Over the course of 2019, I’ve encountered the topic of depression several times with those around me. Depression is real and it shows itself in many forms.
So here’s a “check on” list to help us become a little less self-centered and a lot more self-sacrificing of our time and effort towards those we say we love.
Check on your parents. You may think you’re grown now. But they may be experiencing a little empty nester syndrome and don’t know what to do with themselves right now. They want to be wherever you are. Create a new identity all of a sudden. Or they lack an identity altogether. They’re married but don’t know how to talk to each other anymore because so many years of their lives have been consumed with what you were doing and now they feel like they don’t know each other.
Check on your friend that just had a baby. There is a such thing called postpartum depression. That thing is so real it will eat them alive if they (and close relatives) aren’t careful. These mothers aren’t just grumpy because they’re tired. There’s a battle on the inside that they don’t understand. They post pictures of their babies so you can see how cute they are, but what about mommy? Her body has just been through a traumatic experience. She doesn’t feel the same. She has a new title attached to her identity. A new human attached to her. Where does she go from here? She needs an encouraging community and a super supportive FOB (father of the baby). Check on your new mommy friends.
Check on your friend who’s super happy to be out of a relationship. Sure. They can be happy all day and celebrate the fact that they’re “free”. But the level of soul ties they now have to break free from is no joke and they aren’t even aware.
Check on your friend who just graduated college. It’s a dog-eat-dog world out here. For the past four years, they’ve been categorized as “student”. Now everyone expects them to be “adult” with no smooth transition system in place. They’re trying to come to grips with this new place society wants them to be in. They’re struggling to find a job that will make them feel like they’re doing something important. They’re also just struggling with the fact that they need to find a job to pay bills period. They have heightened anxiety from the expectations and glares from their parents and peers who seem to have “made it”. Check on your recent graduates.
Check on your friend who lost a friend. We have a tendency to forget that they have to deal with not having that person around everyday. No matter how good they look at social gatherings, they’re inside may be crying out for those they’ve lost. The Father of time heals all wounds but the memories don’t fade fast. They can sneak into your conscious mind like a rushing wind and shake you to your core at a moment’s notice. They also have triggers. Triggers are reminders of what’s no longer there. Check on your friends who lost loved ones.
Check on your grandparents. Everyday they feel that their end on this earth is near and depending on how they lived their life and what they regret, that can’t always be a comforting feeling. They need a smiling face. The phone to ring with a bright voice on the other end just to check on them. They need to still eat healthy. Feel like someone loves them. Experience new things. Feel some sun on their skin. They need to feel like everything is going to be okay. Check on your grandparents.
Check on the person you hurt. This doesn’t have to be a consistent thing. But it should be a thing. No matter who they are. No matter how long ago. Sometimes even the smallest things we do to hurt others (whether unintentional or not) leave lasting effects. Check on them at least once. Make sure the air is clear. The bible says if we have an alt with our brother to go to them, yes. But sometimes, people are too stubborn or too scared. Bottom line though, you know that you affected their lives in a way. Make sure everything is clean and clear on your end. Check on the person you hurt.
Last, but not least, check on the person who hurt you. It’s crazy sometimes how guilt can eat a person alive. They haven’t dealt with their feelings so they speak rudely to you or act as if you don’t exist to silence the scream in their own minds. It’s not you. It’s them. Check on them and let them know they are forgiven. They too can be too stubborn or too scared to admit wrongdoing. Your peaceful extended olive branch could break the ice in their hearts and bring them the peace they need to move on.
I made this list because I’ve witnessed each of these or experienced them at some point. As Christians, we sometimes try to pretend things like depression doesn’t exist, but they do. It isn’t because God isn’t great enough to reach us in these areas. It’s sometimes because we can’t even see our way clear to get to Him. No one is around to remind us He’s there. And that’s why He created community – other God fearing individuals who can see what’s happening and provide aid. Be a friend, a guide, a counselor, an intercessor.
We are constantly in a war for our minds, but we don’t have to fight the wars alone or leave others to do so. We CAN find comfort in Christ, His Holy Spirit and those He placed in our lives in each season of transition.
P.S. Depression is real, but God is more real and ever present. He WILL help in times of trouble.