If you've never had depression, then this vivid account by footballer Stan Collymore may help you understand a bit more about what it's like. If you have had it, then you might be able to relate to what he says. (update: Steve Tilley has drawn my attention to the blog Lets Talk About Depression, which is also worth a look)
If you're thinking 'oh no, a footballer trying to write' then don't. Just read it:
I'm typing and my brain is full,cloudy and detached but i know i need to elaborate on what i'm going through because there are so many going through this that need to know it's an illness,just an illness.Not bad,mad,crazy or weak,just ill,and that with this particular illness,for its sufferers,for family and friends who are there but feel they can't help,you can!
Patience,time,kindness and support.That's all we need.No "pull your socks up",no "get out of bed you lazy git",just acknowledge the feedback the sufferer gives,get them to go to the GP asap,and help them do the little things bit by bit.
That may seem simple but in my experience,and currently as we speak,having a bath,walking for 5 minutes in the fresh air,making a meal,all things that days before were the norm,seem alien,so friends and family can help ,just by being non judgemental,and helping in the background to get the sufferer literally back on their feet.
At an evening with Jeff Lucas and Adrian Plass last week, two of the funniest Christian communicators in the UK, both spoke about their episodes of depression. It can happen to anyone, no matter how jolly or otherwise they appear on the outside.
which sets me thinking again about whether we need a 'Blue Christmas' service in the area this year, for people who find this season particularly hard and dark. I've posted about this before (see tags) but still not done anything about it, to my shame.
(this was originally written on Saturday, since when we've had this awful news about Gary Speed. I did wonder about removing the post, but it seemed right to leave it up.)