When You Love Someone Who has Depression: Moments of Light


There are moments of light. When she sees him once again in his purest self, young and carefree the way he was before the cares of the world burned down on him.

But sometimes, when the light comes, she doesn’t recognize his true self. It’s been too long and she has forgotten. She might offer the bitter; let the light shine right through her. Too bad, Mister. Too little, too late.

Yes, sometimes, she lets time and circumstances make her an amnesiac and she forgets that to love well is to remain awake to beauty. But most of the time? She tries to be ready. She is vigilant.

One time when she was young, she went hunting with a friend. They hid in the trees and watched. Sprung upon their prey unawares from their secret place. But to hunt the light is not like this. It’s more like catching fireflies. Sitting in the open with a watchful eye. Letting the moment light upon your skin. And then softly, oh, so tenderly cupping it in your hands, cradling it close before letting it fly away again, lifting its warm glow into the dark.

When she doesn’t remember how to love, she prays to remember. And light shines softly into the moments of life, revealing truth in a thousand many-faceted ways.


~We have talked before about the research from Dr. John Gottman that I share in my book. He is known as “The Love Doctor” and has studied love and marriage for years. He says that by observing a couple for as short as five minutes he can predict with significant accuracy whether their marriage will last. One of the factors he has identified in determining this is how they remember. Sometimes, when I feel like giving up, I close my eyes and remember the beginning. I spend some time reflecting on why I fell in love with my husband, what made my heart resonate with him. Those qualities are still there, only sometimes I forget them under the weight of the days. Spend some time remembering today. Watch home movies, look at your wedding album, read an old journal. Remember.

~How do you respond when the moments of light cascade over the humdrum of every day? Sometimes we can smother out these tiny flickers, dismiss them in the midst of the busy. But when depression lives in your life, these glimpses of light must be celebrated. Reinforce the happy moments by being fully present with them. Let your beloved know how much you delight in his or her delight. Cradle the light close to your heart.

**This Friday series contains reflections on loving someone who has Depression. If you are in this place, or know someone who is, I hope you’ll join me in this journey. We have two more installments to go. These words cannot replace medical or psychological treatment, but I hope they will be a source of encouragement.

Part I: When You Love Someone Who has Depression
Part II: West Virginia Morning: When You Love Someone with Depression, II
Part III: Good Friday
Part IV: Interview with Dr. Michelle Bengtson
Part V: When You Love Someone Who Has Depression: Stigma
Part VI: When You Love Someone Who Has Depression: Pray Together
Part VII: When You Love Someone Who Has Depression: Grow


  1. says

    Yes, my friend, yes. I had the same experience on Mother’s Day–a little breakthrough and I ruined it. Argh. Then I read my journal entries from the past month or so, celebrating truth and small victories. I need to live there–in the truth of his love and his personhood and the small victories of light along the way.

    Thank you so much for sharing your heart about this, Laura.

  2. says

    “But to hunt the light is not like this. It’s more like catching fireflies” Oh yes, Laura, indeed it is! We’ve had our fair share of mental anguish in a lengthy marriage (40 years this summer – where did they go?) and a lot of leaning toward the light while dancing in the dark. Those grace glimmers are well worth the searching out. Thank you for such a sensitive and beautifully written word. Bless you for your transparency so that others can learn how to live well with life’s challenges. 🙂 x


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