Many trials come with a rollercoaster ride, especially long term ones. Dealing with grief, loss, mourning, depression, they are usually long term, and they all come with good days and bad days. The one going through this type of trial understands that it effects those around them, that their loved ones want to help. We see the efforts, even the ones that don’t help we know what is meant. Most of the time you don’t know exactly what you need, or you don’t know how to describe it to others in an effect manner. I am some one who does a lot of self reflecting and seeing more than most, yet it has still taken me a pretty long time to be able to pinpoint and put into terms what helps the most. I have struggled over the past 5 years with depression, and only in the last year have I gotten help through medication and counseling. And over the past 2 years I have struggled with secondary infertility. (and incidentally have also been dealing with my husband in medical school for the past 2 years, which is a trial of it’s own) So you can see I have extensive experience with long term trials. And I’d like to share some of the things I have learned over this time.
Today is (at least so far) a good day. We’ll see how I feel after my counseling session and my husband finally wakes from after his night-shift. How could those things be bad? Or make a good day seem bad? They are good things! And I love them and what they do for me, but it also brings to the surface a lot of emotions, and sometimes it is hard to deal with the flood of it all. But so far today is a good day. Yesterday was a good day too. I cherish the good days, they are my buoy amongst the raging sea of bad days. Sometimes I am afraid for the day to end, I fear that the buoy will slip from my grasp and I will be tossed into the waves of a bad day. In the bad days I fear that I may not see another buoy. If you know someone like this, I hope that this helps you understand them and their trials a little better. If you are someone like this, I am sorry that you have to deal with it too. But know that you are not in these waters alone. There are many of us here with you, and I hope that we can all use the light of each others’ good days to give us hope for our own. Know that God is with you, He loves you, and is watching over you. There have been many days, weeks and months that He has carried me when I am not strong enough to keep going on my own. He carries you too, and is helping to strengthen you. Turn to Him and feel His strength and His love.
So what helps the most in these time (that seem like they will have no end)? Well there are a few things that I think are universal to all of these types of trials. Here are some things for those who wish to truly be of help to those around them dealing with something like this.
- Realize it’s not your fault
- Relish the good days with us
- Remember it’s not your fault
- Help us on the bad days
- Remind yourself it’s not your fault
- Pray for us and for you to get through it
#1,3,5 It’s not your fault:
This can be difficult at times for you, especially as the trial continues for a long time. Obviously this is mostly felt by those closest to someone dealing with a long term trial, like a spouse. But there is also part of this that effects others around us “trial people.” There will be many times that you say or do something that triggers our sadness. This (most times, since I assume that you aren’t doing it on purpose) is still not your fault. We are more emotionally unstable during these times, and not even we know what will trigger it. Under more normal circumstances we would be better emotionally equipped to handle extra things. Or that (again in more normal circumstances) these types of things wouldn’t even get a second thought from us, like you don’t give them much thought now. So remember our sadness from our trials are not your fault (assuming you aren’t our trial 😉 ).
#2 Relish the good days:
Sometimes this can be hard for you. You are having to deal with our roller coaster, and somewhat ride along with us. When we are finally having a good day, you are still worried about the other days, or that at any moment we’ll be triggered into a bad day. We understand that all of this is difficult for you. One of the things we worry about the most is that our trial effects you, that we make you sad because we are sad so much. This adds extra pressure, worry, and self-loathing. Try your best to enjoy when we have good days and not worry about anything else.
#4 Help us on our bad days:
So how do you help us effectively? One of the hardest things for you will be to keep your spirits up despite ours. But again the last thing we want is for your sad to be our fault. Everything already feels like our fault. Keep encouraging us. Keep reminding us that you love us no matter what. Tell us good things about ourselves (even when we argue it, stand your ground, we need it!). Help us get out and do things. This will often involve making us. Help us around the house, those messy dishes stacking up seem like Mount Everest to us, the pile of paper to sort and bills to pay give us endless anxiety until taken care of. There are many things that are debilitating for us, normal things that aren’t really that hard, and it will be different for each person. Find out what it is and help us with it when you notice it getting large. For me there are times that the paper stuff stresses me out, and I cannot seem to do anything else until it’s taken care of, yet I can’t do it. Most of the time I am just fine to take care of this menial task.
This one should be self explanatory!
For more good content specifically dealing with depression you can check out these places:
To see a humorous and accurate depiction of what it feels like head on over to: