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Help with Depression
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Depression is a very difficult and varied condition. That's why it is difficult for one person to speak for another regarding how to manage it. If you, like I, have experienced depression, you know how to relate to others who may be battling it. If you have not experienced depression, you may still want to help, but you aren't sure how. Here are some suggestions to keep in mind as you try to aid a friend or loved one.


1. Realize that depression is not simply being in a bad mood or having a sad day. Depression is a real condition, which has many levels of severity. It can have a variety of causes, but the result is the same. It's dark, it gives a feeling of helplessness and sometimes even hopelessness. Passing through it is not simply a mindset or demonstration of will power. So, first recognize that depression is real. It may or may not require medication, but that's not your call.

2. Recognize that while prayer and trust in God are, indeed, the major keys to healing, having depression does not automatically mean that the person is not experiencing a true walk of faith. Don't counsel as Job's friends did, assuming that things must not be right with God or else this wouldn't be happening. In fact, remember that in Job's case, his suffering came because he was walking with God.

3. Look up Bible verses using key words like Hope, Joy, Comfort, and Peace. Compile those verses and handwrite them personally onto a “thinking of you” card. Present it to the person, letting them know that you are praying and claiming God's own words for them while they're passing through this difficult time. Encourage them to do the same, reading the words aloud so that they hear them with their own voice.

4. Listen. Listen. Listen. Even if it is silent. Listen. And if it is appropriate, offer a gentle physical touch. Give her a safe place to be herself.

5. Don't think that you have to have the answers. I remember my husband telling me during my hardest time, “You are going to get better. I don't know when, but you will get better.” This was perfect. If he had said that I'd be better the next day, he would have had no credibility because, after all, how could he know that? But he simply encouraged me that there was hope and that it would, indeed, arrive. And he was right.

6. Pray. Pray. Pray. And tell the person you are praying. Thank God while you pray.

7. Direct him to Dr. Neil Nedley's website www.drnedley.com Perhaps you would even want to give as a gift to them Dr. Nedley's book called Depression: The Way Out. This is a very informative, practical, and helpful book filled with ways to understand depression, how it works, and most important, how to find the way out!

8. Try to encourage her to keep busy. This is quite an assignment sometimes as depression often causes people to want to withdraw, sleep, or find other ways to escape. You might want to call each day if she is willing to allow this, and discuss the activities of the day, asking her what she's planned for the next day. Commit to taking a walk with her a couple of times a week. It would be good for you too!

9. Introduce him to nature's natural remedies. These are fresh air, sunshine, water, nutritious food, spiritual food, exercise, moderation, and rest. These are extremely important in handling depression. Taking a walk includes fresh air, sunshine, and exercise all in one, so that would be a good place to start. Again, Dr. Nedley's book covers all of these remedies.

10. Pick up a CD of classical music, particularly Bach or Beethoven, and encourage him to listen to it in the car or at least twice per week. This is another proven method of Dr. Nedley's successful treatment for depression.

11. Be yourself. You don't have to be perfect. Just be genuine, enduring, non-judgmental, and most of all, take them to the Lord in prayer each day. Presenting a loved one to the Comforter is the most loving thing we can do.

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By Gwen Scott Simmons. Copyright © 2008 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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