I was recently asked to compose an article for Kathy Rushing at The Good Marriage Project . In the article, I share about how spouses can best support their loved ones who are suffering through cycles of depression. I also include 5 things a spouse can say to a sufferer to help them through the darkness. For additional biblical counseling resources about depression, please click here to view an entire page devoted to the topic.
My eyes were as wet as the dishes I was washing. The clouds of tears didn’t stop me from scrubbing as hard as I could, hoping somehow the clean of the sink might also mean the clean of my bleeding broken heart.
I was at the bottom of a two-week low—a particularly deep cycle of depression that I hadn’t visited in some time. Wading through the hormones, uncertain circumstances, and the barrage of mental assaults darting through my brain, I surrendered the soapy sponge and crumbled my head down to the counter.
This can’t be who I really am—this angry, bitter, spiteful miserable excuse for a person. But what if…maybe…it is? What if this is the real me?
As despair rung my neck tighter than a noose, I limped to the bathroom floor to curl up and cry. Feeling like a dying soldier on a bloody battlefield, I suffered the full weight of my brokenness. In pits such as these, there is no prayer, no Scripture, no consolation—just deep groans of a creature longing for redemption, mortal moans only the Spirit can interpret.
Depression Demands Hard Love
For the Christian fighting against depression, there’s an intersection where the gluttony of the “old man” and the thirst for the “new man” meet head-on. At this crossroads of contrast, where wretchedness and newness collide, the mental onslaught is at its most fierce. And at this break in the back, where despondency wrenches the hardest, the depressed are the hardest to love.
Naturally, when we witness our loved ones going through a dark place, we want to do everything in our power to make them better. Like a parent tending to a sick child, we scour for just the right combinations of antidotes that will alleviate the symptoms and ultimately make them well once again.
But with depression, quick fixes fall flat. One cannot always tell if the source of the depression is spiritual, physical, or psychological in nature—or perhaps a terrible combination of the three. And, as Ed Welch writes, “depression has a logic of its own. Once it settles in, it can’t distinguish between a loving embrace, the death of a close friend, and the news that a neighbor’s grass is growing.”