Both professionally in my private practice as a neuropsychologist, but also personally, if I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it 100 times: “I didn’t know what to say, so I didn’t say anything.”
People come to me when they are broken and hurting, in need of help, in need of answers. They aren’t sure if their child has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, a learning disability, or autism. Others come perhaps because their spouse has normal-age related cognitive decline or Alzheimer’s dementia. Many present with depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder. Some come out of desperation because loved ones are addicted to substances and in need of help. Regardless of the reason they come to my office, the one thing that is almost universal to all: they are afraid. They don’t know what is wrong, what I’ll find, what can be done about it, or what the future holds.
I’ve wrestled in my own brokenness. In rejection. In abandonment. In fear. In insecurity. In loneliness.
As a couple, my husband and I have gone through the valley together: several bouts of cancer and other life-threatening illnesses, joblessness, miscarriage, burglaries, financial difficulties…
Whether it’s been watching my patients’ journeys, or our own, I’ve come to realize that very few people know how to weep with those who weep, and rejoice with those who rejoice.
“Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15).
Is it because we fear saying the wrong thing? Do we have so little faith that the Holy Spirit would give us the words to say if we asked?
Are we afraid we might have to be inconvenienced? I think probably the friends who lowered their friend through the roof to Jesus were pretty inconvenienced. So was the good Samaritan.
Is it because we fear the pain might somehow be contagious, and we too would have to feel the pain? Even Jesus wept when His friend Lazarus died.
Rather than saying you were praying, did you stop right then and pray with the one who needed the prayer, the one who perhaps couldn’t utter more than a whispered, “Help”?
I’m not interested in whether you’ve stood with the great. That doesn’t impress me. I don’t get star-struck. I’m more interested in whether you’ve sat with the broken. Have you taken the time to really be there. In the dark times. In the times when perhaps there wasn’t anything you could do, but offer to be present.
Don’t worry about having the perfect words, or knowing what to do. Just be willing to be present. Sit with the broken. That speaks volumes.
One day, you’ll need someone to do that for you in your own brokenness.
Because of Him, #HopePrevails!
(If you have a question you’d like Dr. B to answer, contact her here now. Your name and identity will be kept confidential.)
A short brief about Hope Prevails.
Insights from a Doctor’s Personal Journey through Depression
Dr. Michelle Bengtson
Speaking from personal and professional experience, a neuropsychologist unpacks what depression is, shows how it affects us spiritually, and offers hope for living the abundant life.
Neuropsychologist Offers Hope to Those Struggling with Depression
-By 2020, depression will be our greatest epidemic worldwide
- An estimated 350 million people worldwide suffer from some form of depression
- As with the bestselling My Stroke of Insight, the author experienced the same condition she treats
- Helpful features include personal stories, biblical truths, prayers, and music recommendations
In Hope Prevails, Dr. Bengtson writes with deep compassion and empathy, blending her extensive training and faith, to offer readers a hope that is grounded in God’s love and grace. She helps readers understand what depression is, how it affects them spiritually, and what, by God’s grace, it cannot do. The result is a treatment plan that addresses the whole person—not just chemical imbalances in the brain.
For those who struggle with depression and those that want to help them, Hope Prevails offers real hope for the future.
Hope Prevails is available now wherever books are sold. To find out more, see: http://drmichellebengtson.com/hope-prevails-book/.