[Series] Caring for depressed friends
A little over a week ago I wrote a post called “I am Robin Williams.” It’s a very brief refection on my own experience with depression in light of Robin Williams’ recent death. Read it here. Many of us are aware–at least on some level–that our greatest hurts and our biggest struggles are often connected mysteriously to our unique contribution to the life of the world.
The response to my post helped me to realize once again caring for loved ones, colleagues, and friends who experience depression isn’t always easy, simple, or intuitive. Many of us struggle to know what to say to a friend who is experiencing depression. Some of us doubt it even exists as a medical reality. The effects of depression or melancholy have been observed among us for centuries. The word “depression” may be of recent invention, but the reality to which it points is as old as the Fall of humanity in Genesis.
In this series, I offer thirteen things to do or not do as you care for a friend with depression. I’m basing the series on the work of Timothy Rogers (1658-1728) who was a minister and astute observer of depression both in himself and in those under his pastoral care. He wrote a treatise entitled A discourse concerning trouble of mind, and the disease of melancholy (1691). It is incredibly insightful, especially when you consider that it was penned prior to the beginning of what we might call, “modern medicine.”
I’ll post each Tuesday. If you’re interested in receiving posts directly to your inbox make sure and subscribe by following the link to the right. We’ll begin tomorrow with by discussing the difference between spiritual and physical depression.