The Silence Of Our Friends

“In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.

This quote really hit me when I read it this evening. I’m depressed. So it reminded me of a phenomenon I notice when my bipolar disorder flares. Friends seem to vanish. I’m probably being harsh, remember I am depressed. It just seems that way to me.

I noticed way back when I was very first diagnosed and had to be hospitalized. Only a very few of my friends came to see me. Well, from their point of view they did have to brave the locked ward. But my very, very best friends came. Friends who are here to  this day. Here is one, my dear best friend Lynn:

I think it’s very hard for people to know what to say when you tell them you’re depressed, or manic. They want to help. They want it to go away for your sake. They want to know why. None of this really helps. All you really want is someone to be there for you. To sit with you or call you on the phone and talk about nonsense, or listen to the fears or thoughts you are having. Or nothing at all, but just to be there.

The other problem is me of course. If I’m manic I’m flying a hundred miles an hour and it’s hard to pin me down. If I’m depressed like now, I might not be reaching out. But if I am. Or if you notice anything odd. Or like my friend Lynn, get a feeling and call me. Please do. For sharing depression lets in the light. It lets the sunshine into the darkness — helps dispel it. Talking, laughter, they are both the enemies of this shroud of darkness.

If you have a friend or family member who is sad. Or has withdrawn. Do reach out to them. It doesn’t matter one bit if you know what to say. Just be there. Listen. They might talk to you. You might make them laugh. If they haven’t gotten help, you may be able to help them get some. If they have you can help them weather the storm.

Depression is a storm. It hits you with darkness, bleakness in your soul. It will pass. But it will be a lot more bearable if you have friends around you. So call a friend. Love to all.

@copyright Libby Baker Sweiger

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18 thoughts on “The Silence Of Our Friends

  1. Well said my friend Libby!! Now you write to make you/the laugh…. Okay here’s my go…
    How do you top a car……. Tep on ta brake! This is one of my favs that my Gma told me. We would just laugh every time she would tell it! I hope it put a smile on that beautiful face! Love ya girl friend!

    • LOL! There’s nothing better than the jokes of our youth. My grandpa had a million of them most of them original. Thank you for getting me thinking of them. One of my FAVS was after we’d been at his house all day, which he and my grandmother loved more than anything he’d say, “Come again when you can’t stay so long!” And we’d laugh peels of laughter! ROFL! Love ya girl! Best and dear friend!

  2. Dearest Libby;

    I miss you. You are a very brave woman. I miss when we talked on the phone.

    Thank you for writing this blog! I can so relate. I’ve battled depression/anxiety, as you know for 22 yrs. Maybe even longer, since I used to self-medicate by drinking, before actually being diagnosed and going on meds.

    I too have had those periods of darkness, when meds don’t seem to work, and the blackness closes in again. I understand what you are saying so well about friendships, and the ones who call or visit when no one else seems to be around. Depression is scary. Some just don’t know what to say. But as you wrote… just them calling or being there is enough. This brings to my attention that I sometimes have let my own friends down in their time of need. I’m so sorry for that. I hope God can teach me do to better.

    I love you Lib. Your blog, your writing is beautiful. May our Lird richly bless you… Pouring out His grace upon you…as you continue to help people understand the diseases of depression, bipolarism, panic, etc. And thank you for exposing it to ‘the light’ as it helps us who are afflicted too.

    Your friend always! See you one day in Glory!!

    Deb

    • Oh Deb! This makes me miss you so much! You are very brave and wonderful too. I am blessed to have known you all these years. I too miss our talks! Please call. I don’t have your number, but mine is on my Facebook account! 🙂

      I love you and thank you. The Lord bless you too. I am glad you have found your way to this blog and that it was helpful…It’s so hard when you get depressed and the meds aren’t really cutting it. Count on me during those times. I would love to be someone you contact. Just Page me on FB and I’ll get in touch!

      Love you Deb! 🙂 Oh look you’ve got me smiling!

      • Hi! Got your Message with your numbers…I will give you a call…if you are not home I will leave my numbers for you in message!

        Will be so fun to talk with you again, sweetie! Deb

  3. Great post Libby. Thanks for telling us, really telling us what our friends need during periods of depression. Many times because we feel so helpless, we just do nothing. You advise that’s the worse thing to do. You do so much for so many by sharing your journey. I’m proud to be your friend!

  4. OH GOODNESS!!! Sure wish I could say I have NO idea what depression is—but after a psycho family being brought up, epilepsy taking over my pregnancy and over decade after…and my ex husband beating the garbo out of me, not even two months after my 1st of several brain surgeries–these all led to some severe depression for a few years to come– yet fought against, learned about, turned around and help others today with it. Cause with what Christ has for us here and later THERE– is never worth depression to take us down!! Cause gifts such as friends LIKE YOU make the word and action of the word DEPRESSION disappear !!!!! And shed light into what was or seemed like a dark life– and laughter becomes the ruling language of you and I yapping!! Love rules over ever emotion we have–happiness comes from love—and laughter binds them strongly- as you and I always bust buttons laughing–all we can sense is joy, happiness, friendship, love- forever… and can’t even recognize sadness, or depression from whatever subject, if ANY DARE TRY TO INTERRUPT our God given more than frequently active emotion-JOY!!! My joy comes from our true friendships love–and I am gracious for every moment we’ve had together, afar, by phone, SKYPE, FACEBOOK, TWITTER ETC…. My phone is always active for you–as well as whatever plane ride there is timely– just to see your beautiful smile, enjoy our fun company, share laughter-and accept my true gift of giving love!!! You Libby are the definition of Love, joy, happiness, laughter….sisterhood! Bless you precious sister of mine… to God I am so gracious for you…. for US, FOREVER!!
    Love you Libster- you are one strong woman thru Christ!! To Him I am so gracious!!!!

    In His Love and Laughter,

    Hetty

    http://www.Hetty4Christ.com
    http://www.Facebook.com/AliveinMe
    http://www.twitter.com/AliveinMe
    http://www.youtube.com/Hetty4Christ

    • My dear friend and precious sister in the faith. This is my second response to your comment! Don’t you hate when that happens…oh it doesn’t you have an Apple! 🙂 I know YOU know and love me and are always there for me. I would have alerted you but I was depressed and not thinking about how to manage my cry for help so I just blogged it. I had called a couple of people…I knew you were in an airplane and by then I was writing. 😉 You are a wonderful friend who has been through so much you always know and understand the fight others are waging! I love your spunk and I love our friendship and you more than I can say! As it happens, the talk therapy as I call it when friends begin to call and I am plastered to the phone and coming out of myself, added to the slight increase in my anti-depressant has converged and I am coming out of the hated shroud of depression. I don’t know why but I dread it more than mania. My mania has never been the fun kind. A bit of a high, but with an anxiety and out of control feeling with it, especially as I sense it coming on…but I don’t want to write another blog here in the comments ;). Just to say I love you girl, miss you and hope I do see you soon! xxoo

    • Hetty, you don’t know me…I am a friend of our dear Libby’s. I just wanted to say what a LOVELY, and Loving reply that was! How wonderful it will be to all meet up in Glory one day!! And yes, though we have suffered from this disease of depression…we wonder how it can get a hold of us when we have so much that God had given us here…and SO much we have to look forward to ‘THERE’!!

      I could so relate to that statement, and the joy you have in your love for Libby! I too dearly love her, and I can tell I would adore YOU too! So…looking forward to all laughing together in HEAVEN!!

      Grace to you… Deb

      • What a “Day of Rejoicing that will be! When we all see Jesus, we’ll sing and dance the Victory!” Your expressed joy at meeting Heather in Heaven reminded me of that old beautiful song! You and she will love each other very much! Heather is a wonderful friend — with a heart as big as the sky! You are such a blessing as well Deb! Don’t be surprised if you meet her sooner, she really gets around! We met after we knew each other 2 years on Twitter and Facebook, Skyped all the time and went through a surgery apiece together practically simultaneously with cross country phone calls to each other’s hospitals and many, many prayers! Love to you both!

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