It’s tempting to have that extra glass of wine. One more piece of chocolate cake. Sleep another hour, stay at the office late. There are different ways of coping, some adaptive, some maladaptive. We tend to find the things that will help us make it through. If I can just get through this day, this season, this year.
Cope. Most place its origin from the Old French couper, meaning “to strike.” It’s a derivative of the word coup.
Coup. My dictionary defines it as: 1. a highly successful, unexpected stroke, act, or move; a clever action or accomplishment. Or 2. a brave or reckless deed performed in battle by a single warrior, as touching or striking an enemy warrior without sustaining injury oneself.
It’s battle language.
Depression is a battle, yes. That’s what we’ve been talking about all these weeks long: how best to fight. And yet, the Bible tells us we are more than overcomers. There are times when surrender is necessary. When, rather than cope, we sit down at the table with depression and look it straight in the eye, pour it a cup of coffee. No more hiding, no more dulling the emotions, no more fighting.
It doesn’t mean to give up. It means letting go of the notion that we can control any of this. It means accepting this is a part of the person we love and, hard as it is, we love them anyway. All of them. Scars, pock marks, dark thoughts, wintery ways. All. To surrender means to embrace the whole. Only then will we be able to let go of the disproportionate power depression has over our lives.
Surrender. Embrace. Let go.
Live again. Victoriously.
~practice surrendering. When your loved one comes to you with all the broken parts of his or her day, resist the urge to offer solutions. Simply sit with him or her. Hold hands. Let your heart be filled with love and sit in this place of embrace.
~if you can, talk with your loved one about the cognitive distortions depression anchors them with. Don’t speak about it in a “fixing” kind of way, but rather, simply notice how it has changed the way they see events in their life.
~continue practicing remembering. This will help as you practice surrender. Everything will fall in its proper place.
**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 one more installment 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
Part VIII: When You Love Someone Who Has Depression: Moments of Light