People have silent ways of signaling for help. One might notice a change of behavior in another, yet ignore it, not realizing that the person is crying out for help. When someone is sad or, even more so, depressed, it is difficult, if not impossible, for the sufferer to escape the cycle of sadness on his or her own. It’s tantamount to climbing out of a deep hole without assistance from someone above the pit.
When you notice signs of sadness, it is vital to provide assistance to the sufferer or get someone more familiar with the syndrome to assist in recovery. What are some of these signs?
When someone lacks motivation to perform good deeds or to participate in happy occasions, one can assume sadness has set in. When one who enjoys learning Torah falls into a pattern of failing to arrive on time — or at all — to shiurim, he is crying out to others that he doesn’t feel joy in his life and needs help. A person who is known to enjoy good food and suddenly doesn’t have an appetite is also saying, “Notice me! I’m unhappy!” When a person is sad, he fails to take pleasure in all that he has.
The first step is to let the victim know that you noticed an aberration in his demeanor. Expect denial or rejection of initial offers to help, but don’t despair. Continue to offer help in the form of diverting attention from the things that are making the person sad, such as jealousy of what others possess or suffering caused by external circumstances.
Most of all, show love. When a baby cries, one comforts the infant with love. A person who is sad is crying for help, too.
One More Second: Another Thought for the Day
A person who has bitachon will constantly have peace of mind since he knows that whatever the Alm-ghty does is for his ultimate good. A person without bitachon, however, will have a tendency to suffer constantly even when things are going well. He will be nervous and full of anxiety about the future. About such a person it has been said in Mishlei that all the days of the poor (in wisdom) are unhappy ones. (Chovot Halevavot, Shaar Habitachon, 4:5)
Rabbi Raymond Beyda serves in the Sephardic Community in Brooklyn, N.Y. He lectures to audiences all over the world. He has distributed over 500,000 recorded lessons free of charge. He is author of the book 1 Minute With Yourself: A Minute a Day to Self-Improvement, Sephardic Press, 2008.