How to Love Someone with Depression & Anxiety
By Madison Moericke
I wish that I didn’t have the experience necessary to write about this topic. I wish I could tell you I have never suffered from depression or anxiety and that no one I love has ever suffered. But the world is not perfect, and I’ve walked through the darkness myself, as well as loved those in the mist of it. I want to give you some advice on how to love someone who is going through depression and anxiety, so you can help them instead of harm them.
First, I have learned that, there is going to be a time when you are going to get angry. You may get angry at them, at God, at yourself, or at the situation that lead to the depression or anxiety. But know that anger is a secondary emotion. More often than not, you are scared, confused, feeling abandoned, sad, and maybe just overwhelmed and tired. Seek help. Seek guidance. Talk it out. Journal. Seek out a life couch. Anything is better than a continuation of hurtful words you wish you never said. Because the truth is when you love someone with depression and anxiety, you may feel like you are suffering too. And that is very common and very real.
Second, making sure that YOU are healthy mentally and spiritually is vital to helping the person you love. It offers them a safe place to share their lives. And more often than not, they don’t need answers they just need you to listen. When you least expect it, if you let the Holy Spirit guide you, you can say things that speak to people in the deepest place in their hearts. Things they desperately need to hear. Chains can be undone because you allowed yourself to remain connected to the spirit and healthy with our walk, even when someone you love is suffering. In some of the darkest moments of my life, I have had people who have listened to the Holy Spirit and spoke His words into my heart when nothing else was penetrating it.
It’s not easy to love someone going through depression and anxiety. But my friendships today would be very different if I had chosen to let the anger in my heart win. In fact I may never have had the opportunity to even know the women on the big blue couch, had I let my feelings and my selfish ideas take over. My marriage would have had ended, in bitter conversations and a lack of compassion. I haven’t always made the right choices. But my God is full of grace.
The truth is I don’t have all the answers for how to love someone with depression and anxiety, but I do have some experience and a few well- earned pieces of advice. I don’t always know what to do to help the ones I love in their darkest moments, but I know Jesus does. And even when it hurts I choose to believe that there will one day be freedom for those I love.
Until then, I speak truth into their lives. I seek guidance. I ask for help. I journal. But most of all, I’m present. I’m present for them when it hurts, when it’s awkward, and when it’s the last thing I want to do. If you are struggling today, and someone you love who is suffering from depression or anxiety, ask yourself how vital this relationship is to you. If you love this person enough… then make the choice to fight for it. Fight Like hell. Because the person you love is worth it.