Friday, October 01, 2010

In need of a lifesaver

I wrote the following in November of 2008. I don't remember writing it, but there are clues there that make me realize it was indeed me. I can still relate. I still have the same needs at times. Though I do know I have a lot of supportive friends, I do sometimes wish that I did not have to reach out to them as much as I need to. And I do wish they would call me a bit more often when they know I'm in trouble. People do tend to be afraid to contact friends suffering from emotional problems. I think it's understandable. It's so hard to know what to do or say when you haven't experienced such troubles yourself.

I’ve wanted to write for long time about how Christians could best offer support to their depressed friends. As someone who has needed support for over forty years of struggle and having given support for the last two, I believe I am well qualified to give such advice.

Today, after over a month of increasing depression, I wish someone would call me and throw me a lifesaver. Though people say they care and that they’ll be there for me, they seldom call and I feel that to call them I would just be a bother. I call them, but that’s not like being thrown a lifesaver. It would be nice if they would reach out to me once in a while. Then I would truly feel supported and cared for.

I feel less and less able to do the things that are required of me, more and more wishing I could go on strike and forget about my commitments. I’m afraid I might sink.

How helpful it was to have a friend call with a plan to do some Christmas baking with her when I’m feeling better! That became a window of hope for me, giving light and giving me energy to do some things again.

My memory is poor - very poor. I don't even remember writing this. Neither do I remember ever actually ending up baking with this friend. Never-the-less, she did something wonderful for me in giving me something to hope for. She didn't push me to come and bake with her immediately, sympathetically recognizing that it was beyond me at the time. Such a comfort not to be pushed into something I wasn't able to enjoy just yet.

PS: Over the last two years since I have written that, I think I've learned something. I learned that others have problems too and that I should not always consider my needs greater than theirs. I need to - even in the midst of my own struggles - reach out to them and consider their needs too. I need to call them to find out how things are in their life. We all need to care for each other.

And you know, when I do that my depression doesn't affect me as badly.


Liz said...

Hi Marja,

I'm a Spanish girl that wrote some months ago here. My brother has a mental illness and finally he could go to the doctor and start some treatment last summer. I found a lot of hope and also reality in reading your posts here and I'm thankful for that! It was hard to know how he felt but I wanted so bad to understand him and what he was going through! But I knew God did understand him.

I'll pray for you, Marja. I truly hope that God comforts you in the midst of it all cause He understands. Thanks for your honesty in this post and for sharing it with people. That's a way of helping others too!

God bless you so much!

marja said...

Hi Liz,

Good to hear from you again. Thank you for visiting. I AM glad that my blog is offering you some hope. And there IS a lot of hope; and God IS on our side. He understands us, as you say.

Please do know that I'm doing alright. Much of this post was written two years ago. I have drawn much comfort from my friends and they are there for me when I need them.

The trick is making lots of friends :) And you can do that by being there for them, as they are for you. (perhaps I'm repeating myself) It's not easy though, but with prayer and practice we can learn to be other-centered.

God bless you too, Liz.

Tery said...

You are always an inspiration!

marja said...

Thank you, Tery. I'm glad for any help this might have given you.

Darlene said...

Hello Marja,
I just found your blog, and was blessed by your transparency. I have bipolar, and understand the ups and downs.
I hope you will continue to share about your story and your faith-

marja said...

Hi Darlene,

Thanks so much for visiting. I haven't had a chance to read your blogposts but did read your profile. You seem to be just the kind of person I'd like to have as a friend. We have a lot in common. I'm not far from you. Maybe we'll meet up one day.