You don’t need empathy to support a depressed person

“You don’t need empathy to support a depressed person” was originally blogged at Under Reconstruction. It was a relief to finally find another person’s voice that spoke of how hurtful it is when loved ones back away when we are mentally ill because they don’t know what to say. They rub against an old abandonment wound. For me, one of my biggest issues. We really just want them to walk beside us even if they say nothing.

Under Reconstruction

When a friend was hospitalized for appendicitis, people flocked to visit him at the hospital. When I was clinically depressed, some who knew it avoided me like the plague. But I completely understand — it’s natural for us to be afraid of the unfamiliar, including unfamiliar illnesses. And when it comes to depression, people are wary not because they are afraid it might be contagious (hey, many don’t even recognize it as an illness!), but because they are afraid of saying the “wrong” thing.

A friend once apologized to me, “I’m sorry I haven’t been reaching out to you or being there for you. I’m not like J — I wish I were, but I’m not. But know that I’ve been praying for you, okay?”

At the time, I smiled and told him not to worry about it. I read between the lines and I read his facial expressions — I…

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