It’s difficult for a person to hear themselves when they’re depressed. That’s why listening is more effective than any advice you might give, and why telling them you love them, or how much they are valued–only makes things worse.
In being heard, in being listened too, it becomes possible to hear one’s own voice–to hear, as others hear, the deprecating voices… and recognize what they are saying as distortions of the truth. It’s how we find our own way back.
The deprecating voices are external images of self that we have assimilated. No external voice will lead us out of their traps, because it’s our susceptibility to them that caught us in those webs, and to find freedom again to breath on our own, resistance has to rise from the depths of our own being. No one can do it for us, and no one else can show us how.
Keep that in mind when you offer reassurance, and are refused. The refusal is not a symptom of the malady.
Listen! Listen with such depth of attention that the person you would help, hears in their refusal, their own assertion of a will-to-health, and the means to restoration of their freedom
I think there is an analogy here to what we have to do to free ourselves from oppressive social forces.
No one ‘out there’ can save us. No Moses can come to lead us out of Pharos’s Egypt. There are no ready-made maps or instruction books or revolutionary plans. The first step, always–the beginning we need to return to, endlessly–by turning to one another, in such intensity, with such attention, such listening, that we will hear, and summon together, the creative power that has always been there: the power to create a new world–a world worthy of the struggle it will take to build it.