We are standing in the gap and praying for you that God would touch and heal any broken pieces. We hope that as you read our series on anxiety and depression, you realize you are not alone and that there is help! God did not call you to live this way and we are here to share our story and offer you hope.
Depression and Anxiety affects not just the person struggling with depression, but also the loved ones. We discussed on the last blog that 40-70% of caregivers for those struggling with depression end up falling into anxiety and depression themselves because caregivers need just as much attention and support too. My sister was transparent in sharing what this has been like for her and we hope this helps those of you who are just at the end of your rope!
Michelle – You can go online and find a number of websites and links that offer support and the lists of do’s and don’ts, what to say and not say to someone struggling with depression, but I have found that everyone is different. There were things that helped me and there were things that made it worse for me.
I think my sister and I literally had to figure this out along the way and learn as we went.
For me, things that I hated to hear were:
- You’re too emotional
- You’re so sensitive
- That’s not what I said. You’re twisting my words
Some of these phrases seem innocent and they probably are, but to someone who is already struggling to hear, see and think like a normal functioning person, it can literally be a matter of rising up in the moment or spiraling down quicker, and usually the latter succeeded.
Depression and Anxiety have been a struggle all my life, but I’m here now to say that without my sister, I would not be here.
There is something to be said about someone that completely sacrifices their lives and ways and “normalcy” to jump into your darkness and pull you out, even if it takes years!!
I knew my sister was in this for the long haul because her faith in my healing never wavered. She spoke to me as if I were already healed and it made the difference between life and death for me.
To go through something like this, words cannot express what it means to have a best friend that literally sticks closer than a sister. This girl literally laid her life down for me and I know that together we have learned so much about God, each other and ourselves. I know for me, my sister’s times of tough love forced me to fight my emotions and stand stronger. Her words that often pierced like a knife, were in fact sharpening my edges and her sporadic stern tone in certain situations toughened my skin right where I needed it. I didn’t “want” it, but God knew I needed it! He brought me exactly who He had planned to unlock the prison doors of my bondage. My sister remained faithful and never gave up, walked out or made me feel less than or inferior. I literally would not be here if it weren’t for my sister!
We refer to www.adaa.orgfor our resources on anxiety and depression, and here is a list of things you, as a caregiver can do to help your loved one struggling with depression and/or anxiety. My sister and I discussed this list together and also added our own personal thoughts. Discussing it together and sharing our hearts has made a huge difference in the healing process for us both!
- Learn about the disorder. Understanding what your friend or relative is going through will help you give support, as well as keep your worry under control.
- Encourage treatment. Offer to drive him to an appointment or attend a therapy session with her.
- Realize and accept stressful periods. Modify your expectations of how your friend or relative should act and be sure to be extra supportive during difficult times.
- Remember that everyone experiences anxiety differently. Be tolerant, supportive, and nonjudgmental. Respect his or her feelings even if you don’t understand exactly what your friend or relative is going through.
- Be encouraging and don’t get discouraged. Give praise for even the smallest accomplishment. Stay positive.
- Ask how you can help. Listen carefully to the response.
- Talk to someone. Being supportive all the time is difficult, so make sure you have someone—a friend, family member, or counselor—to support you, too. This support system may be especially important if your friend or family member is not seeking treatment.
We will continue to share our hearts with regard to anxiety and depression as long as the Lord wills and if any of you need prayer or to share your personal stories, please feel free to contact us at any of the links below.
For more information on anxiety and depression, please visit www.adaa.org
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