9:53 pm cdt
"Helping a Loved-One Through Depression"
By Reydon Stanford
One of the most painful mental and emotional experiences suffered by all humanity is depression. Although
some people might have rare or very short bouts of depression, it is a common reaction to painful or dreaded events in life,
which everyone encounters eventually. For others, depression can seem prolonged and linger for days, weeks, months and even
years, stealing a person's happiness and leaving them feeling alone and alienated from society.
friends or family members, chances are we will have people who are very dear to us suffering from depression at times and
desire to reach out and help them. That's what this article is about.
First and foremost, it
is wise for us to remember one of the fundamentals of science, which is: "For every action, there is a reaction."
This is true of depression as well. Rarely is anyone depressed for no reason. It is almost always the result of painful events
or thoughts going on in the lives of our loved-one. If we desire to help them, we must embrace this fact.
Although there are cases where serious depression has chemical links, I also believe that some of these chemical
issues are brought on by ‘triggers,' which cause a person to crash. In short, a "reaction" to painful events
One of the first things we need to accomplish
if we desire to help someone we love through a depressive episode, it to become sensitive and aware of their actions, words
and body language. Otherwise, we simply might not realize that they are suffering. Since few people want to admit when they
are depressed, we have to be the ones to recognize it.
that Someone is Depressed
- They seem quite, disengaged and bothered
by something or someone.
- They rarely smile, laugh or want to actively engage in social activities.
say things that are negative in nature, such as: "I wish this day was over."
- They seem to desire to
- They often answer questions with simple "yes" or "no," without offering further
explanation. This is usually a sign that their mind is frazzled and tired.
- They are sleeping too much, or suffering
- They seem overly-emotional. Easy to anger or teary.
If you've noticed some of these signs, (exhibited by someone you love), it is quite possible that they
are suffering a depressive episode. As with everything human...there are exceptions to every rule, so it is not a certainty...but
it is plausible.
The next step is to reach out to this person slowly and carefully, realizing
that depression can cause emotions to be amplified. This means the person is most likely very sensitive and we must be careful
with our words and actions so as not to make their depression worse, or cause them to alienate themselves from us.
How, when and where we approach them is also very important. It is never wise to bring up your observations
about them in a public setting. Look for a time...or make time...to approach them in a private encounter and then move very
"Approaching" a depressed person directly about their depression is not
always a good idea, because it is a very intimate and deeply personal topic to many. I personally believe that helping someone
out of a depression is can start by "helping them get their mind off what's bothering them," first. This can be
accomplished by asking them out for coffee, a movie or even dinner. This allows them to ‘escape' from their ‘depressed
hibernation' if even for a little while. The longer they can get their mind off of what is bothering them, the stronger they
will get. When they feel emotionally stronger, they will be much more willing to then "talk" about what's bothering
them, which is a huge step in the right direction. In other words...you have to gain their trust, by showing them you care
about them. This makes talking about their problem much easier for them.
Once that door
is open, DO NOT BE SURPRISED by what you hear. Sometimes a person's depression is caused by something obvious, like a divorce.
Other times it is caused by something that may seem ‘small' or even silly to you, but IT IS VERY REAL TO THEM. Remember,
your goal is to help them through the depression, not to decide whether or not they should or shouldn't be depressed by the
It is also important to remember that some cases of depression have a biological
link and may need treatment beyond your ability. If you sense that your loved-one might need medical care or counseling, offer
to help them make an appointment and perhaps you can even go with them to their appointment. Supporting a depressed person
is very important. Do it with compassion, care and mercy...even if you don't fully understand what is causing the depression.
Finally, I want to assure you that reaching out to a depressed person is not always easy,
because sometimes they have been ‘in their shell' for a long time. Go softly, slowly and lovingly. Depression is the
number one mental illness in America, and is the number one cause of suicide. Reaching out...is never a bad idea.
11:25 pm cdt
"Wanna Be Motivated?"
By Reydon Stanford
Many years ago I became
friends with a man old enough to be my grandfather. I was drawn to history and he was an expert on the subject, having a great-grandfather
that had served in the Civil War and has researched it extensively. I could sit for hours listening to him tell of life in
the South, during the War and how it impacted so many families on both sides.
This man's name
was John and he was a rough and tumble guy on the exterior, but on the inside, he was a real softy. In his retirement years
he bought a bunch of sheep, which he loved caring for on his small farm. One winter, John had a serious heart-attack and was
hospitalized for a lengthy period. He was so worried about his sheep and who would take care of them, when I volunteered.
I was only 19 years old at the time and he worried that I should be out dating girls and having fun, instead of having to
‘mess with his sheep.' Still, I promised him that I would look after them and take really good care of them. He seemed
amazed and very thankful.
Now, anyone who knows me personally, knows that I'm a night owl. I
really enjoy having the time in the late evenings to think, write and do other work that I can't seem to get done with the
busy schedule of my day. Taking care of John's sheep, however, meant early mornings in the cold and a variety of other ‘care-giving'
chores. Still...something compelled me to give my all to this endeavor, even though it cost me sleep and was a sacrifice...especially
for a 19 year old.
Looking back now, I realize that I was motivated to help John out of my deep
respect and love for him...and knowing how much those sheep meant to him. I soon realized that true motivation has to come
from deep within us and must be empowered by our ability to meet a need or improve the lives of others...or we will quickly
lose that motivation.
I've counseled with many people over the years who have trouble finding
anything that keeps them motivated. As I dig deeper into their story I find that most of the things they desire to be motivated
about is selfish in nature, and therefore is not enough to keep them motivated because it is missing the most important link:
I've learned that many people want to be motivated to earn large amounts of money.
I've learned that others have a desire to be motivated to become popular or even famous, thrilling crowds of people with their
talents or gifts. I've learned that many people have a desire to be motivated to lose weight, become a better athlete, a better
spouse, etc.. Still, I have found that without PASSION, motivation quickly fades into regret, disappointment and
rarely holds the course required to become successful.
With that said,
it is vital that we understand that the motivation needed to achieve great things must begin with passion.
Passion is a deep burning desire that fuels our life into going whatever distance necessary to bring hope, help or change
to the lives of others. In the case of John and his sheep...my passion was to help a friend maintain something very dear to
him when he was unable to do so for himself. That whole episode taught me a very valuable lesson.
remember this quote: "Money follows success, success follows passion." Many people get this
notion backwards. They falsely believe that money equals success. Sadly, I've known Millionaires who are proud of their wealth,
but have had little passion for others, rendering their wealth a rotting self-memorial. They were not fulfilled, happy people.
They falsely thought that money could buy them all they wanted, but soon found that money does not buy love, trust, respect
or devotion. Those things are only earned by being a selfless and passionate person. Mother Theresa, for example, died financially
destitute...but was honored the world over for her passion for helping the hurting people of the world. In short, she died
poor, but died richer than most.
If you are searching for some motivation in your life, begin
by becoming passionate about something. Let that passion grow and grow until you are willing to take the risks, put in the
long hours, and explore whatever avenues necessary to make your dream come to life. When that happens, you will find success...and
in many cases, your success will involve riches...both in money and in self-satisfaction.
copyright by Reydon Stanford 2010
10:15 pm cdt
"Are You Too Sensitive?"
By Reydon Stanford
gonna make it in the recording business, you're gonna have to grow some thicker skin." With those words, my first
Record Producer initiated me into the hostile, ‘make it or break it' world of professional music.
From my earliest memories I had dreamed of becoming a professional singer and musician and had worked
hard to learn an instrument, vocal style and the art of songwriting, hoping that one day I'd "make it" in the music
During a recording session for my second album,
I was having trouble hitting a certain ‘high note' on one single line of the song. The Producer, (the person responsible
for bringing all aspects of the album to completion), made me sing the line over and over and over and over, stopping
the tape each time I attempted the high note to tell me that: "you are flat (or sharp) on that note and need to do it
again." By about the twentieth attempt, I was frustrated and sulking. In my mind I was convinced that I couldn't sing
at all and had no business making all these professional people sit around and wait on me to hit a note that was obviously
Sensing my frustration, Don Caldwell,
(the Producer), called me into the control room and sat me down for a little heart to heart conversation that went something
like this: "Listen, this record is going to be as perfect as we can get it for several reasons. If I leave a bad note
in this recording, it will always be there. It will be heard over and over and over and ruin the rest of the album. My name,
the names of the others associated with this album and your name are all gonna be represented on the finished product and
that "bad note" will not! If you're gonna make it in the record business you're gonna have to grow some thicker
skin because we are gonna get this right, whether it hurts your feelings or not!"
Stinging, angry and embarrassed, I marched back into the studio and hit the note in one try. It was
right then and there that I realized I was letting my sensitivity keep me from achieving things I didn't think possible. I've
always admired Don Caldwell for teaching me that very valuable lesson.
But what makes us sensitive? In short, it is our emotions and how we feel about personal events in our life
and how deeply those events affect us. Are we all sensitive? The quick answer to that question is "yes, we are
all sensitive, but not all in the same places or in the same ways." Are we TOO SENSITIVE? The answer to that question
is: if it hinders us from leading healthy and courageous lives...yes.
Much of our sensitivities have to do with our inherited personalities.
Our inherited personalities are based in our DNA and therefore subject us to all kinds of strengths
and weaknesses that are somewhat out of our control. I've often said that "a soup is made up of the ingredients we throw
into the pot," and likewise...so are we. We are a DNA Soup, made up from the ingredients of our parents, grandparents
Each personality has sensitivities that can
appear in very different areas. For example: The Choleric Personality is widely regarded as the ‘least sensitive' personality,
yet they can quickly become angry when they are disagreed with or made to feel ‘beneath' someone else. If we were to
relate the Choleric Personality to a piece of kitchenware...they'd be a Skillet. They can handle a great deal of emotional
pressure without taking it personal, because they usually sense that "I am not the problem," and are able
to ignore most criticism...usually by blaming someone else.
Phlegmatic Personality would be a piece of clay pottery. Fairly strong and able to take a fair amount of abuse without breaking...but
semi-fragile nonetheless. Phlegmatics are sensitive to being "told what to do," or "ordered around," and
usually respond with a great deal of stubborn apathy. Due to their introverted personality, Phlegmatics are sensitive to being
"called out publically," and will feel very uneasy in such respects.
The Sanguine Personality would be like a sponge. The are often full of themselves, only to have someone "squeeze
all the juices from them," when they are made fun of, embarrassed or made to think someone doesn't like them. This over-sensitivity
toward needing "everyone to like me," has caused serious problems for many Sanguines.
The Melancholy Personality would be a piece of Fine China. They are extremely sensitive people that
are very easily ‘chipped' or ‘broken' when too much emotional pressure is applied to them. Nevertheless, it is
this sensitivity within the Melancholic that makes them so valuable as care-givers, ministers, missionaries, fund-raisers
for causes, etc..
Once we realize where are sensitivities
are, we can work to strengthen ourselves in these areas, or we can learn to ‘avoid' these areas as much as possible.
If we are too sensitive about politics...we should avoid discussions on the topic if we don't want to be hurt or upset when
someone disagrees with us. Learning to avoid areas where we are too sensitive only makes sense.
It is also important that we carefully tread upon those around us, when we learn their areas of sensitivity.
If, for example, my best friend is sensitive to the size of his ears...I should not draw attention to that, out of sheer respect
and honor. Boxers want to find their opponents weakness and start punching there...we shouldn't do the same in everyday life
with those we love...or even our enemies for that matter.
where our own sensitivities are and how to strengthen them or avoid them, is a step in the right direction if we desire to
function in life without feeling "too sensitive." We must also realize that not everything that happens to us is
personal. I once had a friend that would say things like: "It always rains when I want plan something special outdoors!"
Well, that is obviously taking something too personal, that has no personal attachment. It rains on the "just and unjust,"
according to scripture. Taking some things personally is simply an emotional and logical stretch.
After that day in the recording studio, I found out that EVERY singer hits flat and low notes, and
EVERY singer has to redo it until it's right. It never was personal...and I was too sensitive.
Copyright by Reydon Stanford 2010