What Your Depressed Friend Wants From You
I’m awkward with silence. You know the 7 minute rule followed by the “natural” pause in conversations. I’ve always tried to fill that natural pause with something. For the first time, I wasn’t able to fill the pause. Its like my brain couldn’t pull anything out. Therefore, many times friends and I sat in quiet. What I came to realize was that this silence was calming, reassuring as those friends chose to stay not because of fun, hyper, entertaining, and funny Ann but because of love, loyalty.
Then I realized that was God at this time in my life. His silence angered me. It brought fear to me. It was uncomfortable. It was what I needed but not what I wanted from Him. I didn’t value silence. Not until silence brought healing. An amazing thing happened during my bout with depression and anxiety. Out of desperation, I choose a week to spend most of each day in silence. I took a blanket and bottle of water into a banana grove and sat and waited. My motive was to hear God speak. You know, one of those shining bright light moments that sweep away the negative feelings I felt. But no memorable conversation or revelation came. But, for the first time in months, I was calm. I slept. I couldn’t figure out why. I now realize that my brain was healing in the quiet.
But, I felt quiet was not an option. I had dreams to fulfill, good ones and 4 kids to take care of. I couldn’t sit any longer. I didn’t realize that quiet would help me accomplish those dreams. So I tried to press on, fight, ignore, push aside, which probably extended my healing process.
Then there was family who listened to me for hours. Friends who sat with me quietly. A husband who held me in silence. Thank you for knowing that advice was not what I needed but your peace, love, acceptance, patience, kindness, and loyalty; that’s what I needed. From you and from God.
“Do to others what you’d have them do to you.” Jesus
How has this lesson changed me?
The younger me would often sit and pretend to listen to others but my mind was elsewhere most often on what I wanted to say next. I was quick to throw out advice, a verse of correction, a twinge of judgement.
Nowadays, I feel little reason to use my mouth. I believe all people are in the process of change. Love and acceptance flow from me in my thoughts towards others. I can take in others experience and perspective without a sense of judgement, arrogance, as if I know better. I’m free from feeling as if I have to change anybody but me. God’s job, not mine. I can sit quietly and love.
Nowadays, I continue accomplishing my dreams. A friend recently shared with me a wise example she had read in a book. Life is like parallel train tracks and we are the train. One track is sorrow and the other is joy. We are constantly moving forward on one track or the other. Often switching back and forth unexpectedly.
I guess what I’m saying is — accomplish your dreams. There is nothing in your way except you. Whichever track you’re on right now, carry on. You never know when a switchback might lie ahead.
To see all 4 articles I’ve written about my battle with depression, click here:
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