Depressed People Do Not Usually Look Depressed
Whose path have you crossed in the past week who smiled at you and spoke kind words to you, yet who inside is struggling with deep dark depression? Who will you come across this week who shows an outward countenance of everything being fine, yet who deep inside their heart are entertaining thoughts of suicide? The mistake we often make is thinking that depressed people look depressed. That is not the case. Most depressed people have become good actors and actresses. They have learned how to play the role of joyful husband, a happy wife, an encouraged friend, a cheerful son , a contented Daughter, but it's just an act. Deep inside they are dying and don't know what to do.
What can we do to help these people who look so normal but who are hurting so deeply? May I offer a few suggestions?
Stop spreading bad news.
We are to spread the gospel which is good news so why do we spread so much bad news? Stop telling people the bad things that are happening. Stop telling them what is wrong with other people. You don't know who is already on the edge because of depression and your words of bad news might just push them over that edge.
Stop assuming that everyone who acts like things are perfect has it all together.
People are hurting around you. Your Priest faces stresses you know nothing of. The employ you work with, the one that you think has everything together may be falling apart. Be more aware of the reality of hurting people.
Pray more for those you love.
Most of us pray very little, if at all, and when we pray we say so few meaningful things to God in prayer. Pray for people as if they are hurting because everybody is to a degree. That said...
Be sensitive to the Holy Spirit.
Sometimes the Spirit of God will tell you to pray for someone who at that moment desperately needs your prayers. If you are listening to gossip on the Internet you won't hear the Holy Spirit. You can't be sensitive to gossip and the holy spirit at the same time. The Holy Spirit often would tell us to pray for someone who really needs our prayers if we were paying attention to the Holy Ghost and not to the unholy gossip.
"Be good to everybody because everybody's having a tough time". These are words my one of my Bible Professors use to say and they are true. Believe it. You have no idea what one act of kindness could do to change the course of a person’s life, maybe even save it. We are to bear each other's burdens to fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2). Love is not words, it is deeds.
Stop being so self absorbed.
I wonder whose path I have crossed who needed me desperately but I was so absorbed in my own problems that I did not give them the time and the attention they needed. God help me for being so selfish far too often.
Stop looking for signs of depression and realize that sometimes there are no signs.
There are times when the person in the deepest darkest depression is the one who seems most fine. In fact it is usually not the person who is complaining the most who is suffering the most. That is why we must be good to the person who seems to be okay. The one who's always smiling and happy may need us more than the one who is always frowning and complaining.