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How to Help a Loved One with Depression

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
The Truth Network Radio
May 5, 2021 6:00 am

How to Help a Loved One with Depression

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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May 5, 2021 6:00 am

Stephen Arterburn helps listeners to better understand and assist loved ones in their healing, reminding them that anyone can suffer bouts of depression that develop for various reasons.

Get Stephen's book "Understanding and Loving a Person with Depression" with a donation of any amount:

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Kinsman's a lot of time away from home working on the pipeline in Alaska, but our podcast has become his wife lying on the family help my marriage by leaps and bounds so much to think about people's ground, ground I Jim Daly together we can bring real hope to marriages like kids gift families and you could be the one who comes to them and says I love you I care about you. I don't care what these other people think I'm here for you or someone you love is depressed may feel helpless at times but there is hope available through Christ Stephen Arterburn is secured by that encouragement that you need welcome to Focus on the Family your hosts, books, president and author Jim Bailey and Anjan John depression is pervasive in our culture today. I don't know why we are the most connected culture, history and of the same time the loan is perhaps the most depressed so I don't know how these things are working against us. But something's up, and I think it's a spiritual issue, but here's the goal there is hope and healing for those who are feeling anxious and depressed. You don't have to remain there, and certainly we want to give you the tools to cope better with that depression.

In our conversation today we want to deepen your understanding of those around you who may feel depressed and I think is very important for us that aren't in that space to be equipped with the tools to do the things that are the right things to do for our loved ones around us. Maybe a neighbor who is experiencing depression and we have a great book for you.

It's called understanding and loving a person with depression written by Stephen Arterburn and the late Dr. Brenda Hunter and it's available from us here at Focus on the Family. Just give us a call for numbers 800 K in the word family were stop by the episode notes you find the link there and Stephen Arterburn is the founder and chairman of new life ministries and as a teaching pastor at Northview church in Indiana and it's always a pleasure to have a marriage is Steve, welcome back to Focus on the Family's going to have Jeremy and this is a topic I love talking about because it's the one area that we don't seem to make much progress in our society and I do have my with you. I think it's because of the spiritual deprivation out there among a lot of folks, well, that's the end of the foundation of the discussion, the subject of depression. Steve is personal for you.

See you not speaking as if you're just clinician is working with people that have experienced it, you have fought this battle and especially thinking your teens and 20s. In that context, what happened for you and what was the origin of that depression that you yourself experiencing what I have very tough breakup with a girlfriend in high school and then I went to Texas A&M and I was singing to dad and the soloist and and people said you should go to Baylor to major in music and I went there and discovered how mediocre I was compared to so many and so there was loss after loss and disappointment and so I ended up in the clinic. There getting prescribed antidepressant medication.

I remember going there with sunglasses on thinking that that was just a normal thing that you would do, but I was hard for me to look anybody in the eye, so I know what it's like to not be able to pull yourself out of something that trying harder just makes trying harder.

It's really a hard place to be. Yeah and you know stay for those that have not been around depression or experience that in themselves or in loved ones. What does clinical or serious depression look like one of the signs to look for in that person area while someone with clinical depression would be sad or depressed most days and you would also feel like all the energy is just drain so you'd see some I used to do a lot of things not be able to do much they need to be gaining weight or losing weight. They need to be sleeping all the time are not able to sleep their interests gone and their energy gone, and their ability to connect with other people is absolutely gone and I think a big thing that happens is there just obsessed with themselves because they are miserable and they don't know what to do about when you look at the causality, depression, obviously loss is one. Describe some of those circumstances that can create depression and a person will you know if you had a parent that was depressed you 2 to 4 times like more likely to be depressed, so there is this environmental factor that set you up for it. There's also they believe about a 40% genetic influence on depression but it's not just loss. I think one of the biggest problems in our society today is an unrealistic expectations, people they make it and they think it it's going to do something for them, and instead it's very disappointing.

And that's when we talk about spiritual deprivation. It's not that people that have depression are spiritually weak. We know that that isn't true. Many of them are very, very good at working hard at living but it just doesn't produce anything, but if we don't focus on the spiritual things like as a culture in a society were always looking for more and when Moore produces so much less than you expected, then you're going to be miserable and well, and maybe even a multiplier effect right you feel even more depressed since all that effort went nowhere will how many people network of the guy 70 years old, retired, sold his company had all the money he needed absolutely hated his life after he retired. We should never sell the company because now rather than having something to do. You said money in the bank we had money before that and you know he finally get treated for depression and this is really the expectation thing you were catching he detained everything he thought right important right simulated. He went to culinary school and became a chef and volunteered at the local mission and is probably the most fulfilled person in the entire world, but it took him hitting the wall and being depressed. You know in the book is Steve you reference Charles Spurgeon and I never knew this. I was really nice to my wife, Jean, and she never knew it either. What took place in his life because so many people see Charles Spurgeon as a pillar of the faith, the great writer a great orator of the Christian foundational principles. But what happened that caught your attention.

We know at 15, he became a Christian. 16 he became a preacher.

17 he had his first church by the time he was 23. The just couldn't find a place big enough so he went over to the Royal Surrey Gardens which was a secular venue where 11,000 people could be seated and that night that he came over. They said that buggies in this back in 1800 buggies and cars were lined up for 7 miles to get in.

Pastors were jealous when everybody was there any came up to the pulpit. Somebody yelled fire people fled and seven died from being trampled 28 critically injured so they took Spurgeon out. He saw all this got them home and he went to bed.

He was so devastated he went to bed for a month and eventually knowing said breach again but he never, I think you never really got over it and they said he would go maybe a few months preaching and then he'd be in bed with this depression for weeks annually died morbidly obese, died very young, and his whole life was just one struggle after another because he never fully I think grieved that loss. No one was there to help him and I think there was tremendous shame on his part that Harry was really the most famous person alive at that time, Billy Graham for us and he couldn't beat this thing, he would literally only be able to preach about eight or nine months a year yeah and yeah that's you just never hear that story and I think it's important for people to hear for that purpose. That depression can be something that we all encounter in this life.

Is Steve take a little more personally. I know I grew up in a rough orphan kid. I'm that guy that you kind of pull up yourself by the bootstraps and if you got an issue you just push through that brick wall and you get it done and I learned probably far too late. Even in my own marriage that not everybody is wired that when fact.

I mean, that's a little embarrassing to say this but I member Jean was in a tough situation. She lost a family member and she was in that grieving process and I remember her turning to me because I think I was trying to help her quickly get through this. Maybe because of my own comfort and comfortability. You know when I look back on it made it.

I just don't do well in that and I don't want to be in a depressed mood because I'm fearful of it right and some personality types are like that too, and I think I fall prey to that, but I member her looking at me and saying you know what Jim not everybody can do what you do. Not everybody can pull themselves up by their bootstraps and get moving and I'm one of those people that really I mean I was like whoa there was a wake up moment for me in my marriage to better understand who my wife is but it scared me.

Yeah, yeah, when and here's the thing you both are doing great things you persevering and moving on her grieving. I think that playing in the Christian community. Lifetimes are on grieved losses because were uncomfortable when people are depressed are they going through grief. And we say really stupid thinking of Jeremiah 614 says they treat the deep mortal wounds of my people was superficial treatments and were still doing that when Jeremiah was talking about that and so what she did is she did what she had to do and it's sad that both some people might not have been so willing to let her grade like you once you got it you know you are fine with it, but they just demand that somebody get better.

Are they are very hard on them when they know yeah and in caring for the person with depression is what were talking about today. It it frankly there was no fun to be around a person who is depressed want to help you as somebody might have a loved one or a close friend who's struggling with depression. That's what the conversation is about and that's what this book is about understanding and loving a person with depression. I look for your copy on your website or give us a call. Our numbers 800 the letter a in the word family. Is Stephen speaking with in counseling thousands of Christians dealing with depression. You've identified some common fears or concerns that they have and what are the well they don't want to be ashamed and they have heard talk when other people have gotten sicker thus sunk down in the depression that they have been shamed that shaming on shaming and is and then shunned. You know people are distancing from them and they feel like outcasts because there made outcast and the other thing that I think is so damaging, which is kind of the reverse is if we enable the depression.

If we don't try to help but we just let them continue to stay in that depressed state when they're not gonna wake up one day and say no. I think I'm in a get better once they're so far down and you could be the one who comes to them and says I love you I care about you. I don't care what these other people think I'm here for you and versus thinking that I got to come up with some Scripture.

I've got it say something that's gonna make it all better. I think one of the worst things ever heard was all you have to do. There is no all you have to do there a lot of things we need community we need to feel like we still belong and ceramic person in outcast, you need to help them feel like they do belong and we need comfort when we are depressed, so we need to try to find what is it that could comfort them and support them and the other thing is we need a little bit of counseling and and to try to help them find somebody that could help them and to get over this medication issue. It's a big issue in the Christian community about medication now and why is that well because I think they think that the medication it's given to the depressed person makes them higher something like that.

I don't our kills the pain but it's totally different. It just helps with the brain chemistry. It's a different kind of medication and I had a guy in my office say the medication I used to preach against is the medication that enables me to preach now because he went into a deep, deep depression that we don't want people on medication that they don't need, but you also don't don't want to be the person that's depriving them of something that Christian psychiatrists who believe in Jesus with the medical school for nine years believes this is the path to getting better is an antidepressant or something like that. I so appreciate that. We tried to take that position that if you go to the doctor because you have appendicitis you not gonna say why and I don't need a doctor to operate in the say help me or I'll die and that with depression. I think we often need to see that his brain chemistry issue that medication hopefully for short period of time.

You need to get you through.

You need to treat your brain like an organ right not like your spirit. It's not me ask you if someone hasn't experienced clinical depression were touching on this, but let me focus it into a question it's impossible to know what our loved ones and our friend is going through because were not in their shoes and how do we better empathize with what they're going through and then you touched on some of those harmful mistakes. But what are some of those additional common mistakes that we might say, in addition to all you gotta do and fill in the blank. What are some other things we should not do well if you never experience this United States, like trying to climb a mountain in the dark and there are thousands of gallons of molasses coming down toward you and you just can't make progress if it is possible, it's impossible to do it and then so you don't want to invite somebody to do the impossible.

You literate you know if you can make yourself better, you would and so it's really important that even if you don't have any idea how this could feel that you validate their feelings asked him how how does it feel and is this a good day or is this a bad day is a really great question because they might say it's a pretty good day. And when people start getting better. They start having more good days and bad days, but just Hayes is a good day or bad day and let them know I am here for you if if you want to go to a support group meeting go to that meeting with you versus you don't need that or this is it really that bad, or any but little things yet to be grateful for what they know what they had to be grateful for what their brain is so confused and so foggy that they can't translate that into something that would be healing or have something a positive impact on stable ask in terms of, you know, the spousal relationship.

I think we've touched on that. I would think and you look at the studies today. A lot of teenagers are struggling. Yeah, and you know were coming out of the covert environment. We've had no year year and 1/2 of tough realities and related to that school shutdowns those kinds think social normalcy is disrupted and I'm thinking of those teenagers that have really struggled and let's speak more specifically to that as parents who have concerns about their kids. Her grades are doing well there isolated. What are some things we need to be aware of and then how can we help them be more productive, rather than get your homework done what I got.

Had a call from a mom and I start to work with her. The sun went off to college, came back, couldn't function very bright kid star athlete didn't even exercise anymore. Went to his room.

He was whatever's his buddy would give them marijuana, which is frequently.

She knew he was smoking and she was asking about treatment for the marijuana and I said you know I'm usually right there with you on the marijuana thing we need to get it taken care of. But what you're saying is, it sounds like he's depressed and he's treating it is medicating with marijuana and that was absolutely the case. So when you see your kids.

I have a radical change in appearance. You need to take note of that and then when you add to that they're not engaging with their friends personally or they are not there grades are falling out. You'll see see these things and you'd rather than think they have a bad attitude or they're not motivated. It be great if you ask yourself do I think that might be depression, and if so what am I going to do to get them help and it would be great to find a counselor that really specializes in adolescent care.

Over half of depressed people obtain that in their teens and 75% are depressed by the time they're 24 so it does come into your life very early, but it's hard for people to recognize Steve at this point will be just as kind of a related question. The friend said that her daughter her middle school daughter seems to be depressed and you given all the circumstances and all the challenges going on, how do we know if our kids are just struggling to make sense out of a chaotic world and their dealing with isolation.

How do we know if it's just stuff that we can maybe step in and offer some encouragement toward something more serious were we actually do it, to seek out some professional help. I think the most powerful thing are the eyeballs sitting down regular basis. If you see some problem, just that you know I need to take a little more eyeball to eyeball time with this child and where they feel safe to share what's really going on and you know points off if they're just kinda struggling but they end up with six sessions with a counselor who specializes in adolescent meaning it can change their whole life. They uncover a few things. I know a family that one of the kids was ready to dessert. The family never come home again and they had a family session set up with a therapist and this kid said everything that he had never said about that family before and it just it's resolved so much that he didn't abandon the family and he stayed with them so you never know how powerful a something and be when it's handled well by professional versus an amateur or somebody that has good intentions but not very good experience yeah and in this case the mom said one of the things that they tried doing was shutting off the phones earlier and doing some family game times and she said that's been helping can pull that child out of her shell if you will. Yeah. And of course we could go show on on the damage of too much screen time too much disconnected time.

But I'll tell you this past year has been really tough on our kids as you say, and if they are depressed help them with that. Talk with them. Spend time with them at you. You complain about them being on screens then get you be the option of the screen and take some creativity. Steve, I'm looking at that metaphor in my mind of the drowning person and the person comes along to save them and sometimes that person coming to save the drowning person drowned themselves because of the chaotic nature of the moment and the person drowning will grab them.

You and actually take them down with them and I think it serves as an illustration in this regard. How do we establish boundaries so that we ourselves don't get taken down. I'm thinking of a scenario where you might have an elderly parent who is suffering from depression and their calling on you consistently leaning on you in the latter years of their lives and they need to depend on you and some people can set boundaries and others can and then you have spousal debate about the problems that your wife send to him the fact that her mom is running her life and you get the scenario but it is that drowning effect that dependent depressed family member is taken you down with them.

What I think a caregiver should realize that most caregivers get angry and frustrated with the person that they're trying to care for and that they love that. That's kind of a natural result.

It's a horrible result but it's common and so if you're not getting support as your supporting someone else, then you're probably going to be pretty miserable in your husband or wife going to be miserable with you because you've taken all that home so I just try to tell people look that frustration that anger that bitterness that's that's normal you can't change the situation is getting worse.

So get with a caregivers group, a support group or get help yourself first sit down with your pastor get in a men's Bible study women's Bible study. You've got to fill that tank back up because helping it, especially in the depressed person really does drain that that tank that all of us and yeah Steve we've got to get to that practical area of the program. There are some listening who are struggling with depression themselves. You suggest three forms of surrender to get the needed help. One of those three areas of surrender that a person needs to go after you.

Well first you have to surrender the problem if say okay I in and of myself. I don't have what it takes to fix this myself or somebody in your family is depressed. I don't have what it takes to fix them. So I need to surrender that problem and then the second thing is I need to surrender all of who I am the God I need to say this is me now minister on your path and I want to follow your guidance. Not my own thinking a Bible so clear lean not on your own understanding and I think you have to also surrender to some people who have a God given gift to help other people that you're willing to take some advice.

Take some direction, not from everybody but somebody that knows what they're doing and if I can surrender at those three levels there's a good chance that I'm going to find a path out of this and not have to go back into it, but you really have to to be willing to give up home remedies all the things you've tried and have this attitude of humble surrender and Steve are right at the end and I'm thinking of a step that a person who is recognized someone within their sphere of influence is not doing well. What is the first thing they should do if this is a wake-up call for them and they know whether it's their spouse, their teenager, their elderly parent, whomever that person is that suffering from depression. What is the first up with.

They can take it this is the aha moment you think you really have to care about that person. If you're going to have any kind of impact and then I think the first thing is to be present with them not lecture notes quickfix instant solution, but you be present and then the next thing is to ask them about themselves. How are you feeling what you going through and be willing to listen and validate those feelings. Now, now you have a connection that might make all the difference in the world. And when you say why don't we do this together.

Let me go with you to this. You've got some real great potential that they're going to do with you, but if you just walk and say I think I go get it. Get some help from counseling call this number may not go well and Steve. This is been so good.

I hope it is the help that a person needs not only to identify potential depression in their own lives more to your book, understanding and loving a person with depression. It equips the people around that individual to be that ladder out that they will need in addition obviously to the work that the Lord will do in their lives. This is really good. Thanks for being with us in talking about this difficult subject. Thanks man now and let me turn you the listener.

If you're in that spot and someone in your life is suffering from depression want to be there for you. Obviously we want to be there for them. But let's get this resource in your hands if you can send a gift of any amount of focus will send you a copy of Steve's book, understanding and loving a person with depression as our way of saying thank you for joining us in the ministry.

If you can afford it.

This is such an important topic. We will get you the resource and trust others will take care of the cost of that but it's about ministry and we will get that done. In addition to that we have caring Christian counselors who can help you in that initial discussion call us tapas were here for that reason that donors have supported us to do that. So look to us as a resource center in that way as well.

Yes, schedule a consultation with one of those Christian counselors. And as Jim said donate.

As you can, please. And when you do, you're getting real families, real hope, and be sure to get a copy of this great book, understanding and loving a person with depression by Stephen R. Number and the late Dr. Brenda Hunter numbers 800 K in the work-family or stop by the episode notes for further details and on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team. Thanks for joining us today for focus and family. I'm John Fuller inviting you back here from Kathy Lipp next time, but bringing purpose and power to your prayer life once more help you and your family thrive in Christ. I was convinced that nothing can change what was going on in our marriage and I want to try anymore but my commitment to God, help me try one more time. We went to a hope restored marriage intensive and it was life-changing. Counselors created the safest environment we can imagine, so that let us really talk much different course now I believe we received a miracle that week received your free consultation. Hope

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