A number of years ago, I was assigned as a Stephen Minister, to work with a young man suffering from depression. I wasn’t sure what to expect, or even what to do. So I went and talked with a friend at church who I knew was suffering from depression.
I told my friend that depression made no sense to me, that the young man I was counseling was overwhelmed by the thought of doing his laundry. She said that for her, it was like being at the bottom of a well, with no way to get out. She told me that for a person with depression laundry was a major task, that just making the decision to do the laundry was very difficult.
My first thought was to grab him by the shoulders and tell him to go do his laundry, it’s no big deal. Grow up and get over it and get busy. I didn’t, but that’s what I felt like at the time.
Now, almost 20 years later, I suffer from depression (which accounts for the time between my posts on this blog) and now I understand what it’s like. I have no energy, no motivation and I am tired all the time. My depression stems from my Parkinson’s Disease and my Emphysema and all the medications I take. Virtually all I do is get up in the morning, read my emails and play on my laptop all morning, the around between 11am to 1pm, I go take a nap for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. When I get up, I sit back down in my chair and I’m back on my laptop. I stop computing for meals and naps. I do go to water aerobics twice a week for one hour, and we go to church on Sundays, and occasionally to the doctor or the grocery store.
My wife, bless her, tries to get me to do things, and every now and then we will do something, but not very often. I know it must drive her crazy, but I find it difficult to do otherwise.
So if you know someone or meet someone who suffers from depression, now you have an idea of what’s going on in their lives. You may not understand it, you may thing it crazy, but take my word for it, it is real, and it is not fun. Be patient with them, try to involve them in things, but don’t take personally or judge them if they decline.
Depression, it ain’t no fun, it’s actually kind of depressing.