I’ll stand by you

Today I’m blogging about love, though not necessarily of the romantic kind.  Rather, the love that enables us to stand by someone who is depressed and try to just go through it beside them, instead of trying to persuade them out of it.

I know from personal and professional experience that this is very hard to do.  When someone we love is depressed, it’s so painful to see them suffer.  We feel as if we should be able to suggest or do something that will fix it, for their sake … and for ours.  It’s hard for us to tolerate their pain, and we’ll do almost anything to make it stop.  And if we can’t, sometimes in our despair we distance ourselves from them because we can’t stand it, maybe leaving them feeling even more lost and alone.

When we’re the one who’s depressed, oftentimes we know the things we should do to make us feel better … get out into the sun or nature, do something physical we enjoy, spend some time with trusted others, do something that helps someone else.  But the cruel irony is that the time we most need to do these things is the very time we find them hardest to do.

And yet, there is something that can help.  Knowing that someone is there for us unconditionally, who can bear our pain just as it is and not try to change it, can make all the difference.  This link, “A message to the depressed” from the young vlogger Sky Williams (no stranger to the black dog himself) sums it up beautifully.  It’s a couple of years old, and has a few million shares already … but I’ll bet there are still plenty of people who haven’t seen it who might find it helpful.

My favourite Pretenders’ song also puts it so movingly:

Oh, why you look so sad, the tears are in your eyes,
Come on and come to me now, and don’t be ashamed to cry,
Let me see you through, ’cause I’ve seen the dark side too.
When the night falls on you, you don’t know what to do,
Nothing you confess could make me love you less,

I’ll stand by you,
I’ll stand by you, won’t let nobody hurt you,
I’ll stand by you

So if you’re mad, get mad, don’t hold it all inside,
Come on and talk to me now.
Hey there, what you got to hide?
I get angry too, well, I’m a lot like you.
When you’re standing at the cross roads,
And don’t know which path to choose,
Let me come along, ’cause even if you’re wrong

I’ll stand by you,
I’ll stand by you, won’t let nobody hurt you,
I’ll stand by you.
Baby, even to your darkest hour, and I’ll never desert you,
I’ll stand by you.
And when, when the night falls on you baby,
You’re feeling all alone, you’re wandering on your own,
I’ll stand by you.

I’ll stand by you, won’t let nobody hurt you,
I’ll stand by you, baby even to your darkest hour,
And I’ll never desert you,
I’ll stand by you.