Time for a short personal story.
My husband is a great man. That’s a big part of the reason why I married him. He too has a heart for youth and he volunteers consistently at our church with the junior & senior high school students. He puts in many hours of “behind the scenes” work – from helping with the stage sounds, to set up of audio/video equipment, to training students on the digital sound board, to quietly encouraging others. He may not be front and center every day, but he makes a huge impact “behind the scenes” in students’ lives.
A few months ago he noticed a young woman in our church who seemed to be drifting. She was becoming more distant, stopped hanging around social events, and began posting sad poetry and hopeless statements on Facebook. He noticed the signs and asked me if maybe these were signs of depression.
“Absolutely,” I responded. “You should reach out to her.”
And he did. He sent her a gentle Facebook message and offered a listening ear. That was the last I heard about it.
A few days ago we happened to have some frozen yogurt with this woman’s father. When we got our treats and were settled in our seats he looked over to my husband and said “I have to say – thank you so much for reaching out and encouraging my daughter. Your words of encouragement really meant a lot to her, and today she is really blossoming. Thank you so much for being there for her.”
Unbeknownst to me, this young woman did open up to my husband, and he continued encouraging her quietly on and off for the past few months. He was one of several individuals that reached out to her and helped pull her out of her funk. She’s noticeably happier again, has found a special niche for herself in our church, and as her father said, she is really blossoming.
I tell you this story because this is how we should act as human beings. When we are struggling, when we are in a funk, people should take notice and jump in to help. When we see others hurting, we need to make time for them. People are the highest priority in life – you can live with fewer hours of sleep, turning in a project late, or performing less than perfect at school or work – but you can’t live without people.
So with this story I encourage you to keep your eyes open. Because of people like my husband, this young woman experienced a “down” period and it did not escalate into full blown depression. If you see the signs of possible depression, acknowledge them. Reach out a helping hand. Offer a listening ear. You may be exactly what someone needs to prevent a crisis situation from ever developing.