

    • Jim says:

      Thank you for the kind words! I am so blessed to hear that you had an awesome caregiver! The support you receive determines the success you have. It is that simple. No one says it’s easy, but it can be done! Thank you for sharing some your story.

  • Sonja says:

    Hard issue, but I love this useful post!

  • Sushmita says:

    There are wounds that never show on the body that are deeper and more hurtful than anything that bleeds. However, we need to get past those and focus on the coming future.

  • Anna says:

    This is such a great article. Depression is hard to deal with and it takes a lot out of you . Thank you for these awesome tips.

  • I love that you said you have to live in love and not in frustration. I am a firm believer that love can change the world. It’s wonderful you have learned how to be there for your wife because most people tend to just stay away those moments vs working through them and learning about their spouse. My partner and I don’t personally go through this but I had a good friend that did and her husband really didn’t understand or take the time out to figure it out. I commend you for your actions during these times with your wife.

    • Jim says:

      I have to say that I was not always successful. As a matter of fact, there are still times that I miss it. However, I continue the journey. That is why I started this site. To help others in their journey towards health and wholeness as we continue ours. The key factor in all of this has been our faith in Jesus. I don’t think we would have made it 17 years together without Him. My faith has taught me the value of sacrifice. The greatest expression of love is sacrifice. I want my wife to know that I love her completely. So I sacrifice for her. It dosen’t make me a hero. I don’t need people to tell me I am doing well (Even though I love hearing it πŸ˜‰ ) … What I need is for my wife to know that she isn’t alone. What we want is for my fellow travelers to be encouraged and have the tools they need in their hands to fight the fight of health! Thank you for your kind words and for sharing!

  • Ruth I. says:

    Thanks for sharing this. This is so helpful for someone experiencing depression. I also have it, there are times that I just wanted to die because I feel really useless and hopeless.But I am thankful and grateful that God is always watching and sending people to encourage me at that moment. I salute you for taking care of your wife. No one in my family knows my depression, imagine how I went through it alone each time.

    • Jim says:

      It isn’t easy to walk through this. It’s harder when you do it by yourself. My heart goes out to you. I am glad God has brought you this far. Remember, He isn’t done with you yet. There is still a journey a head of you. My prayers go up for you!

  • This is a well written thoughtful post and quite accurate! Sometimes just being is giving someone going through depression or anxiety time to move through the day at their own pace is what is desired. Getting frustrated and angry with someone with depression/anxiety only makes that person feel worse and more unable to function. Thank you for understanding and being there for your wife. Thank you for sharing your experience so others may learn. I will be sharing this as a scheduled post next week on my Facebook page Moments For “Me”.
    http://www.momentsformeonline.com

    • Jim says:

      Thank you for your kind words! I realize that there are a lot of people out there who are frustrated. The frustration comes from the things I mentioned in the post. It also comes from not knowing how to help. I want to change that. I want people to have the tools they need to manage and overcome these situations. Thank you for taking the time to check it out. Also, thank you so much for the share! Blessings!

  • What a great post. I know some who suffer from bouts of depression every no and then and honestly speaking, we all do. But its hard to know how to deal with those situations. Thanks for writing a post on this.

    • Jim says:

      Thank you for taking the time to check it out! I am going to post more and more on topics like these. We deal with these all the time, but no one is talking about it. My wife and I want to change that.

  • Echo says:

    This is an amazing post. As someone that lives with both depression and anxiety, the best thing that people can do is just be there for me. The best thing my husband can do is to show me continuous love and support, which he does very well!

  • Nay says:

    I’d never considered the issues of caring for someone with depression and how it would impact on your life. Your wife is very lucky to have your support and patience. I wish you both strength and love.

  • Jennifer says:

    I agree with you. Being patient while someone goes through is super hard. However, when you are, it really shows them that you care and want to be there if they need you.

  • Depression is so real yet not talked about as much as it should. I grew up around a family member that were severely affected by depression, but no one ever wanted to talk about it or even acknowledge it.

    • Jim says:

      True! What we don’t talk about never chances. Plus, the person who is going through it doesn’t have the support they need. It is sad, but it is how must people react to this. “If we don’t talk about it then, it doesn’t exist.” That mentality needs to change! Thank you for sharing!

  • Depression is such a serious illness that a lot of people take lightly. My mother suffered from this and helping her deal with it and get better was such a challenge and required me to be strong. So I can understand what you’re going through.

    • Jim says:

      I had this conversation the other day. It was about me being strong and healthy so that I can support others. I think that is very important. So often we give up our health for others. That is wrong. We need to fight for our emotional health so that we can help others with theirs. Thank you for bringing that up!

  • I think being present and patient is very important for those dealing with depression. I think when some people feel alone, unloved or ignored…that’s when depression can take a dangerous turn.

    • Jim says:

      So agree! Depression can already be dangerous. When there is a lack of support it can turn deadly. We have to make sure we have a strong support system! Thank you for that reminder.

  • I have to say that I lived with someone with depression for years. It can be very difficult. Unfortunately with my case there were other co-morbidity issues that made dealing with the depression next to maddening. I wish the best for you and anyone who has to deal with it.

  • Amanda Love says:

    What I noticed is the lack of support and understanding for people who experience anxiety and depression. It’s heartbreaking to see them suffer more because of that. This post is really eye-opening. I hope a lot of people get the chance to read this.

    • Jim says:

      All I ask is that you share this post with as many people as you think it’ll help. We have to get the word out. Many people need love and support. However, they do not get it because people don’t understand what is happening. They always don’t know what to do. Posts like this are designed to help people get a footing and gain confidence to reach out and help.

  • Glenda says:

    I have a sister who has been struggling with depression. She has been seeing a doctor who has helped her a lot. Our family also gives her a lot of support.

    • Jim says:

      The ones who beat this issue are the ones who have the greatest support. Support is the greatest weapon against all these issues. Glad your sister has such an awesome support team! Thank you for sharing.

  • Janine says:

    This is such an inspiring and an eye-opener post. My friend has become depressed lately and I really didn’t know how to handle her episodes, and I finally had an idea how to because of your post.

    • Jim says:

      That is such an encouragement! I am blessed to hear that you have the tools you need to help your friend! Let me know how I can be of further assistance. Thank you for sharing.

  • What a thoughtful post. I have been on both sides of this issue. My husband has always been the one to help and love me through my depression, and I’ve had to help family members through theirs. I love every tip you have here πŸ™‚ Thank you for sharing.

    • Jim says:

      So blessed to hear that you have an awesome support team! Those who beat this issue are ones who are supported the most through it! Thank you for sharing.

  • Depression is no fun and sometimes people can get a little insensitive. It is hard to explain unless you have been there but though we have not been there that does not mean we have to be insensitive about it. My heart goes out to all those who struggle with this

    • Jim says:

      Yes, people definately can be insensitive. I am guilty of this as well. When we started dating I didn’t understand what she was going through. I am not one prone to depression. When she was depressed I would tell her to snap out of it. After 17 years of togetherness (dating and marriage) I am finally understanding what she is struggling with. My heart is to help her. So I had to learn how to be more compassionate towards things I did not understand.

  • Jodie says:

    Thank you for sharing πŸ™‚ I have depression and anxiety and often feel it will push away any partner. I just want someone to listen and patient and understanding i guess. It’s nice you seem to be that for your wife. I can relate to everything said from her perspective too – the failure, anger and powerlessness most of all get to me x

    • Jim says:

      Thank you for being real! It is hard to talk about our emotions and fears. I am glad you have. When we are fighting with ourself it is natural to push people away. My wife pushes me away at times. The difference is that I push back. I don’t want her to think she can get rid of me that easy. I kno that there is someone there for you as well! Keep hope!

  • Emma says:

    Such an inspirational post. Depression has such a stigma attached to it that needs to be dispersed. It’s such a common condition that if only people would talk about it – others wouldn’t feel so alone or hopeless!

    • Jim says:

      So true! I think depression, suicide, and mental illness all need to be talked about in a healthy way. It bothers me that it isn’t talked about more. We are all part of the human race trying to find compassion from others as we struggle through these things. Thank you for sharing!

  • Thank you for writing this article. I think many people have lots of demons that haunt them and to the outsiders looking in, we have not basis to draw from. It is nice that you flip the coin so we could see the other side, and allow ourselves to find empathy for something we may not understand first hand.

    • Jim says:

      So true! Empathy is so needed for situations like these. It is hard enough to go through. It is even harder when you feel like there is no one to connect with. I am grateful that this article has helped you. Thank you for joining the conversation.

  • Anonymous says:

    I work at a mental health clinic and see deoression first hand daily. This is a very real post!

  • eazynazy says:

    I have been thru depression and thankfully my husband had alot of patience with me and eventually am out of it .

    • Jim says:

      So blessed to hear that! I am happy that there are people out there willing to walk through the struggle with others! Thank you for sharing.

  • I haven’t experienced depression myself, but if I put myself in your wive’s shoes I can see why she feel hopelessness. I love how you are by her side unconditionally and how you share your point of view.

    • Jim says:

      Thank you for your kind words! I heard it said that the greatest thing someone can have is perspective. The more perspective we can have the greater appreciation we can develop for those that struggle. I am glad you were able to see from a new perspective. Thank you for joining the conversation!

  • Whimsy says:

    Such a great post πŸ™‚ This topic needs to be discussed more often!

  • This is a very good post. Often times, people don’t really know how to deal with friends or family that are experiencing depression. We want to be there for them but we don’t know where to start and this post just clears all that up.

  • Miranda says:

    So I have to say, I am totally moved by your post here. I think that you are doing a commendable thing by loving your wife through it. You are a super guy, to her and the many who see you going through all that you’ve gone through with your wife. Do know, coming for someone with bipolar, that you are making a difference. A difference in how people view what should and needs to be done to help someone struggling. A difference in how you carry many burdens but appear as a superhero, even wothout a cape, to so many!

    I have a superhero too, he saved me in so many ways. Id like to tell you that the feelings of uselessness and feeling like a failure are hard pills for the menatlly ill to swallow. We want to do better but feel powerless and do not know what to do to make it better. Lastly, I’d like to thank you for all you do for your wife! There are many who would see the first episode and start running for the hills. It takes a very strong person to love someone through their depression. Kudos to you, and thanks again!

    • Jim says:

      This is one of the most encouraging posts I have read. Thank you so much for your kindness. My wife and I decided a while ago that we would leverage our situation to help people. We have been fighting these conditions for a long time. It is one thing to fight them, but another thing to use them to help others. We have been fighting, learning, and growing through this. Our faith has strengthened as well. Now, we want to bring awareness, tools, and tips to help those who are struggling. You are so right about the running thing. I hear of many stories were people divorced because they could not handle the illness. My wife and I have been together 17 years. I am not going anywhere. She deserves to be loved and I am going to do that. I couldn’t image her going through this alone. I don’t ever want that for her. Superhero? LoL, I am not that. I am just a guy who loves Jesus, loves his wife, and wants to help others in similar situations. Thank you for your kindness and for joining the conversation!

  • This is a great article. I think a lot of these tips are useful for coping with various mental illnesses as well!

    • Jim says:

      I agree. What I find is that these tips can be applied in a number of places. Yet, I find that they do work well in situations were depression is high. Thank you for joining the conversation!

  • Torie says:

    Very good article! I have a few friends that call me talking about depression and I never know what to say to them or how to react.

  • Jay Simms says:

    Thank you for sharing this. My mother is going through a state of depression and I have no idea how to help her.

    • Jim says:

      I pray that these tips help! Let me know how I can be of assitance to you. I have been battle this with my wife for the last 17 years.

  • Rachel says:

    I think so many people suffer from this. Not many people are willing to be honest about it though so thank you for this post!

    • Jim says:

      NAMI says that 1 out of 5 people have a mental illness. There are a lot of people who have it. There are not a lot of people talking about it. My wife and I want to change that perception. Thank you for joining in!

  • wendy says:

    Depression is such a hard thing to go through. It is always a plus when you have someone who cares for you there to have an ear open and understand what you are going through.

  • Thankfully we don’t have this issue in my marriage. My husband and I neither one are prone to depression. My mother tends to be bipolar, though she would never get an official diagnosis because then there would be an official record of it somewhere. She’s very weird that way. Every once in awhile she calls me up and tells me she doesn’t know why anyone bothers living, and I can tell she’s going through a bout of depression. She used to threaten suicide when I was a young child. Back then it terrified me, now it just annoys me, but she has other mental issues where she’s basically abusive so I try to avoid her as much as possible. She is a mental drain for me, and I have my own family to take care of. She continues to be this horrible way to my father, but I refuse to deal with her anymore.

    • Jim says:

      It is a tought situation to be in. I can empathize with you. It was tought before my wife was diagnosed. As I see it, your mom is operating our of her condition. Remember, it is a disorder not a decision that she is making. She cannot control what is happening. A lot of time they feel as if they are the victim of their own minds. My wife use to tell me that she wanted to stop the behavior, but no matter how hard she tried she couldn’t. In the end, your mom will need to get help. Either through her decision or through her being baker acted. I am praying for you!

  • Tee says:

    Very timely for me. Thanks so much for these tips. I know someone going through this right now and it’s tough being around them. The hardest part is when they’re in denial – they think they’re fine/ok and right in everything when they need professional help. BUT these tips help in the meantime.

    • Jim says:

      I am blessed to hear that these tips will help you! I have seen people live in denial. It is tough to watch. They know something is wrong, but they don’t want to admit it. Admitting that there is a problem is the first step towards healing the problem. Thank you for joining the conversation!

  • Jen says:

    I agree with this. Mental disorders are so real, so incredible of you to write so in depth on such a heave topic. This brings light to so many people…

    • Jim says:

      Thank you for your kindness. My wife and I desire to help others in the same situation. Our situation hasn’t always been optimal, but if we can leverage it for someone else then it is all we need. Thank you for joining the conversation!

  • oh man what a great post. i have had my issues with depression as well. I remember when it first happened I didn’t even know what it was. i think patience is very important. Especially from your loved ones.

    • Jim says:

      That is so interesting. You didn’t know what depression was. How did you discover that it was depression and not something else? I would love to learn more about your story!

  • Natalie says:

    Sometimes I feel like I go in and out of depressions depending on how well I am dealing with life. All 3 pointers for helping someone deal with their depression is right on point. Being a servant and being patient with me helps me in many ways. It shows an ample amount of support. I need to be left alone often to recharge and think. So many people do not get this. Amazing post!

    • Jim says:

      Thank you for sharing the side your story. Although it isn’t the greatest feeling in the world to go through it knowing that you are able to make it with the right support is a blessing. I am praying for you!! Thank you your kind words!

  • I think it is best for someone who suffers from depression should seek help from a professional. They know what to do and how to deal with it. It can be a very difficult time in that person’s life.

  • As someone who has been on both sides, I can’t tell you how much this posts feels like it was written just for my eyes. I was a shoulder for my best friend when she was battling depression. Still to this day I feel like I just know when she needs me. It’s like a silent plea. But with myself…I tried to hide from the fact that I had Postpartum Depression. I told myself, “It’s been 7 months since I gave birth. I had a great birth experience. I love my baby. My husband is the best! I can’t be depressed.” I battled with my milk production, I lost weight, and I went into a dark place, and I stopped taking care of myself. I just stopped living. I carried on a routine for my child, but it was like I wasn’t a person anymore. Just a robot.

    And one day my husband sat down next to me and said, “You’ve tried harder than anyone should have to. Our baby doesn’t need breast milk, she needs a sane mother.” And he became that shoulder for me. He knows me well enough to know I don’t have patience with myself. I get too angry with myself when I don’t see instant progress. He was so gentle and supportive. I still don’t think I’ve ever physically told him that I know what he was doing for me in those days and how thankful I am.

    Thank you for this post. While it made me relive some really dark days, it also made me realize how far I’ve come and how thankful I am for where I’m at!

    • Jim says:

      Thank you for sharing your story!! I am honored to read it. I love that you had someone there to help you walk through it. My wife struggled with breast feeding as well. It was incredibly hard for her to walk throguh that. I had to have a similar conversation with her. She was almost desperate to make it work, but the cost on her was too great. Eventually, she saw the truth and stopped. My wife, who struggles with Mental Illness, held onto that for a long time. She is working past it now, but it was a hard road. I say that to say this. You are NOT alone in your struggle. I am so blessed to hear that my post has encouraged you. Thank you for joining the conversation.

  • Erin says:

    I can’t even begin to imagine what it’s like having to live with depression. It’s such a terrible mental illness that effects so many – my mom is one of them. I’m on the opposite end of the spectrum so I can’t really relate but I count my blessings every single day that I didn’t inherit it from her. Thanks for bringing light to this.

    • Jim says:

      Thank you for sharing! I, like you, am not someone who struggles with a mental illness. Also, I am not a person who is prone to depression. When I was a teen I struggled, but after that I haven’t really struggled since. However, I live with the love of my life who fights for her life everyday. I have taken the role of caretaker. It has been a struggle, but we are learning to get a head of this! Thank you again for sharing!

  • Beth says:

    I didn’t struggle with depression until after menopause.. each cycle gets worse. Added to my depressive cycles is the guilt of what I do to my husband. This last time was both the deepest depression and the best response for both of us. I just kept to my daily routine, a routine I’d developed between cycles. My husband kept encouraging me to keep to the routine as well. Even though the depression was deeper than it had ever been the devastation was less.

    • Jim says:

      I love what you said here. The daily routine helped with the depression. I am sorry that you have to go through it, but I know that you will be victorious!!! Thank you for sharing.

  • jessica says:

    beautiful post and beautiful angle. being patient is so important but challenging, especially when it’s someone you love. support systems can make all the difference to people struggling with mental health and it sounds like your wife is blessed to have you in her life. cheers and love to the both of you.

  • Wendy Polisi says:

    This is really helpful to know the behaviour of depressed person. Depression is a serious issue and we should know everything about it and be sensitive.

  • Elizabeth O. says:

    It’s nice that you’re discussing this very sensitive topic. A lot of people often neglect others that are going through depression and most of the time, they don’t take it seriously. What we don’t know is that these people really need our support and encouragement. I think this is perfect for those who want to help but don’t know what to do.

    • Jim says:

      I agree! They need our help. You are right that so many don’t take it seriously. It is sad. People deserve our love and support. Thank you for sharing!

  • Ashley says:

    This article really resonated with me, considering there are several people close to me who struggle with depression. It can be hard to know what the right thing to do is but this really helped. Thank you for all of your amazing advice.

    • Jim says:

      Thank you for joining the conversation! I hope that you can put it into practice. Don’t be discouraged at first. It takes time. Once you get into the routine of it you will see that it isn’t as hard as we think it is. πŸ˜€

  • No matter what she’s been going trough the important thing is, there is someone who love her unconditionally that will never leave her side, and that is how lucky she is. There are certain ways that a depressed patient must do like seeking balance in their emotional health and lives like meditation, exercise, cutting caffeine intake, proper medication and a lot more.

    • Jim says:

      You are so right. The amount of things that they have to do is incredible. It tires one out just thinking about it! Thank you for sharing and for your kind words!

  • Shirley says:

    I found this so helpful. One of my friend had gone through this and in know the pain. It requires so much of your will power.

    • Jim says:

      Yes it does. The fight to stay awake (and alive) is so intense that it takes all their strength just to do it. That is why I rarely ask for anything to be done when I am around people who are depressed. All I want to do is serve them. Thank you for sharing.

  • Patience is key to many things in life. I know you’ll pull through! πŸ™‚

  • This is such an important topic and I know your post will help so many people. Depression is very real and very challenging, and being able to actually do the things that will help someone is such a huge relief for their loved ones, who often feel helpless.

    • Jim says:

      Thank you for your kind words. I appreciate them very much. I believe that people would step up to the challenge is they were given the right tools and encouragement. I want to provide both! Thank you for joining the conversation.

  • I have dealt with my fair share of depression and these symptoms are all too familiar. I know it must be hard for those around me, but I feel lucky to have a great support system.

    • Jim says:

      A great support system is the difference between finding healing and getting worse in your condition. People make all the difference. I am blessed to hear that you have such an awesome support system! I know that means you will always have someone to pull you through. Someone who will walk with you. Thank you for sharing!

  • I love the way you write about your wife. You can just feel the love you have for her in the words you’ve chosen.

    • Jim says:

      Thank you so much for your kindness. I am head over heels in love with her. She is my hero. Thank you for joining the conversation!

  • MaryAnne Carey says:

    Jim, you and I have talked during my depressive times. I will say this you were more help than you know. I have spent 21yrs. in psychotherapy on and off. I was being treated for chronic depression and PTSD. Recently I went to the therapist because it became unbearable again. When my children were young I suffered without a partner who supported me, in fact he wasn’t even aware of me. Today my children are grown as you know and I don’t share myself with them. I find prayer the number one help for me and surrounding myself with friends who know me. I’ve grown in love and hopefully in patience with myself each time this occurs. I will pray for your wife in her experiences. And I ask that you pray for me.

    • Jim says:

      Thank you for your kind words and for sharing your story. What I have discovered is that most people do not even know where to start when caring for someone with depression. It can be overwhelming. When going through it along make it even more overwhelming. Your strength and courage are inspirational. Thank you for sharing. I am blessed to see you are getting the help you deserve.

  • Kash+Mike says:

    It’s wonderful when people are great caregivers. That job should never ever be underestimated!!

  • I have major depressive disorder, and I think this post is really good and on point. Thank you for sharing, we need more articles like this.

  • Sheila says:

    I found this so helpful. I’ve struggled with depression, so that helps me know how to care for others who have it, but it’s great to read something that articulates that so well.

    • Jim says:

      Thank you so much for your kind words! I appreciate you sharing your struggle as well!! Let me know how I can be of help.

  • Joely Smith says:

    My daughter suffers depression. When she was younger I was right there to help her. I am blessed, as is she that she has a wonderful man by her side now doing what I once did. I often check in on him because he needs support too! I am going to share this article with him. Thank you, for sharing what it is like to have depression, and be with someone who is.

    • Jim says:

      Thank you for sharing your story. I love how your daughter has had the support she needs. I am super blessed to see her husband wasn’t forgotten either!!

  • tara pittman says:

    Being patient is the best one. It is hard to watch someone suffer but you seem to understand.

    • Jim says:

      It is very hard to watch. I think it is even hard sitting but with no ability to do anything about it. I am praying for you on your journey! Thank you for joining the conversation!

  • Marissa B says:

    I struggle with this too (I have a depressed loved one). That person’s depression takes the form of bitterness and anger sometimes, though. I totally struggle with resentment and anger myself as a result. Advice?

    • Jim says:

      I can relate to your struggle. Depression takes the form of anger and bitterness often. People are angry that they have to go through it. They become bitter when they cannot seem to find a way out of it. The thing that helped me the most is understand that a lot of their actions are rooted in the disorder they face. Often times it is not their decision to do those things to people, but is a result of the disorder. That helped me understand my wife better. She loves me with all her heart. However, the disorder will take over and we have to allow it to play out. It hurts, but I know it isn’t what she really feels. So I give grace and prayers in that direction. Thank you for joining the conversation. Pray it helps! Reach out to me if you’d like to further the conversation.

  • DM says:

    The last couple of posts have really hit home for me. I have fought so hard. I feel abandoned both from man and God most of the time. I barely live and for some reason, I am OK with this. I help others, they say. I listen to their issues and encourage them. Its all just routine. I was taught what to say, how to act. No one ever taught me how to believe what I am saying though.
    You know my story. I am alone. There is no human contact. You know the only human to physically touch me besides my doctor was a neighbor about 2 months ago. I had fallen. She was giving me a hand up.
    Its weird. I am isolated in a crowd and no one realizes or cares.

    • Jim says:

      What I find is that when people have a low self-esteem or a low self-worth we believe that no one cares for them. In what your describing I would say that the damage you have must be healed so you can see what is truly around you. Years of emotional damage can lead us to believe a false narrative about life. Once we frame our world with this narrative it is very hard to change the pattern. I believe that change can happen if the person is getting the right kind of help. If you have not already, I suggestion you reach out to a professional and start working through the process. Then put yourself in circles to build relationships. Remember, you are changing the narrative. Hope that helps!

  • Talisa says:

    As someone who has had bouts of depression before, I’m grateful that more people talk about it. I have felt powerlessness, anger and pain time and time again, due to PTSD. Alot of people don’t grasp that being patient with us is key; the depression doesn’t happen overnight and neither will recovering from it. Lovely timely post. Subscribing to your blog!

    • Jim says:

      Thank you for sharing! It is always exciting to see someone who can add value through their struggle. My wife and I believe that we are put here to leverage what we are going through to help others. May this, and other posts, bring healing to your life! Thank you for subscribing. Welcome aboard!

  • Allie says:

    I love this article! I totally agree that is must be hard to love someone who is depressed. I think you hit the nail on the head with feeling powerless. I struggle with anxiety and I think these are great tips for loved ones for that, too -especially “be present.” Just being there for that person can mean so much!

    • Jim says:

      I will be praying for you!! Thank you so much for taking the time to read the post and for joining the conversation. That feeling of powerlessness is the worst. You want to do something to “Fix” the situation, but you know that you cannot. It is terrible. However, we are navigating our way through this thing.

  • Jacqui Odell says:

    These are great tips!! I think the most important one is to be patient. Depression is a hard thing to deal with it.

    • Jim says:

      Depression is extremely hard. Especially, when you are not the one going through it. Patience is paramount when walking through this with someone! Thank you for joining the conversation!

  • robin Rue says:

    That must be so difficult to live with. Thanks for the tips to help people help those suffering with depression.

    • Jim says:

      My mission is to help others through their pain to find healing. Thank you for taking the time to check it out. I hope you check back!!

  • silvia says:

    Thank you for this article, I believe we all know someone who has struggled with depression, and a lot of us are affected by it at one point or another during our lives. I think you are right, especially in the “being there for them” aspect. In my experience this has been the best way to help my loved ones when they were going through a bout of depression- activities and long discussions may be exhausting or irritating for them, but just having someone in their corner I feel makes a world of difference.

    • Jim says:

      Thank you for saying that!! My wife has told me similar things. She isn’t interested in long conversations. She is interested in just “Knowing” I am there. Thank you for joining in the conversation!

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