If you’re a Harry Potter fan, you’ll recognize this advice from Mad-Eye Moody, one of Harry’s mentors. Mad-Eye knows from experience that being caught off your guard can lead to disaster.
I’m reminded recently that it’s good advice for those of us who live with a depressed person, as well. Though my husband has been in recovery and doing well for years now, signs of depression sneak through at times. For both our sakes we have to catch these signs early and deal with them before they get out of hand. It tends to be a difficult cycle – the signs pop up, I become frightened and annoyed and lash out, he reacts badly and becomes more down, and so on. At some point I end up realizing that I’m seeing hints of depression, we talk about it, and finally we figure out how to deal with it. Perhaps with more “constant vigilance” we could avoid the unpleasant beginning stages of this cycle and move on more quickly to the solution phase.
Loving and caring for a depressed person is a tough ride, one that doesn’t necessarily end after its first round. We’re in for the long haul, and being aware and prepared for action can help us hang on no matter how rough the ride gets.