|From My Facebook
||[Apr. 22nd, 2013|02:10 pm]
Whenever one of my friends suffers from depression, I find myself at something of a loss. When I was younger, it was because I felt I couldn't help with anyone's unhappiness, being unhappy myself. Now that I am happy, it is because I cannot communicate the source of my happiness.
It is not so much because it is an incommunicable source, but because I am deficient as a messenger, and my friends are not quite in a place to receive what I have to say-- for the most part, my friends are what you might call 'unbelievers', people self-described as atheist, agnostic, or indifferent to spiritual matters.
I know what to say to my Christian friends, especially Catholics, when they are depressed. But it might as well be hocus pocus to non-Christians. I cannot tell them to visit Jesus in the Adoration chapel and spend some time with Him. I cannot tell them to pray the Rosary. I cannot tell them to keep close to the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist and Reconciliation. I cannot tell them to talk to a priest for spiritual direction.
Nevertheless, to my non-Christian friends who are depressed, I still want you to be happy, so for you I have this piece of practical advice.
The surest way to fight depression is to help others. Find someone whom you know for a certainty is having a difficult time and then make a concrete effort to help them. Think you're already helping out? Escalate it. By this I don't necessarily mean to do more or even to give more in a financial sense. Make it more personal. Go out there and talk to them. Offer yourself and your time to them.
If you think you are doing enough, then ask yourself, are you feeding those who can't feed themselves? Are you bathing those who can't bathe themselves? It can always get more personal.
Now, I realize that there is a very real phenomenon of depression borne out of real psychological and physiological handicaps, but that's not what I'm talking about here. In the realm of clear ideas and clear thought, what I suggest is just as pragmatic and practical as taking a breath of fresh air, or sitting in the sunlight.
Helping others should necessarily remove oneself from that contemplation of self that can do nothing but reveal the defects and deficiencies of the human soul. If one contemplates oneself and finds no lack or weakness, then I daresay perhaps one has a different problem altogether. Contemplate others for but a moment, and you will take part in that unifying pathos that has moved the greatest pagans and the greatest Christians alike.
Never think you have nothing to offer. You have a value you do not see until you give yourself to others.