Last week Amy and I had yet another meeting with a group of people from Hallmark. They were gathered together for support – support for coping with a spouse, child, parent who was suffering from depression. We began to talk about the holiday and the unique situations that arise. The discussion took a turn pretty quickly as the group concentrated on a woman who was going through a very difficult time with her husband. Although he had finally gone to a psychiatrist and was on medication, the medication had not yet kicked in and the holidays and her full time work were taking a toll on her. She talked about how things were so different, how she wanted to be able to celebrate as they had in the past. The others in the room reminded her that yes, things were different and given time, things would be better. They encouraged her to take whatever time she could for herself and to affirm herself and her husband by remembering that depression is an illness.
After words shared and tears shed and laughter erupting, the women began to talk about how what Amy and I had to say about depression had helped them so much. How they didn’t feel alone, knowing that others who lived with a depressed loved one, were sharing similar feelings. They talked about how what they heard from us carried valued as we had been in similar situations as they were now in. It was humbling to hear these words from these women. They affirmed for both of us that the work we do, that the message we spread is so needed and carries the power to help someone onto the road of healing. But as they all agreed, they had to be open to the words spoken.
Perhaps this holiday season you are going through a tough time with your loved one who is in the throes of depression. Perhaps Dancing in the Dark would be a book to read and gain strength from. Amy and I and so many others have been where you are now. Let’s help each other through the challenges of the holiday and into a new year of healing.