Unfortunately, recent experience is showing me that it is impossible for a person to be fully understood by someone who has never experienced depression themselves. In actual fact, talking to such people about your pain is dangerous. It can lead to more pain than the depression itself. You set yourself up for rejection and we all know how painful rejection can feel. It can be worse than the depression itself.
The only truly safe people to talk with are those who have been there. Or - the very rare person who walks so closely to Jesus that he/she is willing and able to give himself fully and understand in the way He understood. To be compassionate, in the midst of not having been there themselves is a rare thing. It takes the person who is - for a little while - willing to put him/herself in the shoes of the suffering person and to suffer with this person - in the way Jesus did. Few people are able to do this. Everyone has their own life to live - their own problems. And, when we're depressed we do tend to be awfully self-centered - not a very becoming thing. In the midst of our problems, we do need to strive for other-centeredness.
This shows me how important it is for those of us who do understand, to comfort others in the way we have been comforted. To love in the way we've been loved by our most merciful Father in heaven. At least to remind each other of His great love for us.
We who live with mood disorders so badly need each other. We so badly need to encourage each other to go to that most compassionate person of all - Jesus Christ. He suffered greatly for all of us. He too was rejected by friends who didn't understand what He was going through. His disciples slept in the Garden of Gethsemane while He was suffering. Not willing to stay awake and be with Him. Not understanding the severity of what He was dealing with.
He knows what suffering is and knows the pain we feel. His pain was far greater than ours. He gave us His all. Can we give our all to each other? Kind of doubtful. We are human and self-centered, especially when we're in the midst of depression.
We need to turn to Jesus. But we also need our friends around us. As friends we need to show each other the love of Christ, because that's sometimes the only way we'll remember that He's there - through the hands of another Christ follower who will show God's compassion to us in real terms.
Let's reach out our hand to others who suffer, in the name of Jesus.
All the more makes me believe in Living Room, though at times it can be a difficult responsibility to bear. We who lead Living Room continually need to turn to God, the One who can strengthen us, in spite of our great weakness. It's God's work, after all. Not ours.
28 Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
"His understanding no one can fathom." How wonderful to have Someone whose understanding is greater than we could ever imagine. We need to rest and find peace in that knowledge.