Monday, March 03, 2008

Sacred space at times of depression

Susan of Bipolar Wellness has spoken a number of times about how she needs friends around her who will be with her when she's depressed, understanding that she may not want to - or be able to - talk much. I also feel that is the best kind of support a friend can offer. With the help of author Peter Scazzero, I've come to think of that quiet space between friends as "sacred space."

In his book, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, Scazzero talks about how we need to recognize the uniqueness and separateness of other people and how true relationships "can only exist between two people willing to connect across their differences." And how true this is when one person is depressed and the other isn't! What a gulf there is between us at times like this! How can we bridge that gulf? How can we connect?

When I've been with friends who are depressed, I find the best way to be with them is to talk little, but to allow for lots of quiet time. We have gone for walks and I encourage them to talk about how they're feeling and respond a bit. But I allow for a comfortable quietness as well. That's the kind of presence I long for from my friends as well, when I'm depressed.

Scazzero writes, "When genuine love is released in a relationship, God's presence is manifest. The separate space between us becomes sacred space." When a friend will spend such comfortable quiet times with me, she cuts through the isolation I feel. What's more, a beautiful intimacy develops between us. And I sense God's presence.


Merelyme said...

hey there marja. you are a very good friend indeed. when i am depressed i don't always feel like talking but i do like to know that i am missed or being thought of. so thank you for thinking of me lately...i was more sick than depressed but your little note to ask how i was doing really cheered me up. thank you friend!

My Life with Bipolar Disorder said...

Thanks for this post, Marja. I am thankful to get to know you and other friends through our blogs. Friends are such an important support to one another. Someone says "A Friend in need is a Friend indeed". I am learning through my own need of friends, to be the kind of friend that will meet others need, by God's grace. May God continue to bless you as you reach out to help others.

Jace said...

I know you're based in Canada, but I'm sure you have many American readers that may be interested in a mental health campaign I'm helping to start. We just launched our website last week at I'd appreciate any of your thoughts and perspective. Thanks!

Dream Writer said...

At times, I think I need friends when I am depressed, but other times I stay clear because depending on my "Mood" whether I am irritable or whatever, I could actually chase my friends away.

I am not in a good mood when I am down and I am a pun intended. I could be very argumentative and so on, so I know to stand clear.

I think, though, people may take this the wrong way, but I think that I am doing the responsible thing because if I talk to others while I am in a pissy mood, forget it. I wait until I feel somewhat better and then I call others.

Sometimes, though, I think that I do need friends or family around, but I think that I really need more of an acceptance than anything.

I am talking in circles. :)

Renewed Daily said...

What an awesome message and so true. What we need is love and acceptance no matter what our mood. And often these are hard to find or reach out for. A true friend will know when we need them (if we around for them to see). And true friends are few and far between in this disconnected world. I thank God for my best friend Cathy - she is a true true friend indeed.
I love your idea of walking and just being with someone who is depressed - its just what we need. Just to be with another person and not necessarily to talk. Silence is a blessing especially among friends.
Thank you for your message.