Longman and Todd
Depression can be a hidden
illness. We fail to notice that someone we used to socialise with has
slipped out of our circle.
Yet it's a common condition.
It can begin in childhood. It may be brought on by failure or rejection,
or by some cause buried in your past. A life change, like going to university,
moving house, changing your job, having a baby can all result in pressures
you hadn't expected.
The greatest problem
with depression is that you feel so low that you don't even want to take
the steps which could lead to healing. You need friends. Your greatest
friend is the Christ who experienced the darkness of Gethsemane, yet you
may find even that hard to believe.
You are not
alone. Others have walked this dark path too. Help is available. People
do emerge on the other side.
This book addresses
different aspects of the condition. It offers understanding advice, both
for the sufferer and for family and friends. Each page of information
is accompanied by a relevant prayer.
The book is divided into two
sections: (1) for, or on behalf of, someone with depression, (2) for family,
friends and the wider community.
common for people suffering depression to lose their sense of
The condition may be triggered by some form of rejection:
losing your job, failing an exam, the breakup of a relationship
with someone you loved. You are made to feel that there is something
wrong with you. You are not good enough.
Itís natural to feel low afterwards. Anyone would.
But you need to be concerned if the pain has gone so
deep that you feel you havenít just failed in this one thing,
but that your whole life is a failure.
When you have been knocked so low, itís hard to start
to pick yourself up and look at the positives. If depression
has got hold of you, it can make things worse in other areas.
If you still have a job, or a study course, or a relationship,
then your depression about one thing may make you want to withdraw
from others. You give up trying, you retreat within yourself.
More things begin to go wrong. Your sense of failure can become
a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The one thing which is most difficult to do if you are
depressed is to Ďsnap out of ití. If only you could.
As so often when things are hard, start with small things.
Look back over your life. There have been high points, havenít
there? See if you can find a photograph or some other memento
which reminds you of that. When were you happy? When did you
do something you felt good about? That time was real, even if
you donít feel like that now. If it was true once, it can be
true again in the future.
Make a box of your Ďpositivesí. Open it when you feel
down. Relive your times of joy. One day, you can be again the
Ďyouí you were then.
God, who knows my secrets better than I do myself,
I put myself into your hands.
I cannot find the reason for my depression. All I know
is that my life has become unbearable.
I give you thanks that there are those who care about my
condition. People who are willing to listen to me. Those who want
to take my hand and lead me to the discovery of what is wrong
Save me from the despair which says that no one can help
me. Counter the cynicism which says itís not worth waiting months.
As the weeks stretch out, sometimes I canít find the will to want
to get better.
I know that finding out what has caused my depression may
be painful. Give me the courage to have old wounds re-opened.
Let me know myself honestly, so that I can cooperate with my healing.
I need your strength and your comfort. Give me courage.
of the friendless,
you had a keen eye for those whom society rejected.
You saw Zacchaeus, whose need drove him to listen from
the sycamore tree. Look with compassion on my friend who needs
You know how inadequate I feel against the weight of this
despair. Iím not trained for this; I feel out of my depth. Yet
I am here, and Iím their friend. Thatís all that counts.
Give me the wisdom, the imagination, the sensitivity to
start the conversation that will allow them to unburden themselves.
Let me not lose heart when they reject my attempts. Make
me a willing listener. Hold back my ready tongue from glib advice
or exhortations. May I be the trustworthy friend to whom they
can confide what they have told no one else.
Let me be worthy to carry this precious knowledge in your name.
When the talking is done, and the time is ripe to offer advice,
may I choose my words well. Yet even if I am rejected, may I rest
in your assurance that the talking itself has helped.
did I write this book?
watched a family member, who had seemed a lively, outgoing girl, slide
into depression. She lost her job, alienated her friends, rejected the
offer of counselling. She would spend half the night on her computer,
and then fail to get up in the morning. Nothing seemed worthwhile any
more. She didn't believe that anyone could help.
It went on for years. Thankfully, she emerged on the other
side of it. She found a job, and was successful at it. She is now married,
But there is a hole in her life - those years when she
was friendless, without income, feeling rejected, without joy in life.
Too many people still suffer as she did. Depression can
strike even in childhood. Family and friends wish with all their heart
that they could give the one they love their life back. Yet their offers
of help are rejected.
This book tries to bring understanding, both for the one
with depression and for those around them. It recognises that there
is no quick and easy fix. It seeks to guide you towards the positive
using windows of opportunity.
At such times, prayer can feel like going through the motions.When
you are down so low, you no longer believe it can help. Each page of
information and advice here is accompanied by a sympathetic and realistic
It's easy for friends not to notice what is happening.
This book aims to alert the wider community to those who may be slipping
through the net. It encourages them to act in true friendship.
Depression can be hard on family members who have to live
with it. They want to help, but little seems to work. There is advice
and support for them too.
We all of us, sufferers, family and friends, need to feel
the loving arms of prayer around us.